An article by Richard James Rogers (author of The Quick Guide to Classroom Management).
Looking back at the Richard who was a school kid in the 90s is a happy experience. He had a naive excitement in all of his subjects, and really wanted to make his teachers proud of him. He enjoyed learning, and he decided from an early age that he wanted to help other kids learn things.
Today he is a high school science teacher, and the author of this blog.
Some would say that he is a classic story of expected success: starting from a working-class background in which his parents had divorced when he was around 2-years-old, to becoming a university graduate, then teacher, then author and now blogger.
But was it really enough in the 34-year time period that elapsed?
Everyone told me that I could do it. Everyone encouraged me along the way. Nobody really doubted me.
Few people told me what I would later learn – that as we rise we are also pulled down by relatively unknown forces – ‘invisible anchors’.
The demons that many people face remain hidden in the closet of mediocrity, which often has a large sign on the front that reads ‘I have achieved success’.
We have been deceived, to a certain extent.
These invisible anchors include:
- Lust and the inefficient pursuit of its gratification
- Alcohol and drugs (of which peer-pressure to ‘try’ can be massive)
- Procrastination (amplified today by the compulsive use of mobile technology)
- The mismanagement of money
George S. Clason speaks
For a large part of my working career my expenditure matched my income. I earned money and then I spent it. I lived paycheck-to-paycheck, no matter how large the paycheck increased over time.
Thankfully, I married an investment banker, and that changed things. She pointed out some of my errors and together we worked hard to achieve a milestone that many people set for themselves – we purchased a large house here in Bangkok.
But the balance sheet was still, well, balanced – what came in, went back out again.
Then, I discovered The Richest Man in Babylon, and it changed everything.
The rules I put in place were as follows:
- Save at least 10% of every penny you earn
- Control your expenditure
- Secure your lending – don’t lend money to anyone without securing an asset of equal value beforehand (e,g. jewelry that can be returned when the debt has been repaid)
- Invest your money with trustworthy people and ventures – don’t ask a gardener to purchase gemstones or cryptocurrencies on your behalf, for example)
- Have integrity: In this digital age of people-policing-each-other (sorry to say it how it is), one false move can destroy everything. Fraud, infidelity and even a temper-tantrum on an airplane (remember the Korean ‘nut-rage heiress’ and her sister?) can severely effect peoples’ trust in you and your business.
- High risk, high return. Low risk, low return. High risk investments (such as stock) can yield very high returns, but they can also crash. Low-risk investments (such as real-estate) tend to slowly increase in value over time. The trick is dividing our money sensibly between the two types.
- Rich people say “I control my life”. Poor people say “life happens to me”. I got this one from T. Harv Eker (author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind) and it really was a game0-changer for me when I changed my mindset from ‘I’m controlled’ to ‘I control’. I think it’s worth teaching kids that some people can’t help being poor though, despite their best efforts (people living in desperate conditions in the developing world, for example). However, for those of us privileged enough to have life’s basic necessities our mindset can literally take us from broke to rich).
The pioneer class
I taught these principles to my students in an ECA after school, once a week. I coupled these principles with the science of Platform Building (digital marketing and brand creation) and the kids loved designing their brands, logos and websites.
I currently have 17 students signed up to continue the ECA from next week onwards, which is quite a large group as far as ECAs go.
Last year I also gave the students the option of taking an exam in Money Management principles, and a small group took it up. They earned certificates and learnt skills that will serve them incredibly well for the rest of their lives.
My thoughts on money management
It should be a compulsory life-skill that is taught at every level of secondary school. From games like Monopoly, to money-management simulations like those at practicalmoneyskills.com, there are a range of fun and useful ways to teach this essential subject.
A personal development
I’m currently studying for a Professional Certificate in FinTech (Financial Technology, which includes crytocurrencies and blockchain) with the University of Hong Kong.
I plan to take what I learn and teach it to my money management students in the ECA.
Finance and the way we use money is changing rapidly, and teachers everywhere would do well to skill up.