27/02/2024

Care Health

Prioritize Healthy life

How to Prepare Your Kids for Wealth & Financial Literacy With Scott Donnell

How to Prepare Your Kids for Wealth & Financial Literacy With Scott Donnell

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Katie: Hello and welcome to the Wellness Mama podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com, and this episode talks about a different aspect of wellness than I normally cover, which is financial health and financial literacy and how to prepare your kids for wealth and a healthy financial future. And I’m really excited about this episode. I feel like this is a topic I haven’t gotten to talk about very much, and one that’s very important to families because we know that financial stress is a big source of relationship stress and stress for kids as well.

I’m here with Scott Donnell, who’s the best-selling author of a book called Value Creation Kid: The Healthy Struggles Your Children Need to Succeed. And they have helped over 6 million families. He’s the leading voice in helping parents teach their kids good money skills. He also is the host of the Smart Money Parenting podcast.

And he’s working on launching an app that I have gotten to be involved with called GravyStack, which is the world’s first bank account for kids and teens. And it plays like a game, but teaches kids valuable financial skills and also helps simplify family financial culture. And we talk about how it does that in this episode.

We talk about understanding financial literacy and teaching our kids this from a young age, passing on a generational legacy to kids including what he says—I love—“kids need heritage, not inheritance,” steps for building financial literacy with our kids and preparing them for wealth at a young age, the three E’s he defines in this topic. We talk about the GravyStack app. We talk about the things that differentiate families that create generational wealth, the mindset keys to raising kids who are value creators, the common pitfalls around parenting in this area and how to avoid them, how we might be passing on money trauma to our kids without even realizing it, the number one thing he learned from legacy families, the four stages of earning, which are earning, asset appreciation, community gigs, and service or product businesses, and how to teach your kids that, his thoughts on college and higher education and why skills beat degrees, how 56% of college students get the debt, but not the degree, and why less than one in four 22-year-olds are financially independent, along with much more.

It’s a very far-ranging episode about the topic of financial literacy and specifically how to help our kids have these foundational skills from a young age in a way that reduces stress on the family level and not increases it. I very much enjoyed this conversation and I think you will as well. So let’s join Scott Donnell. Scott, welcome. Thanks for being here.

Scott: It’s so good to be here, Katie. Thanks for having me.

Katie: Well, I’m deeply excited for this topic today. I think it’s relevant to every parent listening and to their children, and I think it’s one of those things that can help shift society and culture, and we’re going to get to go deep on a lot of that today. Before we jump in, though, I have from your bio a note that you have come face to face with both a shark and a bear in the wild. And I want to hear this story because I’m an avid scuba diver, and I have come face to face with sharks before, and I believe most of them are actually quite nice and safe and don’t need the fear that we ascribe to them, but bears seem like a different story. So tell me what happened with those.

Scott: Oh yeah, I don’t… I also got peed on by a Siberian tiger. I don’t do well with wildlife. I’ve had like the worst luck when it comes to animals, especially crazy animals. So I, yeah, I don’t know. I love the water as well. Our family’s always, I grew up on the ocean. We love the lake. We love surfing. And a couple of times when I’ve been surfing, there’s been tiger sharks around. And actually someone got bit right next to me. And a 13 foot tiger shark was about three feet from me and it was terrifying. And then… Next time I went out, this was in Hawaii. Both were in Hawaii. We went surfing, and then right after we got off the wave, another tiger shark came and attacked another surfer and bit like literally their board. There’s a huge like bite mark out of their board. And the person that was like right after us is actually a cage fighter. He was a young, like 28-year-old cage fighter, and he punched the shark in the eyes and literally like fended off the shark and was like saved, didn’t actually get hurt or anything. It was a crazy, crazy story.

So had some run-ins with sharks and then a bear we were actually hunting up in Canada and I didn’t have a gun with me. That’s a terrible idea to go hunting, but we were helping one of our best friends’ sons go hunting and I ended up, I was the guy with the binoculars tracking. And all of a sudden this huge male black bear came right out of the woods about seven feet in front of me and came up on all his back legs about nine feet off the ground. Just crazy. And I’m sitting there with like a little pocket knife. And so I… You know, that’s where your life flashes before your eyes. And I ended up standing up on a boulder, like a three foot boulder right next to me, so I was eye level with him. And I just ended up talking him down. Said, you’re not going to eat me today. You don’t want any of this. Bear, not right now. In fact, I think you’ll know how good you are at sales when you come face to face with death and you have to talk down a black bear from eating you. But he ended up not eating me. He walked away. Unscathed, but yeah, so those are some of my crazy animal stories.

Katie: Those are wild stories. I’m a little jealous of however you were interacting with a Siberian tiger because it is on my life list that I want to hug an adult tiger at some point. I have not done that yet, but I think that would be amazing. I’ve always been fascinated by the big cat. So very cool life stories. Not what we’re actually going to go deep on today, though I feel like we could probably talk about life experiences for a whole hour and have a wide ranging conversation.

