Alex was raised by a single mother, and joined the National Guard when he was 17. He also spent most of his early 20’s in debt. Between student loans and credit cards, he wasn’t very good at managing his money and lived paycheck to paycheck.
After Alex graduated from college he got married and had a kid right away. That first Christmas they were so poor that they couldn’t afford to buy any Christmas presents so they wrapped empty boxes and put them under the Christmas tree just so it wouldn’t be so depressing.
Shortly after that, Alex got hired as a personal banker at Chase bank. That was the first real financial education and training he was exposed to as an adult. It was a huge eye opener for him when he realized he was going about his personal finances completely backwards. He soaked up as much knowledge as he could and immediately applied it to better his financial situation.
On top of the regular employee training provided by Chase, Alex’s favorite high school teacher had left the education sector while Alex was still in high school and was the financial advisor at the bank Alex was working at. He was ranked one of the top financial advisors in the country at that time. Every day Alex went to work it was like going back to school, but this time he was getting mentored on personal finances on a regular basis.
On top of that Alex started reading every book he could get his hands on to learn more about finances. It took a couple of years, but he was finally able to dig himself out of debt and fix his horrible credit score. During his time as a personal banker he realized that his situation was actually the same situation as the mass majority of people he helped at the bank.
Most adults were living paycheck to paycheck and he had a unique job where he could ask people about their finances and figure out how and where they went wrong.
On the flip side he was also able to sit down with people who were very well off and ask them what choices they made differently and learned how they thought about money and maximizing opportunities. Alex was able to get an inside view to how regular people viewed their finances compared to people who were well off.
Time and time again the regular people complained about how they never learned about finances at home or in high school, which was why they were living paycheck to paycheck and in debt.
He realized that most people were prideful, set in their ways, and didn’t actually want help. They just wanted to live their life doing the same thing and getting the same results.
Alex decided that the best way to help people in his community would be to be proactive and get ahead of the problem. He wanted to share all of the financial lessons he’d learned not only during his time working at the bank, but also the life lessons he had to learn the hard way.
He started volunteering with a non-profit that taught financial literacy in the local high schools. Alex immediately enjoyed volunteering because he could tell how much the students WANTED to learn about something they knew they’d need in real life after they graduated.
Many of the teachers told the non-profit organization that the other volunteers just couldn’t relate to the students in the same way that Alex did. They were either incredibly boring or talked over their heads because they’d spent a lifetime as financial advisors, helping people with a lot of money and some level of financial education. Knowing he could connect with the students, teacher’s requested Alex on a regular basis to teach in their classrooms.
Alex quickly became the top volunteer for multiple years in a row and taught upwards of 100 classes per year. He realized over that time that it didn’t matter if he was at a low income school or a high income school, the students had the same base level of financial education - which was basically nothing. They all felt completely unprepared for the real world.
Unlike Alex, she was taught about money as a kid, and was infatuated with how to create more of it at a very early age. She started her first neighborhood recycle business at age 9, and has been a serial entrepreneur ever since.
Paige owned an all-star cheerleading gym for 12 years, and had the opportunity to coach and mentor thousands of athletes that came through her doors. Her businesses are always centered around building communities and having a positive impact on the world by helping people.
She married Alex when he was broke as a joke, and had a baby right away. Remember the empty boxes wrapped under the Christmas tree? Yeah, that was her idea.
Paige saw that Alex was doing important work at the schools in their community, but also knew that he was on a path to burning out. She pitched the idea of starting a YouTube channel, and he hated the idea.
But he knew she was right. When she told him that he could reach way more students and help thousands – if not millions – of young people, the potential impact was too much to ignore.
So, he convinced his good friend and office partner, Phillip, to join him, and with no audience and zero subscribers, they started making videos based on the feedback from students after years of teaching in classrooms. Alex & Phillip wrote the content, and Paige produced the videos.
Between the six years he spent volunteering in classrooms and the four years of listening to the feedback from their viewers on YouTube, Alex has really honed in on what type of financial knowledge and systems young adults need in order to succeed in the real world.
They created a financial education curriculum specifically designed for high school students. Each topic has been broken down to the most basic level. Each lesson builds on the knowledge gained from the previous lesson. If a student is able to complete all of the action steps, by the end of the course they’ll have a real financial system that’s automated that they can continue using after they graduate.
Click here to learn more about the Rethink Financial Education curriculum.
Check out Adulting Shouldn’t Suck on YouTube.
Contact the Rethink team.