You know how everyone says that we need more financial education in schools, and if we had that everyone would spend less and save more and live out the rest of their lives happily ever after?
Well, I’m not a teacher, but if I were I would change the names of all courses from “how to manage your money” to “How to become a millionaire, son!”
And do you know why?
Because kids don’t care about managing their money and financial education. They care about GETTING money and having fun. Even though handling their finances better would obviously grant them all their wishes and more. (Which is why you sneak in the management lessons once you’ve gotten them through the door – BOOM!)
You then show them that it’s not about being a millionaire either, but rather achieving financial freedom so you don’t ever have to work again and can do whatever you want. Play video games, read, paint, rap battle, party, skateboard all day, chill at the mall (do kids still do that?), whatever turns you on.
Maybe that would be Professor J’s 2nd course in his How to Rock Your Money series. “How to Never Work For The Rest of Your Life!” :)
I’d change out other terms too:
- Summer job –> Summer Hustle
- Dividends –> Free Cash
- Paycheck –> Make it Rain
- Emergency fund –> Oh $hit Fund (kids love cursing)
- Savings –> F U Money (see how fun this is??)
- Paying taxes –> Hacking Taxes
- Track your finances –> Automate Your Finances
- Investing –> Blowing Up Your Wealth
- Checkbook –> What Are Those?
- Passive Income –> Get Money While You Sleep
- Budgeting –> How Can I Spend More on Fun Stuff?
- Retirement –> FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)
- Compound interest –> Multiplying Your Money Without Lifting a Finger
- And of course, Charity –> Love The Crap Out of People Because We’re All In This Together
To get a Joe Shmoe to pay attention to their money, and particularly an adolescent Joe Shmoe, you need to figure out what excites them inside. I don’t care if it’s chasing turtles or obsessing about their fantasy teams, or even being a master crocheter (those women are fierce, btw!).
In other words, you need to get them to care.
Once you focus on their lifestyles and put away the exhaustive “how to’s,” their guards come down just as fast as their iPhones. No one wakes up wanting to budget or plan for retirement – that sounds like WORK. You have to apply it to their own custom reality and engage them.
There’s a reason I slipped “sexy” in my blog name all those years ago, haha… Would you have ever clicked on BudgetingIsPrudent.com? I don’t think so. That’s lame. I had to get you to click first, and then after hook you with my clever financialness ;) That’s another option school administrators could look into too (Course III: “Get Money, Get Sex-y!”), but something tells me there would be one too many parent teacher conferences after that drops – hah.
Lastly, and most importantly, all the financial education in the world doesn’t mean jack if it doesn’t get you to take action.
Instead of hypothetical homework assignments, Professor J. would also force students to track their own money – even if it’s just allowances – build out their own systems, get accounts connected/started, and then put together their first net worth statements all while applying their new nuggets of information into the real world. Where they can see real world results and ask real world questions that – God forbid – actually pertains to them.
And they’ll all smile while doing it! (Because if not, straight F’s all around ;))
I don’t know if it’s a good thing or bad thing that I’m not a public school teacher, but one day it would be awesome if none of us needed these personal finance blogs anymore…
We’d all have our money on fleek!
PS: Your homework assignment this weekend: spend 15 minutes teaching a young person something about money. It could be anything you/they want, but come back here after and share in the comments!