But you are widely known as the guy who’s teaching financial literacy and wealth creation to families and to kids. And I feel like while often on this podcast, we stick to physical health and wellness, I feel like this is actually a very relevant part of the wellness conversation even because we know that financial problems are a huge cause of stress for a lot of people. They’re a huge cause of marital problems for a lot of people. And this is a big topic that I feel like is not talked about and especially not talked about in relation to children and how to actually raise them with the best foundational habits for that. It seems like many of the people I talked to, even in the entrepreneur world, these were things that we all learned as adults, often by trial and error and often the hard way.

But it seems like there are probably some really core foundational things we can do with our kids from a very young age that can help them have a much shorter learning curve there. And this is of course your area of expertise. So to start broad, first of all, maybe walk us through how you got into that and then maybe what are some of these core first principles when it comes to teaching financial literacy to kids.

Scott: Yeah, yeah, thanks for that intro. I think financial health is really a core piece of overall health. You know, if you’re struggling financially or if you have a mindset that keeps you in these poverty cycles, it’s very difficult to get the rest of your health in order. It affects mental health, physical health, spiritual health. It is a big one. And so yeah, financial health is something I’ve been deeply passionate about, especially when it comes to passing on generational legacy for kids. Um, my first company, I helped my wife, Amy, my sweet Amy, she was a first grade teacher. She spent her whole first paycheck on her students, making $38,000 salary a year. And I was like, what are you doing? And she’s like, that’s what we all do. Teachers, they’re angels. They do this. And supplies and books and stuff for the classroom. And I said, all right, we got to solve that right now.

So I started a company called Apex, Apex Leadership Co. And we started raising money for schools. We would put on fun runs, you know, where kids are running laps and obstacle courses and dance marathons. And we would teach leadership and fitness and money skills for like two weeks in the school leading up to the big event. And my wife’s school ended up raising $50,000. It was like three times as much money as I’d ever raised before. And we knew we had an incredible business. And so we ended up growing that company to 600 employees and millions and millions of families and schools around the country that we’d serve every year. And it’s still thriving today. It’s the number one school fundraiser in America. And so I love that.

And what I saw in schools was something that kind of frightened me. You know, we taught them leadership and fitness and character, but what I was seeing in schools is why aren’t kids learning the practical skills to succeed? Good money skills, right? The principles of save, invest, spend, share, earn. Critical thinking, you know? How did geometry help with taxes? You know, how does trigonometry help with a monthly budget, right? And so I’m like, what is going on? Like, they’re going super complex and hypothetical and all this homework, but they need to learn the practical skills to succeed. And so that got my mind going on this.

And so the first thing we started doing was these children’s business fairs. My mentor, Jeff Sandefer in Austin, Texas, started putting up in this backyard, having the local kids come and have a table and they bring in customers and buy their products from them. Great fun way for kids to learn some practical business skills. So I ended up expanding that and helping them grow. And now there’s 1500 of these fairs all over the world, just free things where kids can come, sell their products safely at a fair. And just, they learn the core principles of business, and they make like $300 in three hours. It’s awesome, the average kid. And then it’s such a confidence builder.

And so that really started leading and I started speaking to kids and training and talking to families. I’ve talked to hundreds of thousands of families now on this specific topic. How do you prepare your kids for wealth? And in the process, we started finding these incredible families. We call them legacy wealth families and it took us thousands of families to get to our core hundred, and those core hundred families had incredible kids. They didn’t pass on millions of dollars and spoil them and entitle them and give them everything they wanted. They raised great kids like passionate, gifted, kind, generous, but they’re also value creators. They know how to earn. They know how to impact, solve problems. And they were ready for success. And we’re like, how did you do this? Because, you know, the stats are crazy.

Like 92% of all generational money is gone by the grandkids. I don’t know if you know that, Katie. That’s, it’s kind of scary. You know, you have this idea of like shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations. And what we realized was, whoa, whoa, whoa, these hundred families are doing the same things with their kids and nobody else is doing it. Nobody else is doing it. And so I wrote a book with my friend Lee Benson called Value Creation Kid and we launched it in March, end of March, and it’s a best seller now. And parents are gobbling it up. They’re like, oh my goodness, this is the roadmap, how to teach your kids to create value in the world and thrive and get out of the victim mindset get out of the laziness mindset the anxiety entitlement spoiling—this is the antidote to all of that.

