The simplest thing we can do to keep spreading financial education is to encourage people to talk about money, and not only adults! Young people need to learn more about budgeting, investing, saving, and retirement too. You can never be too young to start learning about personal finance!
Lately when we’re looking for inspiration, we look to people in their teens and 20’s. People start creating their own money stories while they’re still kids, and kids can learn that money is a tool everyone should have access to. Young people today are incredibly well informed, connected, and aware. Encouraging teens to talk to their peers about money will make a huge difference in spreading financial literacy.
Everyone meet Jacob! He’s an 18 year old college student from Colorado, and he’s the founder of the blog and podcast, Teen Financial Freedom. We are incredibly inspired by Jacob and all of the work he’s doing, and we know you’ll find something encouraging in his money story…
1. What have you learned about money so far? Have you learned useful money lessons from your family?
If there’s one thing I know a lot about, it’s money. Money was always a point of discussion growing up, and something that I really started to develop a passion for learning about in my teenage years. Through my family, mentors, and self-education, I have learned about saving, budgeting, tithing, stock investing, real estate investing, debt, and credit cards.
2. How often do you talk with your family or friends about money?
All the time, haha. Most of my family and friends are also interested in these subjects, so it’s one of my go-to conversation starters. Since finance is one of my main passions, I tend to surround myself with other people who are also interested in it. This results in constant discussions about finance, business, or general self-development.
3. What do you know about debt?
Debt can be good or bad. Most people use debt very irresponsibly, which results in a society who views debt as a bad thing. However, I’ve been taught about several powerful benefits of debt such as leverage, cash back-rewards, and liquidity. The reality is, those who know how to use debt responsibly can gain access to a wide variety of financial benefits. The key here is responsible use of debt. If someone can’t be responsible about it, they should avoid debt at all costs.
4. Do you have a checking account? A savings account? Or an investment account?
I have 2 checking accounts, 2 savings accounts, a Roth IRA, and a few other brokerage accounts. I use one checking account for business activity and the other for all personal expenditures. I use one savings account as an emergency fund/income buffer and the other for short/medium term savings goals. The Roth IRA is strictly index fund investments for retirement. The other brokerage accounts are for me to invest for short/medium term goals.
5. Do any of the financial independence or FIRE concepts inspire you?
Absolutely, I have the goal of hitting FI by the time I am 30 years old. I’m shooting for $3,000,000 as my FIRE number. I plan to do this through aggressive saving and investing, growing my businesses, and investing in real estate heavily. While I have these goals in the back of my mind, I’m also trying to design a life that I don’t want to retire from. Meaning, I don’t want to spend my life pursuing FIRE, and then have nothing else after I hit FIRE.
6. If you’ve already had your first paying job, what was that like?
I’ve had two “real” paying jobs. One was a seasonal job at a corn maze and the other was a few years at my local grocery store. Both of them got me a ton of valuable experience in working with others, customer service, and dealing with real world issues in the workplace. They also taught me that I strongly dislike working for an hourly wage, no matter how high it is. I don’t like my income being tied to time, and for that reason I plan to be an entrepreneur for the rest of my life.
7. What types of career ideas do you have in mind? Are you interested in owning your own business?
Currently I am studying finance in college to hopefully pursue a career as a financial advisor. I plan to either work for someone else or start my own financial advisory firm. Once I hit FIRE, I plan to scale back a little bit and pursue other businesses that I’m really passionate about.
8. If you’re planning to attend college, how would your college years be paid for?
I just started my freshman year of college and developed a plan for how I will graduate debt free. I’m super proud of this and am really excited about the strong financial position it will put me in. I’m paying for college through the use of savings, scholarships, and paying as I go. I will be the first to tell you that I am in a really fortunate position as my parents helped me save for college throughout the 18 years of my life, but it was also due to pitching in by working in high school and researching efficient use of 529 plan withdrawals and tax credits. If you would like to learn more, check out this post I wrote on the subject!
9. What kinds of activities do you love? What are the costs of your favorite activities?
Being from Colorado, I love all sorts of outdoorsy activities whether it be skiing, hiking, or biking in the mountains. My parents paid for these activities while I was growing up, but I am just starting to need to budget for these activities on my own which has been a learning experience to say the least.
10. Last question – what are you most excited about right now?
Right now I am most excited about getting into real estate. I’ve been learning as much as I can over the last few months and am looking to get my first property in the next 6 months. I see amazing benefits in real estate investing and am really excited to get into it myself!
That’s it for now from Jacob! We are looking forward to your comments! And we have more interviews from this team of awesome teens on the way so stay tuned.
And please, take a minute to check out the blog and podcast from Teen Financial Freedom! Here’s one of Jacob’s TFF blog posts which we really enjoyed reading. We are blatantly encouraging our personal finance community to follow this team of amazing young people and support their efforts. They’re all doing great things with their own self improvement and financial education, and spreading financial literacy to other teens. That’s how you improve the world!