Mark Twain once said, “I never let my schooling interfere with my education.” In a world where “schooling” is more available and accessible than at any time in human history, we have billions of our global community suffocating financially.
Approximately 80% of the planet earns less than $10 a day, which is considered partially due to lack of access to schooling with “quality” education. On the other hand, we have a different type of financial hardship due to the “overindulgence” in education. The overall student debt in the US has now built up to a staggering $1.57 trillion, acting as a financial millstone to an entire generation.
We rarely take the time to step back and ask the distinction between “schooling” and “education” which Mark Twain alluded to all those years ago. Is it the education itself rather than access to schooling that is the fundamental challenge?
Paul O’Mahony, the founder of FUNancial Freedom Ltd and Rethink Academy Ltd
Courtesy of Paul O’Mahony
Paul O’Mahony, the founder of FUNancial Freedom Ltd and Rethink Academy Ltd has a particular interest in this topic. As the son of two teachers, he was brought up through the tried and trusted formula of getting educated, acquiring a permanent job, and retiring in your sixties which seemed to work reasonably well until the late 20th century.
What he found however as a graduate of the year 2000, that the sure-fire formula for success seemed to have changed. At 30 years of age, ten years into his corporate career in Ireland, having followed the formula to a tee, he found himself with over half a million dollars of debt and yet considered a “success” among his peers.
“As a 30-year-old, I discovered two important distinctions. The first was that wealth and intelligence were not necessarily connected, which I wish I had learned a long time ago. Secondly, that we tend to measure financial success based on the letters after our name (academic qualifications) rather than the numbers in our bank account,” said Paul.
Paul points to four key reasons why educating children about personal finances is more critical than ever.
1. Our school systems do not equip our youth with the skills they need to thrive in today’s world. Despite the best efforts of excellent teachers across the globe, in most instances, the predefined syllabus that dates back decades must be used as the core basis of the teachings. By the time textbooks are written and published nowadays, they are already out of date.
2. Children and teens are actively disengaging from school as they challenge the relevance of learning much of the material they are faced with each day. This can result in believing from a young age that they are not “smart” and that education is just not for them. We could instead be nurturing the genius within each child and see how they could potentially turn it into an entrepreneurial endeavor.
3. Empowering our youth with financial skills from a young age will massively help reduce the challenges we have with poverty globally. Money management is a skill that once you have, stays with you for life. These financial skills can then be passed within and beyond families.
4. It has never been easier to get started and generate an income from home without the reliance on having to be employed by somebody else. Today’s youth most likely can solve many of the world’s most significant problems, including poverty, when shown how to use their most significant assets in a productive and efficient way.
The aim of FUNancial Freedom is to empower children and teens across the globe to lead a life of success, fun, and financial prosperity.
Through their training methods, they provide fun, engaging and most of all incredibly practical skills for the world we live in today such as learning about different elements of money, how the banking system works, how to earn money, and then grow it through saving and investing, even exploring innovative ways of giving back, making an impact, and helping others.
This delivery is all within a virtual world not dissimilar to the metaverse, which allows children and teens to immerse themselves in an environment they can feel very comfortable in. “The time has come to reinvent what learning means for our children and teens today. We must allow them to uncover their genius and let it shine,” says Paul.