I’ve always thought it’s insane how personal finance isn’t a mandatory subject taught in every school to our young people. Your finances can have a huge impact on your life in a number of ways — your family, your stress levels, what kind of life you lead and much more. Personal finance is one of the most practical subjects you can learn yet the large majority of people are forced to figure it out on their own with zero guidance from anyone who knows what they’re talking about.
So I was very excited when I received an email a few months ago from a guy named James Fletcher who wanted to tell me about a program he started that does exactly this called Young Investors Society. Like me, James works in the investment management industry. He decided to start this nonprofit after volunteering at a local high school to try to impart some financial wisdom to a group of students.
I’ve been involved with and participated in stock market simulations when I was in college and have found that these games are fairly worthless from a learning standpoint. The people who figure them out just end up buying the more speculative, volatile stocks in hopes of striking it rich because the simulations usually only last a few months at the most. Picking a lottery ticket stock and hoping for the best is no way to learn about how the markets or corporations function.
James had a similar experience and decided to start a program that focuses more on the important concepts such as understanding business strategy, long-term investing, saving, compound interest and how the stock market really works. Young Investors Society teams up with high schools all across the country to work with teachers and help them better educate their students on the many lessons you can gain from the idea of long-term investing.
The more I’ve learned about finance over the years the more I’ve come to understand that there are many different principles and lessons you can learn from understanding how businesses and the markets work. There are so many subjects you have to master to become a more intelligent investor — history, psychology, statistics, probability, humility, communication, math and much more. In many ways investing really is a liberal art.
James asked me to become involved in YIS and I jumped at the opportunity to help the organization communicate their efforts, shape the curriculum and provide feedback where needed. He has already assembled a great team of people in the investment and education worlds to aid in these efforts so I’ll do my best to fit in and help in any way that I can.
There are already a number of donors, schools, and organizations who would like a chance to help spread the word. James and one of the students who participated in YIS recently had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban about the program and get a chance to hear his thoughts on coming up in the business world. The video covered insights from Cuban on a number of topics including:
- How he got interested in business at a young age.
- What he thinks about risk.
- Thoughts on being an entrepreneur.
- How he evaluates businesses.
- How to be successful in your career.
- Why he bought the Dallas Mavericks.
- Where he’s failed with his investments.
- Industries he’s excited about.
- Why your investments don’t always match up with your life.
Here is the video in its entirety:
And for those of you who are interested in understanding how YIS works, here’s a short video explaining the program:
And learn more about YIS at the organization’s website here:
Young Investors Society