On A Mission From God

There are a lot of people in my life, both friends and strangers, to whom I will never be able to repay their generosity. As nearly as impossible as it is, I try to count every one of the gifts I receive, large and small, and recognize that the individuals who gave them make up the tapestry of my fortunes – material or otherwise.

So, as small as this offer to the the karmic spirits is, I’m on a mission from God to teach young people the basics of personal finance. After all, it’s the least I can do – especially since my generation looks as if we intend to bleed the kids white by our failure to address entitlement reform. But I’ll leave the political/economic malfeasance of us Boomers to separate rant.

I have to choose a medium outside of this blog to get to this task and I’ll find a good interim solution somewhere I’m sure. I’ll let it evolve and see where it leads. But these are some of the fundamental areas I’d like to include (in no particular order.):

  • Basics of Budgeting
  • Long Term Financial Planning
  • The Time Value of Money
  • Saving Strategies
  • Intro to Investment Strategies
  • Insurance

Other topics are sure to come along and, obviously, each of the above has sub-topics.

[Note: My sardonic imagination conjures up irreverent articles like “So, you pissed away half of your inheritance. What next?”  and other sundry (mis)acts of life. (or, maybe not). It’s one of my shortcomings.]

I know, there are guys like Dave Ramsey who are all over this and, frankly, I plan to borrow heavily from him. The problem is, Ramsey has some tools of which the sexy ones he wants to charge you for. Good for him, but there are a lot of free services (like Mint.com) that do just as well. He also doesn’t get very deep into the conceptual framework at the basic level. You know, things like teaching people what it means to their retirement if they skip eating out once a week.

What we won’t cover are things like economics and trading. The target audience isn’t suited for trading (most people aren’t suited for trading) but need to start investing and economics is the surest way to chase people off. The real need is to get people to start thinking in simple personal finance terms.

I know that for many of you all of this is so basic that you may think the whole effort is entirely “ignorable.” But having been in financial services for almost four decades, I can tell how much need there is for this. I’ve seen it all my professional life. I can also tell you that no one will pay attention if it’s not fun, contemporary, and builds a community.

My father told me at a young age “If you’re going to make money in finance, you need to work for people who have some.”  Well, that’s is not this target audience. I’m not in this for the money.

But I’m gunna need some help. Maybe you’re interested either out of the goodness of your heart or to use as a tool for other financial advice you give.

First and foremost, I really need someone who can write a really simple mobile app, hopefully for both IOS and Android, about time value of money that looks something like this. I’d like to figure out how to turn it into a game eventually and see if a community can be built around it. Anyone who writes it can own it but you have to give me/us permission to use it.

Secondly, there’s all sorts of things that I’m not as proficient at as others such as insurance analysis and long term financial planning. And of course, when it comes to investment strategies, I have mine but I’m no expert at many others.

We’ll work on the details together and build a strategy as it moves forward. No one involved will be expected to stay involved if they don’t want to. And, obviously, I won’t ask anyone for any money. I’ll pay for the web resources required and other miscellaneous stuff.

If you’re interested in getting involved – and I’ll leave your motivations to you without question – leave me a comment as to what you’re interested in. Make sure you put a good email address in the comment for (no one but me can see it). I have to approve your first comment before it shows up so don’t think your comment has gone into the bit bucket. It just might take me a day to get to it.

Anyhow, I’ll do this alone if I have to but I have a suspicion that I’m not alone in seeing the need for this – if only for wayward relatives.

And we all have some of those.


  1. Paul Stiles says:

    insurance is a total mystery to me.

  2. Dave says:

    I know something about it but it’s been so long that I might give bad advice. Need to find a pro.

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