And so the book and now we built an app which is the first bank for kids that plays like a game it’s called GravyStack which is how you and I connected. GravyStack, we’ve been building it for two and a half years. It’s the first app that really breaks generational poverty. It’s fun games that kids play with a bank account to learn the core principles of money and the right mindsets and how to earn, how to invest, how to share, how to spend and save, how to protect themselves safely online, borrowing and what borrowing means and how to do it right and not do it wrong, how to create value in the world. So that’s what GravyStack is. It’s for kids ages six and up. And so now we’re just launching this out to the world. We just got going like a couple of weeks ago out to the market. And so we’ve got the book, we’ve got the app and we’re trying to get the whole world to know there are some really simple core ways that you can raise your kids to prepare them for wealth and not spoil them, not entitle them, not give them a negative view of money. And that’s what we’re doing.

Katie: Yeah, like you said, that’s how we connected. And I’m very excited for this app because it lines up so much with the kind of core ethos and first principles of how I’ve raised my kids since the beginning. It just simplifies the whole process. And I believe you and I have had this conversation before and perhaps some of the listeners have heard this, but this is actually a large part of the reason why I decided to homeschool my kids is because when they were entering school age, I started looking at what best prepares them for adult life. And to answer that question, you have to look at, well, what are they likely to do in adult life? And the answer in today’s world is very varied and that might not even exist yet, whatever they end up doing. Just like blogging didn’t exist when I was a kindergartner, you know?

And so working backwards, I was like, what are the first principles that actually prepare them best for whatever adult life they’re going to encounter? And then building on that, what existing system best helps nurture those skills? And what I realized was there wasn’t a system out there that did it the way I wanted. There was the school system and then there were homeschool curriculums that looked a lot like the school system. But those things weren’t prioritizing critical thinking or creativity or rapid learning. I think learning quickly and being able to adapt is one of the biggest skills in today’s world. And those just weren’t prioritized in the systems I found. So I sort of built it from the ground up.

And as they got older, one of the things I built into that was the agreement with them that before they could have a phone or a car, they had to have a profitable business. And that’s been one of the most fun things with them. And it’s, I’ve realized you learn so many hands-on relevant life skills through running a business through failing the first couple of times. You learn risk tolerance and you learn that failure isn’t fatal and you learn attention to detail and consistency and money management. And I feel like that’s what you guys have done is help make this applicable even to parents who maybe don’t have the time to one-on-one manage that as much as they would like to.

Scott: That’s right. Yeah, I mean. Here’s one of the biggest things in the app that we use. It’s called the Home Economy System. So you download GravyStack, it’s on iOS, Android and Tablet. And you get going, you set up the account, you can connect any parent bank account to it, right? And the kids get going. And by the way, it’s like seven bucks a month, okay? And in the first month, the average kid is saving their parents $547. Literally like profit. They’re saving their parents all this money from the games inside of the bank. So they’re doing like subscription hunts and couponing and they’re learning their money motto and they’re doing emergency expense water balloon fights with hyenas to learn all these critical practical skills.

But the biggest thing these legacy families do, and you guys are one of them, is they help their kids create value around the house to start. And so this home economy system is the replacement to allowance for us, okay? None of these 100 families did allowance, by the way. Allowances, if you just give your kids free money, they’re never going to learn how to spend it or save it or invest it wisely. They’re using your money. That’s basically socialism, right? But if you can have your kids earn and then make decisions with their expenses, it’s a whole nother ball game. That’s how these families did it, these legacy families. And so what we built inside the app was this automated gig system at home where you set it once and now your kids forever know exactly how to earn, how to cover their expenses, and they know what’s expected of them at home and it turns into a game.

And so it solves all of the nagging and the conflict around chores and the kids, like, you know, delaying or arguing, no more bribery or trying to buy their love or coercing them. This system fixes it and prepares them for the real world. And so the home economy system has three E’s, okay? Number one, expectations. Setting the expectations at home of exactly what they need to do. And these are not paid. These are like, hey, make in your bed, clean your room, brush your teeth, do well in school, dishes and trash. Like, those are part of your role in this family, part of your rent, if you will. So you set those core expectations.

And then the second E is expenses. If you can start passing off expenses to your kids, starting at ages like six to eight even. Start passing off critical expenses to your kids like toys, in-app stuff, technology, social outings with friends, birthday presents for friends’ parties. That’s a huge one that these families love to do. Any of those even clothes like basic day-to-day expenses that they can start covering on their own with their own money.

Now you’ve set yourself up for the third E, which is extra pay. Gigs around the house that they can get paid to earn, on top of the free stuff that they’re expected to do. And so we have in the app 55 types of home gigs that kids can accomplish for a few bucks. And now if you’re passing off expenses to your kids, you just saved yourself hundreds of dollars a month. Okay. Even if you give them a few expenses.

And now they’re learning trade-offs. They’re learning budgeting. They’re learning delayed gratification, personal responsibility. They’re learning how to earn. This is the best way to set it up in the home. Expectations, expenses, and extra pay. And in the app, they automatically reset. Daily, weekly, monthly, or one-offs. Parents set it up and forget it. And they can print it out, throw it on the fridge. Every week we give you a new printout to throw out there. And your kids are literally knowing exactly where to go to earn money around the house to cover their expenses that they’re in charge of. No more kids asking parents for anything. That’s the beauty of this. How many times do parents feel guilty because their kids are always asking them for stuff or money or this or that? You want to try to move the agency of power onto your kids. It’s their responsibility now.

