Dan Sheeks is the author of First to a Million: A Teenager’s Guide to Achieving Early Financial Independence, and the founder of SheeksFreaks: a community of young entrepreneurs and early FI seekers. Dan has also been teaching high school business classes for 19 years.
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3 Value Bombs
1) If you are a young person, or a parent of a young person, flip the script on the status quo. If a person is going to go to college, community colleges are a great option. Do an internship or an apprenticeship that won’t put them in tens of thousands of dollars in debt.
2) Entrepreneurship is going to matter for them, no matter what they decide to do after high school. It’s just a matter of making the lessons and curriculum interesting for them by using different technologies, guest speakers, and videos that will help get students engaged.
3) It’s difficult to know what you want to do for the next 40 years of your life when you’re 18 years old.
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Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: Teaching Teens Entrepreneurship and Financial Independence.
[1:16] – Dan shares something that he believes about becoming successful that most people disagree with.
- You have to love to fail. You have to thrive in your failure. You have to sometimes seek failure because that is how you learn and grow.
[2:13] – The reason why schools don’t focus on entrepreneurship and financial education.
- One reason is money.
- Some conspiracy theories out there say that the government is trying to keep everyone down by not promoting entrepreneurship and financial literacy.
- It’s more around constraints and a lack of resources
- There’s just not an opportunity for the education system to grow and adapt to what our kids today really need.
[3:11] – What can we do to change the education system?
- The people who have the ability to make this change are the decision makers – like the school principal, the district superintendent, school members, and legislators.
- A law can be passed that all of our high school graduates have to take a personal finance class before they graduate.
[4:41] – What does a successful entrepreneurship and financial education program look like?
- It’s an easy sell for a high school student – that they need to learn how money works in order to be successful financially after high school.
- Entrepreneurship is going to matter for them, no matter what they decide to do after high school. It’s just a matter of making the lessons and curriculum interesting for them by using different technologies, guest speakers, and videos that will help get students engaged.
[6:58] – Why do schools teach high level math subjects but not basic life survival skills?
- Colleges and universities are the ones who require core classes in order to get admission to those schools.
- The system is setup to where, if a high school student wants to pursue a higher level of education, then they’re going to be much more attractive to colleges and universities if they have high level math and science classes.
- The sad fact is the vast majority of students are never going to use that content.
[9:02] – Dan’s opinion about student loans versus the 30-40 thousand a year salary
- To stir the pot and change the status quo takes some bravery.
- Standardized tests don’t measure things that don’t really matter.
- It’s difficult to know what you want to do for 40 years of your life when you’re 18 years old
[13:31] – A timeout to thank our sponsors, HubSpot, LinkedIn Advertising, and VistaCreate!
[16:16] – How can we get young ones fired up about financial topics?
- There are so many great free social media accounts where people put out very accurate, engaging, real-world content.
- Showing those to students engages them to where they’re at.
[18:34] – Early financial independence allows youth to achieve their highest potential.
- Early financial independence is freedom. People can then choose to follow their passion or their dream, even if that isn’t going to generate much income.
- So many people in life would rather do A, but they do B because B pays the bills
[20:17] – Dan’s key takeaway and call to action for Fire Nation!
- If you are a young person, or a parent of a young person, flip the script on the status quo. If a person is going to go on to college, community colleges are a great option. Do an internship or an apprenticeship that won’t put them in tens of thousands of dollars in debt.
- SheeksFreaks – Cheek out Dan’s website and join a community of like-minded people!
Boom, shake the room, Fire Nation. JLD here. And welcome to Entrepreneurs On Fire brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network with great shows like Marketing Made Simple. Today, we'll be breaking down how to teach teens entrepreneurship and financial independence to drop these value bombs. I brought Dan Sheeks in the EOFire studios. Dan is the author of First to a Million: A Teenager's Guide to Achieving Early Financial Independence and he's the founder of SheeksFreaks: a community of young entrepreneurs and early FI seekers that's financial independence. Dan has also been teaching high school business classes for 19 years. And today Fire Nation, we’ll talk about why schools fail so miserably when it comes to financial education.
