Ep 202: Money Mindset For Self-Starting Teens

Erik Huberman, author of The Hawke Method,  joins us to talk about how we can empower teens to be self starters. Plus, how teens can pick a career path and think critically about what they spend their money on.

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Full show notes

We hope to prepare our kids for all of life’s challenges: staying healthy, maintaining relationships, and of course, managing money! The last thing we want is for our adult children to run home to us, bankrupt and ready to live in our basement. We hope that they’ll make wise financial decisions, fund their own lives and maybe even have enough to start families of their own someday!

But money management isn’t something that's typically taught in schools…and there’s no script for how parents should teach it either! Parents have bickered for ages about the best way to set kids up for financial success. Should kids be getting allowances, credit cards and bank accounts? Is it wise for them to get a job while they’re still in school, or should they simply focus on their education?

To give us some perspective from the other side, we’re talking to Erik Huberman, successful entrepreneur and author of The Hawke Method: The Three Principles of Marketing that Made Over 3,000 Brands Soar. Erik is the CEO and founder of Hawke Media, a marketing agency that has worked with over 3,000 different brands! He’s here to share some brilliant ideas about how we can teach young folks the ins and outs of financial responsibility.

In our interview, we’re debating whether or not teens should follow their passion or pick a more responsible path. We’re also discussing how we can prepare kids for the brutal financial realities of life, and why we need to encourage teens’ to think critically about social media marketing.

Helping Teens Find Their Calling

So your teen wants to be an artist…or an actor, or a professional soccer player, or a movie director. And you’re wondering…should I encourage them to chase their wildest dreams or pick a safer avenue? In Erik’s eyes, the solution is somewhere in the middle. Humans spend the majority of their waking hours working, he says, so trying to force our kids to spend all of that time doing something they hate isn’t exactly sustainable.

In his eyes, we should stop using the word “passion”, as it's too nondescript. Instead, we should encourage teens to pursue something that brings them energy, something they’re good at and willing to work hard at! Instead of a passion, he refers to this as a “calling”. Lots of kids love the idea of being a rock star, but rarely actually feel motivated to sit down to play the guitar. Even though music might be their dream, they’ll find themselves becoming mediocre players. And if this is all they’ve got careerwise, Erik warns they might find themselves stuck in a bad spot.

Erik explains that he loves to ski, but he doesn’t think he should become a professional skier. Only a select few skiers are good enough to truly make a living skiing, and there are other things he can do–things that make him excited and enthused to go to work in the morning. He suggests that kids go for the safer, more reliable route, so that they’ll have something to fall back on and not get stuck. This doesn’t mean they should do something they hate, however. They can still find something they’re good at and bring in some income, he assures.

No matter what they choose to do with their lives, teens are going to be up against a lot of challenges in the adult world. Erik and I are discussing how we can start preparing kids now so they’ll stay afloat when grown-up obstacles come their way.

Raising Self Starters

To equip kids with tough skin they’ll need to handle adulthood, we’ve got to empower them in a healthy way, says Erik. Giving kids the confidence to take on the world doesn’t come from flattering them at every corner and giving them empty compliments, he explains. Instead, we’ve got to help teens realize that they have the ability to tackle their problems –if they work hard and find creative solutions, that is.

Erik believes that one of the biggest issues with today’s society is that we don’t encourage kids to solve their own challenges. Too often, we fix their issues for them before they have the chance to figure out their own solutions, says Erik. He suggests that we prompt kids to pay for their own movie tickets, or encourage them to bring their concerns up to teachers without our help. It might seem small, but solving these lighter problems will prepare teens to take on bigger problems in the future. 

In the episode, Erik dives deep into his own childhood growing up with an entrepreneur for a father–and how this shaped him into the smart businessman he is today. When, at the age of eight, he asked his father for a guitar, his father told him to go get a job and pay for it himself! So Erik took the few bucks he made in weekly allowance and turned it into a business reselling beanie babies and made more than four thousand dollars! This encouragement from his dad pushed him to build something for himself–and we can do the same with our kids.

Good money management is about more than just making money–it’s about spending money too! We’re also discussing how you can help your teen become a more educated consumer.

Creating Smart Consumers

When kids see their favorite internet influencers promoting sneakers or skincare, they suddenly have to have this sparkly new object. They beg you for a bump in allowance so that they can purchase these shiny, trendy (likely overpriced) goods! Kids are remarkably impressionable, and advertisers know that if they market to kids, they’ll likely see some engagement, says Erik. Plus, now that every teen has an iphone loaded with Tik Tok and Instagram sitting in their pockets, it’s easier than ever to reach them.

Erik recommends that we try to have conversations with our kids about consumerism while they’re still under our roofs. Prompting teens to think critically about the advertisements gracing their screens can help them see behind the marketing smoke and mirrors. Marketers are trying to hit the reptilian part of teens brains–the part that craves the satisfying dopamine hit that comes with hitting “complete purchase.” Helping teens see that they’re being manipulated can help them make smarter choices as consumers.

It’s not bad for teens to spend a little money on something that brings them joy, but it’s important that they think critically about what they’re buying too. Erik suggests that you encourage your teen to think about the functionality of each purchase before they make it. Sure, their favorite make-up influencer says they need to buy a new eyeshadow palette…but they already have six at home they barely use! With parental input, kids might realize that their extra cash might look a lot better in a savings account.

In the Episode….

Erik has so much advice about finding financial success, drawn from his own entrepreneurial experiences! On top of the topics discussed above, we also talk about:
  • How Erik built his own company from the ground up
  • Why young adults should experience being “broke”
  • How tobacco is marketed to kids
  • Why teens need to fail before they thrive
If you enjoyed listening, check out Erik on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook at @erikhuberman. Don’t forget to share and subscribe and we’ll see you next week.

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Creators and Guests

Andy Earle
Andy Earle
Host of the Talking to Teens Podcast and founder of Write It Great
Erik Huberman
Erik Huberman
Founder & CEO @HawkeMedia 📕 #HawkeMethod 🤝 #HawkeVentures 💵 #HawkeCapital 🎙 #HawkeTalk 🎉 #HawkeFest 🎟#EcomWeekLA https://t.co/509GVrN046 .
Ep 202: Money Mindset For Self-Starting Teens
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