And when your kid, imagine your kid coming up to you and saying, Mom, I did these four things today on the gigs list and it equals $23. And they already clicked it off in the app and it’s ready for their automatic payday that goes right into their money machine, which is automatically part of it saved in their savings account. Automatically part of it goes into their sharing account, whatever they choose, you decide what percentages. And then the rest goes into their spend jar and their debit card to cover their expenses. So imagine your 10 year old coming to you and saying, Mom, I’ve got this trip, I want to go to the movies with my friends, I’ve done the four gigs required, it’s right in here, just wanted to let you know what I did instead of, Mom, I need 20 bucks. See the difference? You just prepared that kid for life. You prepared that kid for the real world. Like this is what these legacy families all do. It’s just really hard because you’ve got to have a white, usually people get a whiteboard out and a bunch of checklists and stickers, tickets, points systems, jars of like, you know, sunshine balls, they do all these things, right?

We just made it automated and simple. So it’s just as easy as allowance without the spoiling and it’s way more powerful for kids. Now they know how to earn and make and manage money. So that’s the critical piece in the app that we did.

Katie: I love it because it brings to the financial world something that’s been a core tenant for me in all areas of parenting in some degree, which is that I won’t do anything for them that they’re capable of doing themselves because I feel like that’s an insult to their autonomy and how capable they are. And so that means at a young age, they’re learning things like how to do their own laundry and how to clean their own room and how to even cook some of their own meals because they’re capable of that. And I feel like the hardest place to do that has been in the past with money because there were so much red tape with them having their own bank accounts or them having their own debit cards. It was always a huge hurdle to get over. And so actually to put them in charge of managing their own money was difficult and that you guys have vastly simplified that process, which makes it, like you said, a time saver for parents instead of one more thing that’s on the to-do list that parents have to manage and do themselves every day.

Scott: That’s right. And there are a bunch. So here’s the difference. There’s a lot of debit cards for kids out there. I mean Greenlight and Step and Copper and Chase Bank has a kids account now. But kids only learn through fun and real life experience. Trust me, I’ve worked with 6 million families. The only way to move the needle with a kid, have it be really fun, which makes it intrinsically motivating, and have it be practical and real-world experience, then it sticks for life. If you mix those two things together, it’s a powerful combo.

This is why the home-schooled and charter model and, you know, the Socratic project-based learning is so powerful because kids only learn through fun and real-life experience, not more homework that’s just regurgitated and then in one ear and out the other. So we took that idea and we brought it right into the banking world. No other bank account in the world, especially the ones for kids, do this. No kids even log in. I mean, Greenlight’s probably the best example. Like, they have six million families. Less than 5% of those kids have ever logged in. All they do is ask Mom and Dad to put more money on their debit card. How much is on my card? How much is on my card?

What you need to do is get your kids to be self-motivated, intrinsically motivated, how to earn, how to add funds, how to immediately invest, save, spend and share, which is our money machine, and then have it be fun for them to start playing games and get these reps of real life challenges and practical experiences so that they learn it. That’s the difference of GravyStack versus everybody else. You know, we’re getting families in droves coming from all the other ones because they’re like, yeah, my kid just had a debit card. I thought that would fix it. No, that doesn’t fix it. That they’re just going to ask you to put more money on it and they’re just going to spend it easier than if you gave them cash as an allowance. So no, it actually gets worse if you just give them a debit card. What you need to do is give them a system, right? It’s a transformation in the family that you want to see, not just fixing the cash in a piggy bank problem, right?

Katie: Yeah, I think that is so valuable and I love that you guys focus on helping them become value creators because again, this is a thing I’ve always done with my kids that you guys have greatly simplified, which is that I never thought it made sense for them to get paid for just being part of the family and doing the things that they would do as part of the family. That was like, I don’t get paid for making dinner, they don’t get paid for doing their own laundry, etc. But as I explained to them in the business world, you create value, you create money when you help solve a problem, when you help someone else, when you find a problem and fix it. And so there was always kind of like a running list on an actual piece of paper that was like, these are things that have popped up around the house that are now problems that need to be fixed or extra work that needs to be done that I would have to hire someone to do. And if you can solve those problems, those are now worth money because you’ve fixed a problem. And so we had always kind of done that.

But like what you guys have done has made that process effortless and saved me time and even creating that list. And so I love that for families. And like you said, this is building most importantly, not even just those skills, but the mindset around those skills, which is, I think, where the real magic happens with wealth creation, because I love the Naval Ravikant saying that wealth is a skill. It’s something that can absolutely be taught. I feel like many kids grow up thinking it’s a matter of luck or a matter of getting a high paying job. And I love that you guys take it actually down to its core principles of no, it’s actually a skill. And here’s the parts of that skill.