How we can change that, how to get your youth fired up about financial futures that they have, and also how, what we can do to allow them to achieve the highest potential possible and so much more. When we get back from thanking our sponsors. VistaCreate is a graphic design platform where anyone can easily craft professional and unique visual content for social media and digital marketing in minutes. Visit VistaCreate.com today to try it for free and see how easy it really is. Business made simple hosted by Donald Miller takes the mystery out of growing your business. Check out recent episodes like how to escape a villain mindset and the framework that makes marketing easy.
0 (1m 30s):
Listen to business made simple wherever you get your podcasts. Dan say what's up to Fire Nation and share something that you believe about becoming successful that most people disagree with.
1 (1m 45s):
Awesome. Yeah, what's up everybody to answer your question. I would say the one thing that I stress quite a bit to my community is that you have to love to fail. You have to thrive in your failure and you have to sometimes seek failure because that is where you learn. And that is where you grow.
0 (2m 7s):
So for our nation today, we're talking about failure in a sense that's the failure of schools in general when it comes to financial education. So we'll be talking about teaching teens, entrepreneurship and financial independence. So Dan is, I kind of already let out of the bag, in my opinion, schools fail terribly in a number of areas. And one of the most glaring is financial education. So can you tell us why schools don't focus on entrepreneurship and financial education?
1 (2m 40s):
I can sum it up in one word if you want and that's money, but we can, we can dig a little deeper than that. You know, I think a lot of people, especially in the fire community, some people tend to think there's some kind of a conspiracy theory out there that the government is trying to keep everyone down by not promoting entrepreneurship and, and financial literacy. I don't think that's the case. I don't have any way of proving that right or wrong. I think it's more around constraints and lack of resources and, and teachers work their butts off. I know cause I am one, but there's just not enough opportunity to, to grow the educational system, to grow and adapt to what, what our, our kids today really need.
0 (3m 32s):
So what can we do to change this?
1 (3m 36s):
Yeah, that answer is, I wish it was easy. It's actually easy. It's just not simple. The people who have the, the ability to make this change are the decision-makers and these are going to be your school principals, your district superintendents, your school board members, and many times legislators, whether that's, you know, county, state, or federal legislators, these are the people that can make change happen. For instance, they can pass a law or a policy that says all of our high school graduates will we'll take a personal finance class before they graduate.
1 (4m 17s):
That is a graduation requirement. Some states have very, very few states have that in, in, you know, the vast majority of high school students will not have that in place. So they just don't take the class to change that I've found me as a teacher inside the system. There's actually not much I can do. It has to come from the outs outside of this system, grassroots. It has to be parents and community members calling these decision-makers up or emailing and demanding that our youth have this education received this education because it's so necessary and critical for their, you know, their wellbeing and for them to be successful.
1 (4m 60s):
That's, that's the way it's going to change.
0 (5m 2s):
What does a successful entrepreneurship and financial education program look like? Walk us through in a perfect world, what Dan Sheeks would create in these areas.
1 (5m 14s):
Yeah, so I, I do teach personal finance or have taught and you know, it's, it's not anything the curriculum or the lessons doesn't have to be anything groundbreaking or mind blowing. You know, I think high school students that's, I, I teach high school. That's my niche. It's an easy sell to convince a high school student that they need to learn how to manage their money. They need to learn how money works in order to be successful financially after high school. And it's also an easy sell to say to them, Hey, listen, all this stuff we're going to learn in this class. You're going to use this after you graduate. And, and they get that right.
