When will we wake up as a nation and realize we cannot turn our young people into indentured servants?
In our hearts, I know we think we are helping. We provide a “higher” education by allowing many students to apply for loans. This is what we don’t do: educate them about the debilitating, depressing nature of crushing debt.
A friend in New York City has a niece who earned scholarships that got her through much of her undergrad studies. Then she decided to become a doctor. And her husband-to-be had aspirations too. Both very smart, capable people who eventually racked up $300,000 in student loans so that they could be law-abiding, productive, essential contributors to our society.
What is wrong with this picture?
Many things. America is very good at providing loans. If you have the intelligence and an impressive scholastic track record and want to be a doctor or lawyer or some other highly-paid professional, you will likely find a lender to help you overcome the fact that your family cannot afford to put you through medical or law school.
I know the world needs more doctors. But why must we handcuff them before they even begin their professional health care careers?
STARTUP HOPES SNUFFED
A shattering story about young startups who cannot take flight due to burdensome student debt reveals the underbelly of our mis-education of each new generation of ambitious, talented people. Consider this quote from the article:
“Arnobio Morelix, a senior research analyst with the Kaufmann Foundation, co-wrote a study with E. J. Reedy that found that the rise in student debt in recent years coincided with a decline in start-ups.”
Who among us has not benefitted from a startup? Facebook, Google and Uber are definitely in the Hall of Fame. But there are thousands more that make our lives better, in science, educations, finance, the arts and commerce.
Somehow these entrepreneurs found investors who believed in them. But guess what? Steve Jobs who founded Apple … Michael Dell who founded Dell Technologies … and Bill Gates of Microsoft fame—they all dropped out of college to follow their dreams. Apparently, that was a smart move: they avoided the financial hemorrhaging so many others experience after finishing school with debts that threaten their well-being.
Our future depends on these kinds of brave initiatives. And yet we are burying our future by sending young people into a money nightmare equal to a Charles Dickens novel. “Oliver Twist.” All he wanted was another bowl of soup.
PASSIVE INCOME 101—A NEW METHOD
I don’t recall anyone ever mentioning, let alone teaching, the virtues of passive income when I was in high school. We were in thrall of the athletes and pop musicians who made it big and earned obscene amounts of money. Yet we knew we lacked the ability to throw 100-mile-per-hour pitches in the MLB, slam dunk in the NBA, or wow a crowd with sizzling guitar licks. We were ordinary, or so we thought.
There is nothing extraordinary about mastering the basic skills of earning passive income through real estate or other hard assets. Then why don’t we teach it? Many Americans have the intelligence to understand and manage this type of approach to money. But we don’t even reveal it, or suggest it to our young people. Millions of good, well-intentioned citizens are fully capable of becoming millionaires. Why not show them how by demanding that early in life they study The Book of Wealth—Passive Income 101?
“Many young entrepreneurs are unlikely to go to venture capital firms or business incubators, preferring to ‘bootstrap’ — finance their companies with their own money or funds from friends and family members. But being in debt for student loans makes self-financing that much tougher.”
The quote above should break our hearts. It should make us question our educational system in medicine, law, business (yes, even business), science, the arts, agriculture and—I could go on. Name your vocation. Has anyone, anywhere, ever taught you the principles of Passive Income 101?
THE REVOLUTION SOLUTION
We don’t need to take to the streets to become a better, more prosperous nation. The revolution we need is not political. Left or Right principles can’t save us. But the right kind of education can.
My years in high school were a lesson in mediocrity. I was the least likely to be voted “most likely to succeed.”
I am now a certified emergency medicine physician and manager of a network of micro-hospitals in Texas. This is not a boast. While serving in the U.S. Navy, God bless it, I realized that I was not dumb, I had gifts, and so I went to work. Years later, I have made something of myself.
And yet … after all that, I had a revelation that awakened me to the foolishness of working myself to death and doing well toward others, while ignoring my beautiful wife, gorgeous children—and mortality. Being a doctor might have made me rich, but it would never make me truly wealthy unless I mastered Passive Income 101.
So, I did.
Sometimes I wish I could go back to those classrooms where a teen named Tom Black, a congenial and unimposing fellow, yawned as the teacher talked about algebra, biology or literature. I wish I could walk to his desk, peer down at him and say, “You look bored, son. Want me to teach you how to become a millionaire?”
Millionaire. It is still a magic word in America, though billionaire has, in some quarters, overtaken it. What kid who doesn’t have a clue about the future would not at least listen to someone who could teach him how to support himself and then, eventually, a family. What kid, male or female, would forget the lessons of Passive Income 101, wherein you become wealthy regardless of whether you are a doctor, lawyer, stock broker or … rock star athlete?
Freedom in the Black—I Will Meet You Half Way
All I ask is that you walk with me toward personal fulfillment. You are not done. Your life is not over, no matter how young or old you might feel.
This is my offer. If you know your medicine, law or scientific education lacked the essentials of finance and money management, contact me. My 2017 public speaking schedule is filling up fast, but if you can convince me that your school, professional group or club would benefit from a live presentation about investing, I will meet you half way. We will do a group call or webinar. In some cases, I might arrive at your doorstep.
But I will only share what I know if you too want to start a revolution. A peaceful, smart, passionate and compassionate revolt that teaches so-called ordinary people to become extraordinary investors.