Financial Freedom & Today’s High School Student

I had a great opportunity last week to be a guest speaker for an Economics class and a Personal Finance class at Owatonna High School. The students were polite, attentive and had some great input to our discussion. Most of the students were seniors so the topic was something to which they all had given a lot of thought. Here are the topics that I covered:

  1. Dreaming Big about your Future – This is an important step, and the earlier you get started the better. You don’t have to have the final story worked but it is good to have a dream and a plan. Unfortunately many students don’t have a plan and they spend a ton of money trying to figure it out along the way. Michelangelo said “The greater danger for most of is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that we set it too low and we reach it.” It is important to dream big and to have a plan to get there.
  2. Money and Wealth – We had a great discussion about what wealthy people look like. I was very impressed with these two high school classes because they seemed to have a very realistic view of wealthy people and how they earn and keep their money. I shared some statistics from Thomas Stanley’s book The Millionaire Next Door. You would be surprised to learn how the average wealthy person lives their lives and how they have met with success. The idea is to learn from those who have been successful and try to reproduce those behaviors in our own lives.
  3. Debt The one thing that keeps most people from building financial freedom in their lives, as well as finding work that they love, is the problem of debt. The biggest source of debt for most graduating high school students is college. This is closely followed by credit cards and then cars.  I shared some helpful information from a book written by Zac Bissonette called, Debt Free U. This book introduces students to the concept trying to get through college without taking on debt. Unfortunately, most parents and their students simply accept the premise that a college degree cannot be earned without taking on an average of $23,000 in debt. This notion has to change. Students will be far ahead of their peers if they will just solve this problem right now.
  4. What are you Doing Now?I wrapped up our time together by encouraging the students to start planning now to improve their situation. I encouraged them to either find work or to create a way to earn money by starting their own business. A couple of great books to help with this process are both written by Dan Miller. The first book is called   48 days to the Work You Love and is a great resource on going through a process to find your dream job, building a resume, or negotiating a salary.  The second book I recommended was  No More Mondays which is a fantastic book about starting a business, and creating your own future success.

It is encouraging to see a group of teens that is serious about getting it right financially.  While many of them accepted the reality that they would likely have college debt, several also were committed to staying debt free. I am convinced that those students will have the best chance to reach financial freedom and to find the work that they were meant to do.



About The Author

Duane Rockensock

Duane (Rocky) Rockensock is a husband, a dad, and the National Reconditioning Manager for AmeriGas Propane. Since he was a teenager, Duane has loved hearing the stories of how people have started creative businesses or found ways to use their talents to accomplish amazing things. For that reason he started this blog to encourage teens and adults to find their purpose and to provide the tools and resources to make that happen!