Scott: That’s right. I mean, value creation is the core piece, right? Our book right here, Value Creation Kid: The Healthy Struggles Your Children Need to Succeed. That’s the point. When kids go through healthy struggles, chores, learning a new skill, going through a tough thing in sports or school, these are healthy struggles, right? And a parent’s job is to be able to coach, to guide, to encourage, to lift them up, but not baby them, not protect them, not coddle.

Like your job is you want them to go through as many of these healthy struggle cycles as possible because once they accomplish one struggle and they overcome the healthy struggle, they build a capability, and that capability gives them confidence, and now they’re ready to create value. That’s the cycle. Healthy struggle equals capability, which equals confidence, which equals value creation. That is the point of what we want our kids to do, and the more you do this, the stronger your kids become, okay?

In the book, we have this like quadrants. It’s like, if you are high capability, high confidence, you are a value creation kid, all right? But if you are, let’s say you have high confidence, but no capability. That’s an entitled kid. That’s a kid who deserves that they should get special treatment. They think that they deserve more than they’ve earned. They deserve to be at the front of the line. Everyone should cater to them.

Now on the flip side, if you are high capability but low confidence, you’re anxious. That’s a self-doubting kid. So many teenage girls fall into this. And it breaks my heart. These incredibly strong, smart, gifted, capable girls. They get terrified about what everyone else is going to think. They don’t think that they’re worth anything. They have identity issues and they’re like, I don’t have anything to give. And that’s where all the mental health issues come from, is they don’t have that self-confidence of their capabilities to create value.

So, and then if you’re neither, by the way, it’s the worst. If you have no capability or confidence, you’re a victim. You’re a lazy victim and nothing’s worse than a kid who grows up to be an adult that’s lazy that blames everybody else for their problems. Right?

So what we want people to do is start creating value, going through these healthy struggles, not trauma. Trauma is not a healthy struggle. You don’t pass on trauma to your kids. You don’t pass on addiction and abuse and neglect and all those kinds of things. That’s not healthy. Healthy struggles are the things that help kids grow capabilities, confidence, and value creation.

And I’ve got to share this real quick, Katie. I just got a text a few minutes ago, right before our interview. It’s from a couple of the parents using GravyStack in the book, the model in the book with their kids. He said his daughter, 10 years old, thanked me. My daughter just thanked me for saving the dirty dishes so she could do them as part of her value creation chores. And then a follow-up text from another dad. Let me tell you the value creation summer is going, how it’s going in our household. My girls used to argue over who has to do the chores in our home, now they argue over who gets to do the chores.

It’s like a mindset shift when this happens with kids because here’s what happens. Kids want freedom. They want responsibility. They want this independence. They want to like be able to make it on their own, and they want that from parents and parents want to give them that trust. And the way to do it is to create value. Like you said, it’s solve problems, find wants and needs of other people and fix it for them and get it to them. That is the mindset of a value creation kid.

And so if you can look around the world and find ways to create value everywhere around you, it’s like the superpower. No more worrying about clicks and bullying and popularity and how you look and what other people are going to think of you. Just start creating value. And that’s not money. Money is not what value means. Money is a store of value, right? When value’s created, money’s a result of material value created. There’s also emotional value and spiritual value. Lifting other people up, encouraging other people, making them feel better, having the right mindsets. That creates incredible value as well. So when a kid thinks this way, it’s the superpower to get them away from all these other issues that can rip them down.

Katie: I love that. And I love that you touched on, you know, we don’t want to pass on trauma to our kids. I actually did, as an aside, a great episode with someone named Mark Wolynn who wrote a book called It Didn’t Start With You. And it’s sort of about un-patterning things that might be like sort of generational habits with your kids. And I think that’s an also totally separate category, but important thing for parents as well.

But I love that you really went into the psychology of this because two things stood out to me in what you just said. The first being that, you know, we know that our kids learn from struggle. We know that they learn from overcoming. I feel like the psychology of this can be really tough for parents because we still have that sort of innate protective desire to want to take care of them and shield them from the hard things.

And I know even in my life, I could look back and say, wow, I can see very clearly that the hardest things in my life helped shape me to the person that I am today. And still, I don’t want to go create hard situations for my kids so that they can like learn from those struggles, and I feel like there’s enough innate things that are difficult in real life that this helps really like embody the lessons of that for them so they can internalize those lessons, feel more capable, get that confidence, but without us having to go out of our way to sort of like battle that psychology of wanting to protect them, but also help them grow at the same time. And I think the other part of the psychology that’s so important about what you just said is that kids respond amazingly when we appreciate how capable they are. And like you said, they want autonomy. They want to feel like they’re actually contributing something of value.