1 (5m 55s):
And there's a lot of classes that high school students take. They know from day one that they will never use that material or that content. And it's, it's a much harder sell in those classes, but personal finance and even entrepreneurship are not that way. It's very easy to convince a high school student that this matters and you need to pay attention and you need to learn. So once you cross that bridge and you, you have them buy into the fact that this content personal finance, financial literacy, entrepreneurship is going to matter for them, no matter what they decide to do after high school, then it's just a matter of, you know, making the lessons and curriculum interesting, using different technologies, guest, speakers, different, you know, YouTube videos, even social media videos.
1 (6m 42s):
There's so much out there now that can really help students learn and keep them engaged.
0 (6m 46s):
So one thing that I've always kind of wondered is, you know, we have so many people that graduates not knowing how to balance a checkbook. Although that's becoming a little obsolete, that's just kind of like the common phrase that people can kind of glob onto. And, you know, they don't understand what interest rates are. They don't understand what, you know, things like mortgages. And you know, what a checking account is, what a savings account is. Why are the schools that you teach in and other schools in general? Why are they teaching things like trigonometry, algebra, and these really high level math subjects, but not touching upon the basic life survival,
1 (7m 31s):
You and I, and your listeners are probably all in agreement about what you just said, that it would be much more beneficial to teach our young people, our students' personal finance skills rather than say high level math, high level science, the reason it's, it is the way it is. It's a systemic issue. That's been around for decades. It actually falls on the colleges and universities. They are the ones who require X amount of core classes in order to get admission into those schools. And they're the ones who say, we need to see, you know, this level of standardized testing, whether that's an sat or an act, the standardized tests, test core subjects, reading, writing, math, science.
1 (8m 21s):
And so the system is set up so that if a high, if a high school student wants to pursue higher level education, they're going to be much more attractive to colleges or universities. If they have the higher level math and science classes. Now, the sad fact is, is that the vast majority of those students are never, ever going to use that content. They have no interest in math or no interest in science or no interest in either, but they're still forced to walk through those hoops, jump through those hoops rather than take classes that actually matter like personal, personal finance and those topics and strategies and skills are not in standardized tests and they're not a required class for college admission.
1 (9m 5s):
So there's, there's the, the breakdown.
0 (9m 8s):
So this conspiracy theory that you mentioned earlier that seems to sometimes be pointed towards the high school level, maybe should actually be pointed towards a college level. Cause as you're kind of talking this through, it makes me seem like it really benefits colleges to keep these 18, 17, 16 year olds clueless and incompetence when it comes to matters of basic finance, because what intelligent person would ever take out a 200,000 plus dollar loan with a kind of interest rates that they're dealing with to get an education, especially when it comes to the majority of majors like education and psychology and you know, all the basics that are coming out with starting salaries at 30,000, 40,000, $50,000 per year, if they're lucky because they could do the math and they say, well, wait a second.
0 (10m 4s):
If I make them $40,000 a year, that leaves me with a couple hundred dollars a month and disposable income after I pay everything with taxes and with my rent and food and entertainment and all this stuff, how can I ever pay back a hundreds of thousands of dollar loan when the reality is most don't anytime soon. And a lot of them are buried with this for decades upon decades upon decades. So what are your thoughts on that?
1 (10m 32s):
I agree a hundred percent, the problem is as much on the shoulders of the colleges and universities, but
0 (10m 38s):
It behooves them to turn a blind eye. Now,
1 (10m 40s):
Hopefully someday it'll happen, but to stir the pot and to change the status quo takes some, it takes some bravery, right? And so just imagine if you know, a high level college university or medium level, whatever, you know, if they just decided, all right, starting next year, here's what we're going to require for our, our incoming freshmen. We, we are not going to look at standardized tests because they don't measure the things that really matter. We're we're not going to require our students to have, you know, three or four years of math and science, if they're not going to have that as a major. So let's say someone wants to major in marketing or business in general then yeah.
1 (11m 27s):
They should have some math classes, but they don't need the highest level. Like you mentioned, trigonometry, advanced algebra, geometry. They don't need those classes to be a marketing person or even finance, honestly. So if they said, you know, based on your major, your required classes in high school will change. And by the way, if you want to come to our school, you must have at least one semester a personal finance so that you are educated on how to manage your money. Yeah.
