The Ugly Truth About
Financial Education


William Treseder recently posted an article on Medium titled:One Man Created the Education System Holding You Back

I don’t know William personally. But I wish I did, because what he wrote was pretty badass. He articulated the state of the American education system more succinctly than I ever could.

“The shifting demands of the economy threaten us all for one big scary reason. The habits we pick up in school no longer create economic value. In fact, we may actually be learning to destroy value!”

William then goes on to say:

“Education isn’t really about learning! More specifically, it isn’t about learning how to learn. It’s about learning how to conform. Predictability is the ultimate goal.

I would suggest you read his article before you continue. It’s a great read; it’s pretty accurate, and it’ll give you some contextual “color” for the rest of this page.

Go. I’ll wait. Promise.



Okay, you back?

There is shit hidden under the carpet — never spoken about out in the open (for a good reason) — and I’m going to expose you to some of that now.

Applied Knowledge is the most powerful force on earth.

That is why the control of knowledge is essential to the control of power.

Money is one form of power. But what is more powerful is financial education.

Before the Civil War in America, it was against the law in many states to teach slaves to read and write.

Without education a slave would always be poor.

Today financial knowledge is more powerful than a gun or the whips and shackles of slavery. The lack of financial education enslaves billions of people in all parts of the world.

Money comes and goes, but if you have the education about how money works, you gain power over it and can begin building wealth.

Have you ever asked yourself the question: Who controls the education system? and who determines what is taught in our schools?

P.B.D. asked, as he looked around the room to all of us.

You can tell by the look on many of our faces, it wasn’t a question that many had thought to ponder or seek an answer to prior to that moment.

What I learned that day troubled me.

History of The American Education System

In 1903, John D. Rockefeller created The General Education Board.

There was much controversy about why he created this organization. 

Some people say he created The General Education Board to improve education. Others say he created it to hijack the educational system of the United States.

Around the same time, another of the Robber Barons, Andrew Carnegie, promoted his Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

It seems both Rockefeller and Carnegie were working to influence the American education agenda, directing what students were taught in school.

The question is: What was their agenda?

According to the Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy most states fail in passing on their efforts to produce financially literate high school graduates.

Just 40 percent of states were given grades that you would want your children to bring home from school: grades A or B.  60 percent of states have grades of C or less, with 44 percent having failing grades of D or F.

What this tells us is that people in this country are not getting the necessary Financial Education that they need to win in the Personal Finance game.

After WWII the United States had the best High School graduation rate in the world. 

Today, the US ranks 38th place out of 71 countries when it comes to math scores and 24th place when it comes to science. 

When it comes to overall literacy, we rank 125th out of 195 countries worldwide. 

Only 46% finish college – and therefore we rank dead last among industrialized nations.

One major problem with our current education system is that it was designed for the Industrial Age – not the 21st century Information Age.

Students are treated like robots being assembled on an assembly line by other robots. All robots learn on a schedule designed by other robots providing unpersonalized information and then is expected to achieve real world results . 

If a robot cannot keep up with the assembly-line curriculum, it’s sent back to the start of the line and labeled retarded, slow, or with a disease created by teachers, a disease called ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder. In reality: extreme boredom.

This is ridiculous. We are not robots.

Then again, are we?

In his Best Selling Book “Second Chance” Robert Kiyosaki shares some very compelling evidence that reveals Carnegie’s, Rockefeller’s and the modern school system’s agenda: to educate poor people into the middle class and create a large pool of middle class workers, consumers and tax payers.

In other words, the purpose of the current education system was never to give the middle class an opportunity to become rich and wealthy.

If it was, then that would be what is taught in schools.

But it isn’t.

Americans are individuals who’s ancestors left their countries of birth for freedom from oppression and for the opportunity of a better life. 

A shot at the American Dream. 

This made the DNA of Americans too strong, too independent, and too ambitious to be subservient to the rich and powerful. 

Those critical of Carnegie and Rockefeller believed that before the rich and powerful—people like Rockefeller and Carnegie—could gain further control over Americans and the wealth of America, the American spirit had to be weakened and Americans made dependent upon the government and corporations for financial support.

What’s the best way to do that? 

You indoctrinate them via the education system.

People suspect Rockefeller wanted to educate the best and brightest young people to be employees and executives, but not entrepreneurs like him. 

The good news is, many colleges and universities are now offering programs for students who want to be entrepreneurs, rather than executives and employees. Slower to change and evolve was the large-scale integration of financial education into all school curriculums.

In the 80’s in America, it was sacrilegious to criticize the education system.

To do so, was like criticizing the church. 

Yet many teachers, most of who had a passion and commitment to teach our children were defecting from the school system in droves.

One of those teacher’s was a man named John Taylor Gatto. 

Gatto spent nearly 30 years as a teacher in the infamously rough New York City public school system. 