And it doesn’t feel like that when we just make them do chores as if they’re helping us. I make that distinction a lot. Like you’re not helping me because it’s not only my responsibility to do things in this house or to make dinner or to whatever it is. It’s all of our responsibility to co-create this thing in our family. And what you’re contributing is super valuable. And this, I feel like gives them an actual tangible way to see that play out and internalize that psychologically, which kind of touches on that growth mindset, like you just explained. And so it’s, I feel like an easy way to just help them internalize that lesson.

Scott: Yeah, I mean, so many of these legacy families we studied, they didn’t believe in the idea that kids were liabilities. They just said that is BS. Kids are assets. They’re our greatest asset. It’s our greatest way to build legacy. And when you think that way, it’s an abundant mindset, not a scarcity mindset. When you think that way, your kids become assets in the home. They become valuable contributors. You find ways—and this is the home economy system’s a great way to do it—they become assets in the home. They’re doing incredible things, learning incredible skills to help the family. It makes parents’ lives so much more fun and free and easier when kids are like doing the things in the house that parents have always dreamed of their kids doing. That’s a powerful thing.

And I think when it comes to this raising-kids issue. Parents come from a good place when they want to protect their kids, okay? So I’ve heard a lot of parents say this, they go, I just want to give my kid all the things I never had growing up. I want to give them all the opportunities I never had. I want to keep them from having to deal with all the issues I had growing up. Well, of course you don’t pass on trauma, but what do you think made you who you are today? It was a lot of those things that you went through: healthy struggles that built you into who you are today. And I don’t think parents realize the money trauma that they pass on, by the way. We did a survey on a thousand families and we asked them, how well are your kids prepared for wealth? Parents, 100% of them, I don’t actually have a roadmap. I don’t know the plan. I was hoping school was going to teach some of this stuff, but it didn’t. Banks don’t care about kids because they don’t have deposits and no one trains us on this. So the parents were like, we need help. We don’t know what to do when, and I don’t even know if my kids are going to listen half the time. So what we need is a third party to make it fun for them and give us a roadmap. GravyStack, right?

The kids were the most interesting answer I got from this whole survey. Guess what the kids said when we asked them. They said we don’t want to talk about money. But overwhelmingly, and these were like wealthy families and poor families alike. They said, money’s the biggest fight in our home, when we got down to it. You know, intimacy issues and money issues are like the two biggest conflict pieces for any family. Well, kids never hear about the intimacy stuff. That’s in the bedroom. That’s private. But they hear about the money stuff all day, every day. Do you know how much that cost? Do you know how hard I worked to get you that? Do you money doesn’t grow on trees? Like you just wasted this and it was this much. Like do you have any idea? You know, or they argue about bills who forgot to pay this. Who like, they just, kids hear it all the time. We can’t afford that.

So what it does is it makes kids go, forget it. I don’t want to have more fight and conflict. I’m just going to—I’ll just bide my time until I’m out on my own, and I’m going to figure out how, you know. I’ve got my food, shelter, clothing covered here. I’m just going to play video games and sports and hang out with my friends, we’ll deal with money later. And so really it comes to parents. The responsibility is on the parents to have these conversations at home with their kids.

One of the biggest things we do in GravyStack is the parent training. We have a whole parent elite program in there to help parents learn how to have these money comvos, learn how to prepare their kids for wealth, to go over the 10 skills and to learn their kids the 10 money skills. And so much of it is freeing up the family, getting rid of the gunk when it comes to money, helping kids have the right mindset for money and have the value creation mindset. And it really does free the parents. This is what prepares for legacy.

Because there’s two sides of it. Either you grow up thinking money’s evil, or you grow up entitled and spoiled. That’s like the two sides that you fall off of this bridge. And you kind of have to walk this narrow line of like, no, no, no, money’s not evil. Money is just a tool. Money is a store of value. And if you think about creating value for other people, money follows. And so what they do is they just focus on that line with their kids. And it’s so much more powerful than any other way of doing it.

Katie: I love that. I feel like that could be its own whole series of podcasts is kind of dissecting the money conversations that we silently pass on to our kids without realizing it through those comments. I know I have many examples in my life of things I un-patterned as an adult that I internalized as a kid related to that and the times that money felt very hard or confusing or stressful or even once money wasn’t as much of an issue because it was tight, it was like I had all these weird feelings come up related to money itself and those were all things I un-patterned and have tried to be as aware as possible of the conversations around with my kids. Because to your point, I think the mindset around that is just as important, if not more so, as the actual skills because that seems to be the commonality when you look at these families as well.

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And I love that you also brought up that mentality of wanting to give our kids what we didn’t have. I look at it or try to shift that focus to I want to help my kids build the skills I didn’t have at a younger age or help my facilitate the experiences I didn’t get to have until I was older. So even in small ways, we focus on experiences instead of gifts for most birthdays and holidays, things we can do together, things that might even be difficult like a ropes course or a zip lining or something to kind of create the memories and also give them something challenging to overcome instead of a material thing. And then they get to earn to buy the things they want and kind of that mentality of we give them everything they need, but certainly not even close to everything they want.