0 (11m 59s):
Yeah. But not to play devil's advocate here. I mean, but what you're expecting now a 15, 16 year old to like, know what they're going to major in, in college. I mean, they, you know, they're not thinking in that direction.
1 (12m 9s):
Most of my seniors don't know what they're going to major in, in college, which I think is a whole another issue around, should they start college at, at age 18 shit out of high school rather than, than maybe take a gap year, which I think is a great idea. Honestly,
0 (12m 23s):
I wish I took a gap year.
1 (12m 25s):
Yeah. Yeah. I think it's really difficult to know what you want to do for potentially 40 years of your life when you're 18 years old and to pick a major that you're not going to change and that you're going to be interested in for decades. I think it's nearly impossible. And the statistics show that that's true.
0 (12m 42s):
Well, to be a little overly dramatic here, it just feels like with what we're talking about, that we're just lining up these 17 and 18 year olds, just like I was lined up, you know, for the essential slaughter of, you know, getting into incredible debt burdens. And, you know, I was only able to avoid that crippling aspects because I took an ROTC scholarship and then, you know, went to war and almost got killed there. So I was, you know, essentially almost slaughtered in a completely different way, but I mean, it's just, you know, I started to all my friends, all my friends, you know, I'm, I'm literally going in two months to my 20 year college reunion and I still have friends paying off their college debts.
0 (13m 24s):
And it's just like, it's. And it's like, you know, who are the adults in the room here? And we're all turning a blind eye and myself included. And we're letting these 17, 18 year olds who don't have a clue about money, just, you know, just absolutely get buried before they even know what's happening. And then by then, it's just too late. So we're going to talk about some more stuff. When we get back Fire Nation from thanking our sponsors time and place is everything. Especially when it comes to marketing, think of how difficult it can be to grab your target. Audience's attention with the overload of messaging that's already out there. Fortunately, there's a simple way to meet your target audience at the right time and place with LinkedIn's marketing solutions with LinkedIn becoming number one in B2B display advertising in the U S you've got a great advantage.
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0 (17m 15s):
So how have you found success getting these young ones fired up about these topics?
1 (17m 22s):
Great question. I think a lot of it is how you phrase things and how you deliver things. Well, here's the, here's a good example. So which club are high school students going to want to join the personal finance club or the future millionaires club? Those clubs can have the same exact purpose, content, meetings, speakers, whatever, but you're going to have a lot more kids signing up to, to attend the future millionaires club. So words like personal finance, where's like retirement high school. Students could care less about those instead of retirement. I use words like financial freedom or financial independence,
0 (18m 1s):
Fire, financial independence retire early, come on.
1 (18m 4s):
Yeah. I teach that in my class, but even that, you know, I think everyone in the fire community loves that acronym, but it still has that word retire in there. So I, I use it, but I also focus on financial freedom,
0 (18m 16s):
Which I get, because I'll tell you when I was 17, 18 years old, you know, and I signed it with the army. I was like, you know, I knew I was going to be an officer in the army at 22, but 22 seemed like five lifetimes away. So like, I was like, I know I'm going to hate my time in the army, but that's forever from now. I could care less like what the future JLD has to deal with. So I signed my life away and, you know, lo and behold, you know, those four years flew by, but at the time of 17 years old, I mean, I thought 22 was ancient, let alone retirement that wasn't even in my periphery.
1 (18m 49s):
Yeah. You have to meet kids where they're at and you have to use technology that they, that they love. I mean, tick-tock, there are so many, there, there are some that aren't, but there are so many great free tick-tock accounts, Instagram accounts, YouTube accounts that are, you know, have people putting out very accurate, engaging real-world content. And so showing those in the classroom to students, I think engages them where they're at. Now, you have to sift through the ones that are, that are not legit. The ones that are selling stuff, that's too good to be true, but there are so many out there that are very honest and they're just, you know, their, their main goal is to educate
0 (19m 33s):
Education, Fire Nation. Now, Dan, you believe early financial independence would actually allow these young ENS, our youth to achieve their highest potential. Can you expand upon that?
