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Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-23-2006, 10:33 PM   #1
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Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

Hello fellow FIREers:
I've grown increasingly ready to leave the corporate world and have been thinking more and more about an idea I came up with a few years ago. I thought I'd throw this out there to you all to see if I could solicit some ideas.

Basically I'd like to take the concepts that most of us on this board take for granted (living on a budget, living below our means, staying out of debt, etc) and take them to young adults who desperately need them. I picture this taking the form of me teaching seminars/classes as well as some one-on-one help.

I have two main issues I need to solve. 1. My own credibility and qualifications 2. Monetizing the model.

Here are my current ideas. I'd love your input:

Building Credibility in the space
1. Begin doing some talks at small community colleges in the area. No charge to the school.
2. Write and publish a "financial responsibility" book.
3. Enroll in the financial planning curriculum (like the one at Duke). (I have no intention of becoming a CFP, but the curriculum may give me credibility.)


Monetizing
1. Government grants
2. Corporate sponsorship
3. Independent consulting (charge a fee to come and spend a few days at a school or other institution to work with the students, hold classes, etc)


Ideas?
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-24-2006, 09:05 AM   #2
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

DanDan Ramsey? DanDan Orman? DanDan Merriman?

You need a web site, a book, a radio show, a PBS special, and a bunch of groupies.
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-24-2006, 10:48 AM   #3
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

When the new bankruptcy legislation was passed a couple of years ago, credit counseling was required if you file bankruptcy. I have heard through the grapevine that the are few "approved" credit counselors and at least in my state, they only have an online presence. Might be a source of business if you can get approved.
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-24-2006, 12:46 PM   #4
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

I was thinking of the same thing......the counseling stuff...but always wondered how you get paid if the folks have already stiffed everyone else
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-24-2006, 03:23 PM   #5
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
I have heard through the grapevine that the are few "approved" credit counselors and at least in my state, they only have an online presence. Might be a source of business if you can get approved.
Interesting idea. More of what I had in mind, however, was talking to 18-25 year olds in those years when they are getting on their feet financially and forming the habits that will keep them out of credit counseling in the future.

I did an interesting experiment a few years ago where I took about 5 high school seniors to lunch (with their parents' permission of course) and told them I would buy lunch if they would let me ask a bunch of questions. I was astonished at how little these honor students knew about investing and credit cards. One of the questions I asked the group was if they got two offers for a credit card, how would they decide which one was better. 1 out of 5 said interest rate. But when I asked if she wanted higher or lower, she said higher. That's when I knew I wanted to do something in this space.
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-24-2006, 07:57 PM   #6
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

Not to discourage you from your idea, but I think it's a very tough sell to get people to pay attention to financial matters, let alone get them to pay you for it. There are tons of financially ignorant people in their 30s-40s, and the amount of financial apathy increases exponentially in the 18-25 age bracket. I'm the only person in my circle of friends who pays any attention to financial matters, and we're all fairly intelligent, college educated people. Of course, what do I know...I'm only 25.
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-24-2006, 08:01 PM   #7
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

Quote:
Originally Posted by soupcxan
Not to discourage you from your idea, but I think it's a very tough sell to get people to pay attention to financial matters, let alone get them to pay you for it. There are tons of financially ignorant people in their 30s-40s, and the amount of financial apathy increases exponentially in the 18-25 age bracket. I'm the only person in my circle of friends who pays any attention to financial matters, and we're all fairly intelligent, college educated people. Of course, what do I know...I'm only 25.
Exactly. That's why in the 3 monetizing models I listed above, none would be paid for by the young adults. It's those people who won't or can't pay for advice that need it the most, whether they realize that or not.
So the trick is figuring out how to get one of those models (maybe there are some I am not thinking of) to work.

Does anyone know if small community colleges have budget flexibility to hire people to come in for seminars with the students?
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-24-2006, 08:35 PM   #8
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

Folks at our local community college are already complaining of budget cuts due to the recent defeat of bond referendum.

I have given free lectures at the local community college.
I have given free lectures at the local medical school.
I don't see how you can compete with the local financial types that give you a free steak dinner to sit through their presentations.
Maybe you can start a financial column that appears in high school student newspapers?
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-24-2006, 10:11 PM   #9
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
Folks at our local community college are already complaining of budget cuts due to the recent defeat of bond referendum.

I have given free lectures at the local community college.
I have given free lectures at the local medical school.
I don't see how you can compete with the local financial types that give you a free steak dinner to sit through their presentations.
Maybe you can start a financial column that appears in high school student newspapers?
Ask any parent how thrilled his/her kids are to hear about financial topics. Then start thinking about some new idea.

Ha
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-25-2006, 12:16 AM   #10
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

My point is that even if you could convince a school's administration to pay you for this service (which I think is a hard sell, even if you have a professional certification like a CPA or a CFA, which it doesn't sound like you do), I doubt many students will even bother to attend the meeting. I can tell you that at my university (which had a lot of snotty rich kids), we had a program like this where some stockbroker came in for a few evenings to talk about investing. I didn't go because I didn't want to hear his sales pitch - he offered this "service" to the university for free because he hoped to add the rich kids & their parents to his book of business. His information might have been better than nothing, but I doubt he talked about no-load funds from Vanguard...more likely class-A shares from his own firm.