Scott: Yeah, you just hit on a button that I think is going to blow your listener’s minds right now. We are doing our first Family Legacy Workshop in a couple of months. And the lineups are, it’s growing fast because everyone’s like, what are these main 10 lessons? How do we operationalize this in the home? So I’m going to put on a workshop, bring in some of my buddies that are like world-class at teaching this stuff. And we’re going to make an incredible workshop for people. So they can just go to Family Legacy Workshop if they want to dive in and do like a two-day with us.

But here’s the number one thing that these legacy families taught me. You ready? And it’s based on what you just said. Kids need heritage, not inheritance. That is a mindblower for so many people, because here’s what happens. Most parents say, I’ll do well as a mom or a dad or a grandma or a grandpa if I can leave enough money for the kids and grandkids, right? But it’s way more about what you leave in them than to them. That is the critical thing to understand.

Most of these legacy families, I mean, we’re talking about net worth of a million, all the way up to $15 billion families. They did not pass on the money. They created charitable trusts. They did experiences with their kids. They focused way more on doing things with their kids than for their kids. Like how many times do you hear this, parents go, I work so hard for the family. I’m doing this for you. I’m working hard to make money for you. I’ve got you into the best camps and schools and sports teams for you. It’s way more about what’s done with them, right? The life lessons learned with the kids, the experiences with the kids. You need to clock time. Like your mark of success as a parent should be clocking time with them. That is really what matters at the end of the day. So heritage over inheritance is the key. Like what does it mean to have your last name? Make it mean something with your kids, right? Like, tell stories of what’s important in your family. Right, like I train on this in these workshops.

What are your mission, what are your values, your mission, your vision as a family? What does it mean to have your last name? Have these core stories and really it means nothing to have like a couple paragraphs up on the wall. That means nothing. What matters is something that’s like memorable for your kids that lasts, that they can remember and say every day. And then you just promote each piece with story after story after story, because kids and adults, everybody connects to stories, principled stories, rather than some like paragraph on the wall of what it means to be a Donnell, right?

So like heritage, my family, I got four little kids. Faith, family, and FISH. My kids say it every day: faith, family, and FISH. And FISH stands for fun and adventurous, integrity, service or value creation, and then hard work. Faith, family, FISH. My three-year-old says it every day. And then we tell stories of each of those to our kids. We praise them and we celebrate together whenever they’re practicing any of those six things. That’s heritage. Right? We’re here at the lake this month, like shared family experiences, we’re working on certain skills together, we’re having a ton of fun, and we’re building memories for life.

That is where, and by the way, my parents are here, my grandparents are here, we have an incredible family legacy that’s been built off of these principles. I come from a generational legacy family, and we’ve done probably 70% of the things really well on our list, but we’re learning way more by getting with these other hundred families to learn this stuff. So that’s what I wanted to pass on to your audience. It’s heritage over inheritance is the key.

Katie: I love that. And there’s so many directions we could go even within that as a subtopic. Similarly to you, we do actually have a culture wall, but it’s the impetus for having those conversations in our house. And we bring up those things, I believe firmly that one of the things kids need most, like you said, is the time and to know without a shadow of a doubt that they are loved unconditionally. And I make sure to say there’s nothing you can ever do that will diminish that. And there’s nothing you could ever do to earn an increase in that because it’s already unconditional. I feel like I didn’t internalize the, you don’t have to earn it piece early enough. So I want to make sure they get that message.

But then with our culture wall, we talk a lot about gratitude. We say you were made to do hard things. We talk about problem solving. And at the end of the day, I’ll often ask them three things you’re grateful for today, three problems you solved today, three things that were hard today. And then we talk about those and they lead to great conversations. And I feel like that helps like to your point, build the story of our family in a way that they’re going to remember and hopefully pass on to their own kids one day if they have kids.

But you also talked about trust. And I think this gets a little bit more granular, but I still want to have this conversation about any other practical tips that families can do as their kids learn these wealth-building skills to build that for the future. So, for instance, we have trust for each of our kids, even though I don’t think you have to actually have a lot of wealth to set those up, these can be really valuable tools from their young age. And also we started with Roth IRAs with our kids when they were very young and they were helping in our businesses. But do you have any tips within that vein that families can research and be aware of that can help build the system even further?

Scott: Yeah, I mean, most of the Family Legacy Workshop is going to be really diving in, and so they can leave basically operationalizing all of this right in the home. Like the conversations, so there’s five core money skills, earn, save, spend, share, invest. Those are the core five. All of these families, they went against allowance and they focused on these five with their kids and grandkids.

