Posted by: seanmalstrom | December 27, 2015

Email: Financial literacy for kids

Greetings Master Malstrom,
As soon as I heard about this, I immediately thought of you:

It’s a children’s book series about financial literacy. The author is a businesswoman who says financial literacy is more important than ever (she even said your line about it being as important as knowing how to read and write!) and sees the need (and opportunity, haha) to help start people’s financial knowledge on the right foot at a young age.
I swear I’m not an advertiser or anything. I just thought this was something you’d like to hear about especially in the midst of all the disappointed Smash Bros reactions you must be getting.


This is awesome. People are SOOOO stupid about financial literacy, they have no idea what it means. Financial literacy does not mean balancing a checkbook or ‘spending smart like stuff on sale!’. Financial literacy means literacy about finance. What that means is being able to read financial statements, your financial statement, another business’s financial statement, how to deal with banks, investments, etc.

Sounds boring? It isn’t.

For simplifying it, there are three types of ‘literacy’.

Old School Common Sense type stuff like you would learn on a farm or other manual labor.

Academic education. This you get from universities.

Financial Education. This is not taught in universities, and it is probably unable to be transmitted in such a classroom setting. Academic education is about not being wrong. But in finance education, you are wrong constantly. But you want to be wrong SMALL and be right BIG.

Before the industrial revolution, only a few professions needed academic education such as lawyers or doctors. Farmers did not need academic education. This is why there is a ‘summer break’ that is a laggard part of the US school system still. Children would help on farms during the school break of the summer.

People think farming schools are stupid skills. I ask, “What is stupid? What is intelligent?” The academic is a dumbass on the farm. Academics cannot milk cows or bring home the harvest. But what people are forgetting today is that the family farm person is FAR MORE intelligent in financial literacy than your academically educated children of today. The family farm is a business. It has expenses, liabilities, assets (cows! moooo!), and all that. The academically educated is never make aware of this which keeps him or her enslaved to make someone else rich.

Academic education became more important during the industrial revolution. Even then, a college degree was rare because it wasn’t needed.

We are in a financial revolution. All currency is instruments of debt…. it is not backed by anything. Those who understand this can utilize this debt to buy assets and generate wealth. Everyone who doesn’t understand it will wonder why costs keep rising and why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Let me give you a real life example of the power of financial literacy in a real life example. It occurred yesterday at Christmas. The relative was giving his son a telescope so he could become an ‘astronomer’, and then pursue that field in college. The kid was 15. The kid just wants to play Xbox all day such as Skyrim. The kid has no idea what he wants to do really. Stars and planets just seems cool.

And the narrative says that one should follow one’s heart and passion for the career, right? One should follow one’s personality, right?


Financial literacy would make a financial analysis of such college degrees. Every college degree is a MASSIVE investment in not just money but time. You want the college degree to put more money in your pocket than you took out to get it, right? If it does not, it is a worthless degree. Majoring in Basket Weaving is not a good idea.

“But Malstrom, all degrees are equal! Just getting any degree is good!”


You get that basket weaving degree, and employers will think you are an idiot. You’d be better off NOT to get such a stupid degree.

But let us examine the degree further. You need to know…

-How much does this degree cost in time and money?

-When this degree is finished, what will the job market be?

-Is the job market growing? (you don’t want a degree in a shrinking market!)

-What is the probability of financial success with such a degree?

I know what you are thinking: “Malstrom, you are a heartless bastard! You are taking the emotion and joy out of this.” This is why people are so stupid. They emotionally bond to their degrees. You want to filter out the financially viable degrees from the financially invalid degrees. Only THEN do you choose ‘what you want to do’. For example, a choice between Chemical Engineering or Mechanical Engineering is a decent choice. A choice between Nursing and Dolphins is not.

Not all degrees are the same. Many are trash. Analyzing them as an investment will weed out the trash so you can choose the valid degrees.

As for astronomy, if you ask astronomers, you will find that it is a very competitive profession with little to no growth. Doctorates are preferred. You do not even need a normal ‘degree’. Going for your masters in astronomy may cut it. However, we are talking a TON of schooling here already.

I told him astronomy is a bad choice. The kid’s father was very upset with me. “Any degree is good!” heh.

Astronomy does have some good qualities. You do much math and science with it. If the kid was deadset for it, he should do all that math and science classes first before taking the astronomy specific ones. This way, he doesn’t have to totally commit to it until years into college. All that math and science can be translated into another degree.

Did you know that astronomy is one of those fields being hit by automation? What is going on was that he liked the IDEA of an astronomer which is the lone guy in a telescope on some island peering at the night sky. I wonder if they still actually look at telescopes that way anymore. Maybe a machine does the same thing now.

“But Malstrom, you are an ass! Why are you ruining the fun?”

It is because the kid’s life is at stake. This is YOUR LIFE. Don’t you think you should spend a few hours researching this and asking tough questions?

The kid’s father is financially stupid. He thinks he is financially bright because he knows how to get ‘good deals’ on buying shit he doesn’t need. He bought those hoverboards for his kids, a new car for himself, even buying rare Amiibos. In a few years, his kid will be going to college yet he hasn’t even paid off his student loans… that were to a STATE COLLEGE!

The point is that financial literacy will SAVE your life in ways you cannot imagine. If the reader happens to be a young man and eyes a pretty lady, the young man should turn on his financial literacy mode which will say: “Gentleman! I know you lust for this fine lass, but my thinking is to check her credit rating. Also ask what her financial strategy is especially after marriage. Money is extremely important to the male/female union.” The reader might respond: “Villain! You are taking the romance out! Women do not look at men through a financial lens!” At this point, Reality makes an entrance and starts laughing its ass off at you. “Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahah.”

Financial literacy is not about money, it is about life. It is because money creates quality of life. Not in ALL ways. However, it DOES add quality to your life.

I think Financial Literacy should be learned and sought after by everyone. You will use money for the rest of your life. People learn garbage like Star Wars or Star Trek trivia, all the names of Pokemon, random historical facts that have nothing to do with today, and so on. You know why? It is because they are FUN. But financial literacy is not ‘fun’… which is why it is soooo potent! The stuff that is never ‘fun’ to learn is the most powerful. Math, for many people, is the least fun but is very powerful.

I think people even actively avoid financial literacy because it teaches them how much they don’t really know. People want to be ‘smart’. No one wants to feel stupid. Financial literacy will make you realize you are at a 1st grade level when other people are in high school or college in financial smarts. Instead of facing this ugly truth, people would rather think their ‘academic education’ makes them ‘smart’.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did not get college degrees, yet they are not stupid. They both had tremendous financial smarts. Both of them could see the future.

The farmer is only stupid in the industrial age. But in this new age that is dawning on us, the new stupid is the academic.



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