Financial Fitness and Planning for Youth and Adults

Perhaps one of the most powerful things in education and unfortunately the least talked about as a necessary and essential tool for enhancing the quality of life and developing life skills is the concept of money. The role it plays and its significant value in promoting the wellbeing of others is a critical element of success. 

Goals for teenage and young adult saving particularly with the technology they have at their disposal is more important now than it has ever been before with escalating costs of higher education, the unsustainable acquisition of debt, and that proverbial challenge of keeping up with the Joneses. The big question, however, is this. If parents aren’t setting the example and school systems aren’t teaching students how to build their economic portfolios, where are they going to learn the money management skills they need to survive? When will they even understand the powerful commodity of what it means to own, buy and sell real estate as a powerful measure and means of earning a living? 

The equity project is one of the sustaining pillars of such a noteworthy cause and begs to be explored in a conscientious attempt to address these very issues. It is incumbent upon us to provide these young people with the financial skills they need to succeed by teaching them specifically how to set financial goals and earn, save, invest and eliminate debt before it becomes problematic. Perhaps the most important key for any young person lies in developing the habit of saving. If you can’t develop the habit of saving, nothing else matters. You will never have the discipline to do anything else.

C. Renée: When you think of youth in those age categories of 11-14, 14-18, and 18-21, what have you found to be most effective when advising young people on saving between those ages?

Dr. Lawson: I have had the opportunity to talk with many students in those various age categories and when you can catch them early in life before they develop a lot of bad spending habits, it’s a lot easier to help them start planning for the big picture of life. In many of those conversations, especially the high schoolers and college-age students, I always try to impress upon them the significant value of hard work. Work is the heart and soul of success. I also explain to students that, it’s not just the earning of money that helps you to acquire wealth but you must also learn how to invest and spend time with knowledgeable individuals who can help you to do it effectively. I am always encouraging them to read my books and the books of others in the field. In order to understand how something works, you must expend time, energy, and effort learning specifically how to apply the knowledge you have learned.

C. Renée: What have you found to be the most ineffective way to teach savings to these age-referenced categories?

Dr. Lawson: When I ask students questions, I am able to ascertain those that are Ill-equipped to farewell economically in our society. Here’s what I have found. 

Lack of adult examples

No savings account 

No understanding of what investment opportunities are No financial goal-achievement strategy It’s so hard for young people to get excited about something they don’t have, can’t see, and of which they have no knowledge. 

C. Renée: What would you say the most important thing is to learn about saving and utilizing the skillset to subsequently becoming a millionaire or multimillionaire?

Dr. Lawson: There are several variables that impact this process. When I actually wrote the book, Dare to Be a Millionaire in 2010, I did it for a course I was developing for Ohio University in Chillicothe, Ohio. It was offered for 1 hour of college credit. Over 100 people showed up so we ended up having the course in an auditorium. This fall, 2019, I’m going to teach the same course but we’re going to call it Financial Fitness and Planning, the same title as this article. We’re changing the title because it sounds more realistic. The principles remain the exact same. It was a powerful course that I’ve taught many, many times and will continue to because of its value.

Individuals who attend are introduced to seven key empowerment factors they must follow in order to stay motivated, this is followed by a seven-step goal achievement plan, I spend time discussing the rate of return on annuities, the power, and importance of saving, eliminating unnecessary expenses, showing various rates of returns on different types of investments, the new cryptocurrency dynamic and the value of reading what others in our society have done to achieve wealth. For most, wealth-building requires time and patience. Reading books such as the ones I’ve written and others like, The Millionaire Mind or The Millionaire Next Door is critical. Again, discovering what others have done and applying those principles to your own unique situation can yield some very powerful results.

C. Renée: What was the motivation to do a book targeted toward teenage and young adults? 

Dr. Lawson: It was Henry Kaiser, the great billionaire industrialist who once penned these magnificent words. “Find a need and fill it.” Those words have resonated with me as a major truth over many years. Also, not many people know that I grew up in Southeastern Ohio about seven miles from the University of Rio Grande. Before he passed away, I had the pleasure of sitting on a stool right next to the famous Bob Evans who at one time owned 295 franchises of his famous Bob Evans Restaurants and over the years, many people have eaten there. I once asked him what motivated him to build a restaurant and he gave me a one-word answer which I’ve never forgotten. “Poverty”, he said. 

When I was an instructor at Georgetown Jr.-Sr. High School, teaching English, I’m not sure why but things were quiet and I asked the students how many of them would like to make a little extra money. What I remember most is that virtually every hand in that classroom shot up. I was clearly surprised as many of them gathered around my desk and wanted to know how and what should they do, so the idea for my comprehensive book series on helping kids to acquire wealth was born. 

C. Renée: How well was your Piggy Bank Basics for Kids Received?

Dr. Lawson: When this particular book was published, I was working with a public relations firm that had contacts in New York, Florida, Washington D.C., and a couple of other places. This landed me some nice coverage and I wrote a couple of articles for several magazines but truthfully, no one really knows about these books. People who read them love them and the advice in each book is spot on. My focus has been more on working with colleges and universities and making parents and students aware that these materials are available. With the right push, this is a powder keg just waiting to explode. 

C. Renée: What do you consider most important to include in this article? 

Dr. Lawson: There’s are several things that I have ascribed to whenever we talk about economic success or any kind of success for that matter. It’s something I’ve heard for years. It is simply this. Plan your work and work your plan. One of my top mentors and professional speakers over the years has been Anthony Robbins. Here’s what he says, “You must discipline yourself to do the things you have to do today so that when tomorrow comes, you can do the things you want.” I saw it written on a classroom poster years ago and I’ve never forgotten those magical words, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” It was such an incredible honor for me to have been asked to be interviewed for this article that may prove to be of significant value and worth for just one reader. If that happens, there’s no doubt about it, this article will have been successful. I am wishing you much financial success and just much success in general in the years to come. There is no doubt that those individuals who will be the most successful are those who make an effort to apply the words to their lives that they find written here. Have an awesome life.