As I’ve mentioned before one of my passions is helping others with their finances. I know this is a common feeling for many after getting their own act together with their money, but for me it’s a little different. For a period of time in college I considered teaching as a profession. I’ve always been interested in technology, computers, video and film making. I worked as a teaching assistant at my former High School for three years while in college, helping a former teacher, teaching student television and video production. If I was going to teach this was going to be the subject I want to focus on. After doing some research I could see that the opportunities to teach within this subject were limited because many schools didn’t have the budgets to support video production. With that in mind I never perused my teaching certificate.
I still work in the technology field today and have opportunities to cross train others. Being a dad to three children has always given me the opportunity to teach over the years and for years to come. Driving lesson to two sixteen year olds start soon. Yikes! Getting our own financial act together took a bit of soul-searching and a lot of self-education. In the process it sparked the teaching bug again for me. Seeing how common sense many of the personal finance topics are I wanted to share my new-found knowledge with as many people as possible. I’ve started small, working with family and close friends. I gave Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money makeover” to my co-workers as a Holiday gifts one year. I often talk about our success with our money and if people ask how we did it I’m more than happy to explain. Now feeling more confident with my own knowledge and having 109,000 reasons why I feel I’m an expert on the topic of I’m ready to move on to bigger things.
As I mentioned recently I join a Graduate Qualities Committee within my local school district with the goal to help spread financial literacy. The goal of the committee is to graduate well-rounded students. This was a good first step for me getting myself out there in front of others who are unknown to me, and selling the financial literacy agenda. I have 8 more meeting to get that accomplished. Wish me luck.
For months I had a an e-mail composed in my mail box and every few days I would look I over and edit it a bit, just waiting for the right moment to click the send button to my companies CEO. Finally last month I pulled the trigger. In my mail I explained to my CEO a bit about my family’s history with money and how we worked our way out of debt. I wonder how many others within our company were struggling with the same issues we had, living pay check to pay check. Living or dying with pay increases or bonus announcements, taking their frustration out on the company because they didn’t have their financial lives in order. Maybe some of these same employees have financial responsibility for the company. I asked what if we could educate those employees to help them with their own finances, so that if the company changes the policy on merit increase it doesn’t have that big of an impact on the individuals. Well within 45 minutes I had my answer, our CEO love my ideas and thanked me for thinking of my fellow employees. He put me in touch with some staff within our HR and educational departments and the ball began rolling. Fast forward a month later and the company has announced the Financial Well Being program. The will be adding self-study classes to our internal web site, making financial planners available to employees free of charge and other financial educator to meet one on one with anyone seeking help. Mission accomplished!
Not letting a two letter word stop me
So feeling good about the first two leaps outside my family and friends I was hopeful the third would go just as smooth. I pitch financial literacy to a local community group who supports school and community efforts in the tri-state area in the Northeast. There focus is STEM. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. At this time they don’t believe that financial literacy falls into the STEM curriculum. Math education, anyone? So I ran into my first no, but I left the call feeling good. Now that I understand more about their focus I can be better prepared for my next pitch. I’m going to go do a little homework and be back in touch with them soon.
What I’m learning through all of this is that it doesn’t hurt to ask. The worst I can here is no and I can move on, but look at what has happened so far. Joining the committee I have the ability to impact a few hundred students, the financial Well Being program will be offered to move than 10,000 employees, and although I swung and missed with the community group its reach could be well over a hundred thousand.
I have several other things in the works, nothing is too big or too small. I’m working on my plan B, trying to incorporate teaching others about finance into a money-making opportunity. I ‘m in contact with several other organizations with similar goals of spreading financial literacy, hopefully that will lead to additional opportunities, these are busy but exciting times.
What passion are you working on?