The picture is not much brighter at the high school level, as this segement has even less control of or interest in their own finances, and besides, why should the school pay you for this service when Junior Acheivement gives it away for free?

At the end of the day, 18-25 year olds fall into two groups: those who are not interested in learning about personal finance (the vast majority) and those who are. The first group will not bother to attend your lectures, and the second group has more than enough information available on the internet to do their own research without your help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dandan14
Exactly. That's why in the 3 monetizing models I listed above, none would be paid for by the young adults. It's those people who won't or can't pay for advice that need it the most, whether they realize that or not.
So the trick is figuring out how to get one of those models (maybe there are some I am not thinking of) to work.

Does anyone know if small community colleges have budget flexibility to hire people to come in for seminars with the students?
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-25-2006, 05:28 AM   #11
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

We have a local adult nightschool where someone teaches this. For sixty dollars for six weeks you learn about debt and how to get out of it. Then there is a second part which is more basic money management.

Your intentions are honorable but I am not sure how you can reach this age group. One day my early twenty something daughter in law called, she was eligible for her 401K and was asking all about it. She said if it wasn't for my son explaining it to her she would not even had signed up because her family doesn't do that kind of stuff.
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-25-2006, 09:14 AM   #12
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dandan14
I have two main issues I need to solve.
1. My own credibility and qualifications
2. Monetizing the model.
As you've said, I don't think that most of the demographic cares enough to pay to hear your message.

I don't think that the potential customers would feel that they get their money's worth on something that the demographic doesn't want. Especially when budget staffs will point out how much "better" it'd be to spend the money somewhere else.

The only guy I'm aware of who really draws a crowd in this avocation is Warren Buffett. At the other end of the spectrum is Robert Kiyosaki. You'd have to imitate one and differentiate yourself from the other...
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-25-2006, 06:05 PM   #13
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

Direct your marketing to the parents instead of to the kids. The parents have the ability to pay and they care about your message.
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-25-2006, 06:14 PM   #14
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckeye
Direct your marketing to the parents instead of to the kids. The parents have the ability to pay and they care about your message.
Now that is an interesting idea! I wonder what would be the best way to reach the college students/young adults and their parents, and in what form the instruction would be delivered.

In response to an earlier comment about Junior Achievement, I have taught JA for a few semesters but felt their curriculum was targeted at a much younger audience (the oldest I could get access to was 9th grade) and the message is way too simplistic (but definitely still serves a purpose).
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-25-2006, 06:37 PM   #15
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

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Originally Posted by dandan14
Now that is an interesting idea! I wonder what would be the best way to reach the college students/young adults and their parents, and in what form the instruction would be delivered.
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That will pack them in.
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-25-2006, 06:44 PM   #16
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

With all the issues surrounding college kids and credit card problems, you could probably market it as a "college prep" course. Not sure what channel would be the best to reach the parents. Maybe you should develop all the course materials, put them online, and then charge admission. Or do a video download or a live video presentation. Maybe you could buy email lists of folks who have filed for the fafsa form or something along those lines. With an online course, you could service people everywhere.
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-26-2006, 10:30 AM   #17
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

This will sound sarcastic, but I am very serious. Have you considered making a video game to "teach" the principals of money management? The players could compete to budget, invest and accumulate savings and earn rewards like fancy cars (based on SWR, or course). As I think back, I learned a few basics playing Monopoly back in the day!

Young people today seem only interested in spending money and "making it" (i.e. a fat paycheck), not saving it. All my kids have done the "stock market game" in jr high school, but its value is limited.

Unfortunately, if you market to the parents, many will only be a bit better off than thier kids as far as interest and understanding basic concepts.
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-26-2006, 10:55 AM   #18
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

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Originally Posted by jazz4cash
..Have you considered making a video game to "teach" the principals of money management? The players could compete to budget, invest and accumulate savings and earn rewards like fancy cars (based on SWR, or course). As I think back, I learned a few basics playing Monopoly back in the day!...
Maybe you can create the FIRE gameboard.

Instead of "Go To Jail" it would be "Go to Work."
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-26-2006, 11:03 AM   #19
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

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Originally Posted by retire@40
Maybe you can create the FIRE gameboard.

Instead of "Go To Jail" it would be "Go to Work."
"Mediterranean & Baltic Avenue" = "Variable Annuity"?
"Boardwalk & Park Place" = "Cola'd pension with health insurance"?

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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?
Old 12-26-2006, 11:07 AM   #20
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Re: Starting a business talking to young adults about finances?

Quote:
Originally Posted by soupcxan
Not to discourage you from your idea, but I think it's a very tough sell to get people to pay attention to financial matters, let alone get them to pay you for it. There are tons of financially ignorant people in their 30s-40s, and the amount of financial apathy increases exponentially in the 18-25 age bracket. I'm the only person in my circle of friends who pays any attention to financial matters, and we're all fairly intelligent, college educated people. Of course, what do I know...I'm only 25.
I know you're already aware of this, but I think it's the single largest roadblock to your idea. I've had many of the same ideas, as I'm sure others here have as well. I am always shocked at how little my relatives / friends know about finances, and keep thinking that my knowledge is incredibly valuable to them.

The problem is that almost no one wants that value that you can offer. Not only are they not interested in finances, but even if you make it sound interesting "You could retire by age 40 if you'd only..", they still will fade out as soon as you start talking percentages.

I certainly wish you good luck, but it is hard to get people to be interested.
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