Since the beginning of time, kids were taught that school is the most crucial path to success. We attend school to select our desired profession (although, sometimes it is not necessarily desired), work towards a degree, and graduate to enter the workforce and contribute to the economy. Every society requires lawyers, accountants, doctors, teachers, officers, etcetera. The education system trains people so that society can continue to prosper and flourish. However, when we take a deeper look into today’s society and economic structure, we can see that it no longer functions and thrives due to the same factors of the past. Consider this question:
How free are students within the education system?
The answer to this question is evident in the way that the structure of the education system often stifles our freedom. Children begin their educational journey in kindergarten and are likely to retire 65 years later. Nobody has the ability to predict where the world will be in 65 years, let alone in a single day. So how can this system possibly work towards our benefit when factors such as innovation and unpredictability come into play?
At many points in our educational journey, our capacity for creativity and innovation is often suppressed by the routine-like, strictly structured education system. Education should not be structured and restraining; it should be flexible and free. Yes, teaching students to be obedient and punctual will come to great use when we’re out in the workplace, but what happens when we’re no longer given an instruction manual or rubric to direct us to “success”? What if success wasn’t really defined by flawless grammar and punctuation in a literary essay, but rather a passionate, creative, original piece of writing that goes beyond the expected structure of an essay? Rather than training students to get an A on a paper, why not train them to fail the basic standards of an A-worthy paper?
In today’s society, students are more ambitious than ever. Generation Z, also known as the iGeneration or Generation Change, are expected to be the most innovative, hardworking, pragmatic generation. Today, students aspire to become CEOs, celebrities, famous athletes and actors, rock stars, beauty queens, and the list goes on. They have a thirst for wealth, fame, and high status. This is the reason behind why it is becoming so difficult to keep students motivated in school – or even enrolled in school – these days. Students are coming to realize that school is no longer the major provider of professional success.
The problem with today’s education system is that it trains you to become what you study. You studied law? You became a lawyer. You studied medicine? You became a doctor. You studied finance? You became a financial analyst. This type of education can lead to narrow-mindedness in students. It leads us to believe that our only option is what we committed to become through our educational decisions, that this is the most promising method of being successful. It prevents us from reaching far out to something bigger than our degree titles.
This isn’t to say that professional education isn’t important and degrees aren’t useful. Go out and get your degree, but don’t make it the heart and soul of your career life. Use your degree to learn about your profession, leverage your network, and gain technical skills. However, as Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, says, be sure to mind your own business. Rather than minding someone else’s business and working to make others rich, work for yourself. Don’t work for the money; make the money work for you. In order for this to work correctly, you will need to build your financial intelligence – something that is never taught in high school and rarely in post-secondary education. Financial intelligence is something that you never stop learning over your lifetime. According to Kiyoasaki, “our staggering national debt is due in large part to highly educated politicians and government officials making financial decisions with little or no training in the subject of money”. Most people fail to recognize that the main cause of their financial struggle has to do with self-inflicted ignorance and fear. Most people are too blinded by the need for money and security that they never see all the opportunities for wealth through financial intelligence.
Financial intelligence can be split into four categories of knowledge:
- Understanding the markets
- Understanding the law
The ability to read and understand numbers and financial statements with accuracy is a vital skill necessary to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a business. The emotion-driven technical aspects of the market are crucial to making the right investment decisions, as well as where supply and demand stands in the current economy. Aside from accounting and financial literacy, a solid understanding of how the law works and how to minimize or avoid taxes allows an individual or corporation to become richer much faster.
Focus on Your Assets
As stated above, a major part of financial literacy is being able to understand financial statements. Someone who is financially illiterate is likely to have expenses that match or are below his or her income level. As a result, their liabilities would be larger than their assets. This is illustrated in the diagram to the left. However, a financially literate individual would focus on their assets and ensure that their net income is invested in more assets in order to minimize their expenses and create profit. Income-generating assets range from stocks, bonds, real estate, to anything that has value or market.
Awaken Your Financial Genius
What school fails to teach us is that the real world isn’t solely based on academics and technical knowledge. If we wish to succeed and prosper, we must be bold, powerful, and brilliant. Humanity is constantly evolving, developing, innovating, and competing to be better and better. It is, indeed, an exciting time to be alive. It is, indeed, a world that is full of possibilities and opportunities. Nonetheless, if your desire is to be wealthy, financial intelligence will not be enough. Information spreads at the speed of light in today’s society. The biggest determinant of your success and financial prosperity is your own will and desire to take the risk and grab the opportunity. Financial intelligence is about having more options even when it seems like you are facing none. Financial intelligence is about your level of creativity in solving financial issues. If you’re truly passionate about it, developing your financial IQ can be an absolutely fascinating process of learning in a world that’s constantly changing.
Writer: Mariam Walaa
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