The following article is adapted from a posting published earlier on The Dangerous Child blog
How Can Children Master Financial Skills by Age 18?
Humans learn best by trying — by going out on the limb for something. Early tries are likely to meet with failure, and it is the response to early failures that determine whether the child or youth will learn from failure and go on to more difficult trials — or whether he will choose to “play it safe” and not risk spectacular failures (or successes).
Children and Youth Would do Well to Learn How to Start Businesses Early in Life
To avoid wage slavery and corporate/government dependency, a Dangerous Child learns to deal with problems of finance, customer handling, and cash flow balancing, at early ages. The earlier the better. The type of business, product, or service is not nearly as important as the thought and planning that goes into the startup and operations. And if it fails — as is often the case — the Dangerous Child has plenty of other ideas to work out and try out.
Here is another blogger’s thinking on the subject of avoiding wage slavery:
In the age of automation, what’s scarce are problem-solving skills.
Software and robotics are good with set situations and routines, but not so good at responding to unique situations. If someone wants a high-wage job in a profitable sector, one avenue is to become a better problem-solver.
The best way to become a better problem solver is to start a small enterprise yourself, because the entrepreneur–even the smallest scale entrepreneur selling on Etsy or perfominng some service in the community–must solve a wide range of problems on a daily basis. ___ Charles Hugh Smith
Problem-solving is indeed a scarce and valuable resource in the modern age. Dangerous Children learn to problem-solve by taking calculated risks — by throwing themselves into the fray and dealing with the inevitable issues and challenges that will confront him and try to prevent him from reaching his goal.
That is another reason why very early childhood training must instill the love of solving “puzzles” and overcoming challenges. Such instincts are natural to infants and early toddlers, but can be easily blunted by both neglectful and over-protective parenting — and by government schooling. The love of a difficult challenge and the willingness to see a tough goal through to the end is of great value to the child’s future prospects.
Work and Practical Problem-Solving Experience More Valuable than Credentials
College degrees are a dime a dozen. Getting a four year college degree is often the quickest route to a minimum wage job — and the creation of an impossible dilemma when it comes to paying off student loans.
Not every four year degree is a dead-end of course. Engineering and IT degrees can be immensely valuable in finding a reasonable job if a person is energetic and willing to work hard. But four year degrees in history, psychology, sociology, literature, philosophy, and other liberal arts and social sciences will give a minimal advantage, if any, for even the lowest job on the rung.
Problem-solvers with work and business experience, are different. A proven track record of successful innovation, business creation, and management, opens the door to a wide array of opportunities. The best way to create such a track record is to create your own job, rather than waiting for someone else to give it to you. And the best way to create a successful business is to start early, fail often, and learn hard, valuable lessons from each trial.
The “Everybody Must Go to College” Meme is for Losers
Only between 15% and 20% of young people are suited for a rigorous four year college degree — such as the type that opens the door to mid-level and higher level careers. Among African youth, only around 5% are qualified for such degrees. Clearly they need viable and profitable alternatives — and getting work and business experience at an early age is probably the best bet for most.
Few things are more discouraging to a young adult than to be a recent college dropout with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt — and no experience at working, solving practical problems, or managing a business.
Failure is a Normal Part of Life
Dangerous Children learn to bounce back from failure, with a hat-full of possibilities to try next. Remember: Dangerous Children master at least three means to financial and personal independence by the age of 18 years. When they try something and fail, they are not going to be desperately broke or deeply in debt. They are likely to build appreciable savings by the age of 14 or 16, and be able to pay for a college education outright — either online or via bricks and mortar campus — by age 18, if that is their wish.
Credentials can, after all, be useful to someone who has experience, savings, and an independent spirit. Such persons will be best equipped to make the most use of the credential.
The fear of failure is just another variety of fear. Dangerous Children must learn to confront and neutralise their fears as early as possible. It should become habitual to face down fear so as not to become stuck.