Financial literacy impacts career outcomes as students transition into the workforce
When discussing student learning models, personal responsibility and freedom of choice are the most important issues in educational circles. However, when it comes to financial literacy and the essential elements of financial ownership, many students are encouraged to educate themselves.
A recent Newsweek article highlights a study conducted by the Center for Social Justice in the UK on the key money habits and skills developed between the ages of 3 and 7. Only 38% of children and young people in the UK receive some form of financial education at school. The research supports the Milken Institute’s findings, which reveal a lack of basic financial literacy and skills among US high school students
Without financial literacy at the fingertips of students and young adults, real-life success stories hold even more meaning by shedding light on the history, patterns, and choices that lead to successful outcomes. Students and youth can gather information by hearing the stories of people of all ages that focus on their inner determination, perseverance and challenging themselves to overcome obstacles to achieve financial freedom and make a difference for others.
This reporter wanted to learn more about people overcoming personal challenges to succeed in the financial sector. Using setbacks as learning tools, lessons have been uncovered inside and outside the ‘school’ of hard hits that illustrate the power of acquiring financial literacy for young professionals.
Jeremiah, “The Bull” Evans, is a unique person who, at the age of 26, took on trouble and turned it into success. He is the CEO and founder of Alpha Financial Agency, along with seven other companies and activities. In his spare time he produces the Bullpen Podcast and works on his book Alpha Hero. While the “Alpha” branding is prominent in all of his endeavors, it found its form through years of persistence and grappling with fears stretching back to childhood.
Nobody comes to save you
Perpetual bullying was part of Evan’s daily struggle at school. Children mocked him by calling him “The Bull” and made fun of his weight and build. “I didn’t want to wake up and go to school and endure all these things,” Evans recalls. “Every single day felt like something was happening. They beat me up or pushed me to the ground.”
When his father discovered the bullying, he believed, unlike some parents who stand in for their child, that Jeremiah should take full responsibility himself. “No one’s coming to save you,” his father said, demanding that he take on a certain thug that hit him. “Don’t go home until you confront him,” his father said. So he did just that.
“My father forced me to overcome this fear. Overcoming my limitations and realizing my abilities. For the rest of his life, I knew no matter what, I could make it and keep my shoulders higher,” says Evans.
He drew on the sport, but when football didn’t take off, he used that same attitude without excuses to embark on the business chapter of his life.
He turned a derisive term “fat bull” into his own nickname “The Bull” and took responsibility and pride in his rediscovery of himself. It gave him a sense of empowerment that affected his entrepreneurial pursuits.
Earn money to make a difference
“I didn’t choose the sector. I just did it because finance and financial services produce more millionaires than any other industry in the world,” says Evans. It is not the money that motivates him but the freedom that allows him to pursue other areas of interest to effect change. “Unfortunately, in order to make a difference, it has to be done with money. As much as people may argue that it shouldn’t be like this, it is. Just do what you have to do to become the person who makes the difference.”
Evans turns the idea of passion on its head. He admits that he wasn’t initially excited about finance-driven ventures, but rather the opportunities that come with financial freedom and acquiring financial literacy skills.
Alpha Financial Agency, Evans’ mother ship, trains and directs agents on how to properly establish themselves in the financial services business. With a focus on insurance industry leads and real estate investing, Evans provides opportunities for others to develop their own form of ownership with financial freedom. Success is measured by the success of others. “How many agents have I been able to help lead a life of freedom, and can I find time and purpose to donate to greater causes?” asks Evans.
“I’m 26. I have many companies that have had sales of over $50 million in the last two to three years. The world will pay you what you think it’s worth. Money is only value,” he adds.
His “Be Great or Be Nothing” philosophy carries over into his passion for more philanthropic endeavors working with Tim Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad, donating to their efforts to save children from human trafficking and exploitation.
meaning through fear
Sometimes financial literacy comes from adopting a work ethic and inner makeup to weather adversity. For Evans, it’s all about embracing fear. “Once you feel fear, it means you are doing something to grow and stretch. It means you are doing something meaningful. Nothing of importance in life was ever done by anyone who didn’t show courage and conquer fear,” he says.
“Success will stand on a mountain of failure,” says Evans. When it comes to entrepreneurial endeavors in the gig economy, he relates fear directly to marketing strategies. According to Evans, marketing is nothing more than testing what works and obsessing over the “no”.
Entrepreneurs need to figure out what isn’t working, change it, and change it again if necessary. Failure is often branded with success for business and life.” This is the crucible that separates the 1% from the 99%. The only difference between me at 26 and someone else at 26 is that I went through a lot more anxiety than they did. The 1% is willing to do what the 99% don’t want to do. This is the only difference.”
Resource allocation continues to have a place at the proverbial educational table of slogans. Dissemination of knowledge that supports long-term investment in students as they enter the workforce has the potential to impact more than just bottom line or LinkedIn profile.
The education sector could benefit from ensuring that financial literacy has a permanent place at the ever-evolving table of an industry in dire need of a secure footing that satisfies the end customer, the student.
The “bull” continues to rely on it. Maybe education should too.
The interviews have been edited and shortened for reasons of clarity.