I will never forget the day that I drove away from the high school I taught at a year and a half ago. I just sat there in the parking lot blankly staring at a sign that said “band hall” for about 10 minutes. It was already too late to turn back, so I was just taking it in before I bailed.
Honestly, I’ve only driven past the school once or twice in the past few months when we were on our way to something else in the area. That life seems so much different than the one I live now. Being a full-time blogger is probably not too similar to many other “normal” jobs out there.
One of my favorite things now is that some of my former students still email me from time to time (usually about money). One student in particular gives me updates on his side hustles and investment accounts, which is always pretty cool. I’m sure he’ll read this and give me a new update haha!
High school students are the reason I started M$M
For the first two years I was teaching high school band, I was rightfully obsessed with music. The irony is that I actually listen to more music now than I did when I was teaching. It helps me write, so I tend to burn through a lot of music daily.
However, after I paid off my student loans my attention noticeably started to shift to personal finance. There were these dumb lessons we were supposed to be teaching the kids during their advisory time every day. It made my brain hurt just looking at the lesson plans, and I knew the kids probably hated them even more than I did.
So…one day I just stopped teaching them. I wanted to talk about credit reports, so I did. And the kids freaking loved it.
People don’t realize this about kids – they want to be wealthy just like everyone else. The cool thing is that they haven’t dug themselves into a hole yet or convinced themselves that there are barriers in life. Everything is still a possibility to them, which makes for more compelling learning.
I kept teaching the lessons, and wish I could have taught more.
I don’t remember how many of the lessons that I did with the kids. The issue that popped up for me was that the few that I did teach were more fun than any of the music I was teaching, so I knew something was “wrong” with my career choice.
When I officially resigned from my job, I told my principal that I had been totally ignoring his advisory lesson plans so I could teach money. Normally I wouldn’t do that, but I was so far into “What are you going to do, fire me?” mode that it didn’t really matter.
He thought it was really funny, and then told me that he was jealous that I was following my dreams. I’ve realized as I’ve built this business, not many people actually take the chances in life to do just that.
I’ve thought a lot about what I would teach if I could go back. The original idea behind M$M was to teach seminars in schools about personal finance. That fell by the wayside when I realized I could reach more people (and make more money) this way.
Here are the things I would teach about money if I was a teacher again:
It isn’t linked to happiness
Seriously…it’s not. I’ve gone from $3,500 to $12,000 per month, and I don’t feel a whole lot different. That may be because I still drive a 2004 GMC Yukon and and still live off of my wife’s salary. Who knows. But my actual occupation makes me happier than any amount of extra money that comes from it.
The crappy reality of student loans
They suck. Bad. Schools unknowingly do this disservice to kids of telling them to be whatever they want in life while pointing them towards college as the only answer. I still have what feels like a hole in my stomach thinking about the debt my former students are taking on in college.
Hopefully they learned one or two things from me that could help them later on.
Assets vs. liabilities
Most ADULTS don’t understand this concept, much less high school kids. I think having a strong understanding of this very simple financial rule can help you make easy financial decisions. Also, it just drives me nuts that so many people can’t grasp this. Oh well.
Related: Are Cars Assets or Liabilities?
Cool stuff doesn’t usually equate to rich person
I would pound this concept into every lesson of every day if I could go back and teach a personal finance class. So many people think personal finance is about, well, money…but it isn’t.
It’s about systematically identifying what the average people are buying with their money and then not doing that. It all boils down into something pretty simple. Even a high school kid could understand that. 🙂
Related: Let Your Friends Pass You Up
Questions for you:
1. What would you teach in a personal finance class for high school kids?
2. What would you tell them about life?
Live differently. Your bank accounts will thank me later. ~M$M
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