He was awarded New York City Teacher of the Year three consecutive years while also being recognized as New York State Teacher of the Year in 1991.

After three decades in the classroom, Gatto realized that the public school system was squashing individualism more than it was educating students and preparing them for the real world. 

To make matters worse, his later research would reveal that this dumbing down was not just by accident, but by design.

Feeling the education system was beyond repair, Gatto could no longer in good conscience be an active participant. Rather than sending his letter of resignation to his superiors in his school district, he sent a copy of “I Quit, I Think” to the Wall Street Journal, where it was published as an op-ed on July 25, 1991.

Gatto dedicated the rest of his life to repairing the damage done by the public education system. He wrote several books on his experience in the classroom.

His book The Underground History of American Education is perhaps the most accurate and damning history of the American education system that has ever been written.

Schools only teach people how to be an employeestay in the middle class, not to think for themselves and remain a spoke in the cog that keeps the consumer machine grinding.

Like a good little robot; unaware of the toll of being plugged into The Matrix. 

And what is that toll?

That The American Middle Class is virtually on Life Support dying a slow death.

I’ll explain why later in this letter and actually share some things you can do to prevent from becoming a statistic in all of this…

But Is Financial Education Even Enough?

According to some experts, it’s not!

Dr. Lewis Mandell is a financial economist with a research specialization in financial literacy and a teaching specialization in investments and valuation at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Here’s what he had to say concerning the need for Financial Education…

“Financial education doesn’t work when it’s only given in advance of when the consumer needs it. It needs to be provided at the right time coupled with hands on coaching, accountability, and a proper game plan in order to overcome the roadblocks that stand in your way.”

Dr. Lewis Mandell
Professor Emeritus Finance and Managerial Economics School of Management University at Buffalo

Dr. Mandell is a highly respected authority figure in the Industry of Personal Finance. 

What he’s basically stating is that you can learn all of the stuff you want…

You can gain all of the knowledge you want…

But until you have immersed yourself in the proper winning environment, which consists of active and involved coaching from someone who’s “been there, done that” that can hold you accountable and provide a proven and effective plan of action, your chances of success are almost non existent!

In School, Mistakes = “Failure”…

In school we are taught that making mistakes means getting a poor grade. In contrast, those that memorize the right answers, are supposedly the smart ones.

P.B.D. believes the opposite is true.

We should not fear making mistakes, instead we should learn from our mistakes.

Those that are the biggest winners in real life are likely those that have failed the most, and have learned from their mistakes.

In school the person that makes the fewest mistakes wins. In real life the person that makes the most mistakes wins.

THEREFORE – find a place you can make the most mistakes and get to it!

Also, schools don’t do a good job in developing people in all four types of Intelligence that make you a human being.

The four intelligences of a human being are: 1.Physical Intelligence: Great athletes are gifted physical learners. Physical intelligence is found in the muscles. Golfers will say “you need to develop muscle memory.” 2.Mental Intelligence: Most people who do well in school are gifted mental learners. Mental intelligence is found in the brain. People will say, “Let me think about it.” 3.Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence is known as the “success” intelligence. That means the higher a person’s emotional intelligence, the better they are at handling life’s challenges. Challenges such as fear, loss, anger, and boredom. Emotional intelligence is located in the stomach… in our gut. 4.Spiritual Intelligence: Spiritual intelligence is found in the heart. Artists, poets, religious leaders, are gifted with spiritual intelligence. 

This all plays into the success / failure discussion.

Those that have the most success in life usually have more failures than others, and therefore have a higher Emotional Intelligence. Unfortunately, most people are not in an environment where they can fully develop their Emotional Intelligence. 

In his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” Dale Carnegie, the renowned 20th-century author, notes that human beings are creatures of emotion rather than logic.

According to Carnegie, even though we tend to assume that we are rational beings our emotions influence most of our decisions. Success in most aspects of life is therefore dependent upon our ability to balance the emotional and logical appeal.

A 2006 study by Accenture agrees with Carnegie by concluding that emotional intelligence (EQ) beats intelligence quotient (IQ) as a determinant of career success.

The research shows that individuals who have a high interpersonal competence and are self and socially aware tend to perform better career-wise than those with high intelligence.

The same case applies to financial success.

According to a 1970 study conducted by the Carnegie Institute of Technology, 85% percent of financial success is as a result of EQ, Physical Intelligence (PQ) and Spiritual Intelligence (SQ). It shows that only 15% is as a result of IQ.

Typical schools focus on Mental Intelligence only, and for a few individuals on Physical Intelligence as well.

Very few do much to encourage Emotional Intelligence or Financial Intelligence.

Two of the most important areas for people to grow in on order to succeed in life. 

This is definitely a reason for concern. 

But this is just the tip of the iceberg that is burdening the middle class.

If you’re like me, this next part might make you angry.

Very angry. I hope it does.

Let’s take a look…