1 (19m 44s):
Yeah. This is huge. This is why I do what I do. And, and, and by that, I mean, in the classroom and outside of the classroom, I think when someone can reach early financial independence and they now have the option to work where they were to work somewhere else or to not work at all, they, they have so many options, right? It's, it's freedom. That is when someone can say, now that I, I don't have to stress about my bills being paid on a monthly basis. I have passive income coming in. I have, I have enough investments. They can then choose to actually follow their passion, their dream in a way that works best.
1 (20m 25s):
Even if that isn't going to generate any or, or much income. I think so many people in life would rather do a, but they're doing B because B pays the bills, but a is where they're passionate. So I work with a lot of young people who, who already have their why of fi in place. And once they reached financial independence, they are going to be doing things like starting orphanages in Egypt, or service work overseas of some other way. They're going to start a business that's around helping people or educating people. And those things wouldn't be possible if, if they weren't financially independent.
0 (21m 4s):
So Dan, why don't you bring this home for us? We've talked about a lot of controversial topics that are just floating around in this world. And you know, where, you know, we really need to make some changes going forward. If we're going to maximize this potential that you just mentioned right there, what is the one thing that you really want to make sure our listeners get from today's conversation and then share any way that we can connect with you, learn more about content that you've created, anything that you've done, and then we'll say goodbye.
1 (21m 30s):
Sure. Thanks. And thanks for having me. I think one great takeaway would be if you are a young person high school at college age, or you are a parent of a young person flip the script on the status quo, the, the typical American dream pathway in that if, if that person's going to go to college, have them go to one that is much more affordable. Community college is a great option. Have them do an internship or an apprenticeship that that's, you know, isn't going to put them in tens of thousands of dollars of debt. Don't don't have them go to the most expensive school they get accepted to, or, or, you know, have the financial component, the, a major part of that decision.
1 (22m 15s):
So yeah, people want to get ahold of me. My website is SheeksFreaks and that is a free website with lots of great blog posts and other resources for young people. My niche is about 15 to 25 years old. We also have an online community called SheeksFreaks, and it's, it's a private community. There's a free, free level and a paid level, but it's an online community where young people are connecting with like-minded other young people to, you know, achieve their goals at early financial independence, entrepreneurship, and everything that falls under those umbrellas. And I'll send all of the links your way to put in your show notes,
0 (22m 55s):
We'll make that happen because Fire Nation, you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. And you've been hanging out with DS and JLD today. So keep up that heat. And as Dan mentioned at EOFire.com, you can just head there, enter the word, Dan in the search bar and the show notes page will pop up with links to all that jazz. And Dan, I just want to say thank you for sharing your knowledge with Fire Nation today, for that we salute you and we'll catch you on the flip side. Hey, Fire Nation today's value bomb content was brought to you by Dan and Fire Nation. Over the last decade, I've interviewed more than 3000 of the world's most successful entrepreneurs, and I've created a revolutionary 17 step roadmap to your financial freedom in your fulfillment.
0 (23m 41s):
I put it all into my first traditionally published book, the common path to uncommon personally endorsed by Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk. The Common Path to Uncommon Success is the step-by-step guidance that you need to achieve the lifestyle of your dreams. Visit UncommonSuccessBook.com to order your copy and I'll catch you there, or I'll catch you on the flip side. VistaCreate is a graphic design platform where anyone can easily craft professional and unique visual content for social media and digital marketing in minutes. Visit VistaCreate.com today to try it for free and see how easy it really is.
0 (24m 23s):
Business made simple hosted by Donald Miller takes the mystery out of growing your business. Check out recent episodes like how to escape a villain mindset and the framework that makes marketing easy. Listen to business made simple wherever you get your podcasts.
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