One of the biggest things I can share with you is the four stages of earning for a kid. There’s four concentric circles of earning because everyone’s like, I want my kid to get a job. I want them to get a good grade so they can go to a good college and get a degree to get the job. Half the jobs in a decade are not even created yet. So what you should focus on with your kids is not what do you want to do when you grow up because they don’t know what they want. They don’t even the average kid doesn’t know more than five jobs anyway. Okay.

What you want to focus on is what lights them up. Not what they want to do when they grow up, what lights you up. So they focus on skills. Practical value creation skills. Okay, let’s take—here’s an example. If it lights up your kids to make somebody feel really good, like if they keep saying this over and over, I helped my friend with this, I said this to my friend, I encouraged them in these ways and they felt really good when I was done and that made me light up. That might be a counselor. Right? That might be a psychologist. That could be a comedian, for goodness sakes. There’s a dozen things that that could be. So focus on what lights them up, skill sets.

And so a lot of these families, they really focus on that more than get the college degree to get the job. Because I don’t believe that in the next 10 years, the college degree is going to mean anything like it did the last several decades. It’s not, it’s just not helpful for a lot of them. I’ve hired a thousand people, Katie. I have a thousand people across all my companies. I know what is required to create value in a job. And the kids that have the right skill sets and the mindsets are the fastest to get hired. They’re—the ones who create the most value are the fastest to get promoted. Okay, I train young entrepreneurs all the time. I mentor a ton of them. Find ways to create that value and build a skill set that you can master as fast as possible that lights you up and you’ll never work a day in your life like the more we can focus on that the better.

And so these families focus on earning. Earning through skill sets, earning through, it starts in the home, number one, home gigs, right, which is in the GravyStack app. The second thing that you want your kids to learn is asset appreciation. And it starts not with buying your first house. I mean, that’s awesome. If you can buy real estate as a teenager, awesome. But what we’re talking about is go to a Goodwill, go to a garage sale, or go in your own garage and find something that you do not want or need as a family and go flip it online. Learn asset growth. Learn how to buy and sell goods. That’s the second stage of earning that all these families did. They set up a gig that was like, hey, you get 50% of whatever you sell this stuff for online—eBay, OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist. Do it safely. Mom and dad are there to make sure there’s no bad things that could go on. They’re looking over the shoulder. That’s critical for number two.

And we’re doing these in order for a reason, because when you start in the home with home gigs, you build confidence. You build capability and confidence at home safely, all right? Then you’re doing the asset side. Now you’re learning a different style of business. The third one is community gigs, neighborhood gigs, walking dogs, washing cars, babysitting, mowing lawns, spray painting addresses right in front of someone’s home for 10 bucks, right? Community gigs. Now that you’ve got the confidence at home, you can go into the community, whether it’s a service or selling something, whatever you want to do, that’s number three. This is great to do with like grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, your best friends, your neighbors. Then they have confidence now outside the home to earn. They’re earning money outside the home while they’re with you.

And then the fourth stage is their first service or product business. So try to do a small run of something. Get your first 10 customers in a product you want to sell. Soap, slime, cookies, it doesn’t matter. Learn COGS and profit and scaling those types of businesses. And you don’t have to make it be your business for life. You could literally just make 20 products of something or say, I’m going to serve 50 customers in this service and then teach them the core principles of an entrepreneurial scale.

Now, they don’t have to become entrepreneurs. Only a small chunk of people ever become entrepreneurs because they have that DNA. I believe though that every kid needs to learn to be entrepreneurial. They need to learn to solve problems. They need to learn how it’s like critical thinking, trade-offs, wants and needs, how to listen and have empathy and really drive towards the customer because that’s going to help them in any job that they ever have, whether it’s their business or working for somebody else. So those are the four stages of earning that a kid should go through in order because each one builds upon the one before it. Each one builds confidence and capability on the one before it.

And then obviously once they’ve earned, you’re going through save, you always spend less than you make, right? Save and spend. Investing—they should learn compounding interest, delayed gratification for the long haul right away. We always try to do 30% goes to investing and saving, 10% to sharing, 60% they can spend on their expenses. And then anything left, they can do whatever they want with.

And then my favorite one is these legacy families focused on share more than anything else. They would give their kids 100 bucks at their birthday or Christmas and say, give this away, tell us the stories. They would focus on every dollar the kid made, some of it’s being given. They want to build the generosity muscle. And it’s not just because they want their kids to be generous, okay? And you have to give your kids, help your kids give away their own money that they earn, not money you give to them, okay? I’m talking about that’s a birthday or Christmas thing. Make sure that they’re giving a portion of what they’ve earned. When you do this, this is the secret of all these legacy families. You have an open hand idea when you give. You have an abundance mindset when you give, not a scarcity mindset. You believe the pie will get bigger and the future’s better than yesterday. That’s what makes people want to share. You have an infinite mindset rather than a finite mindset when you start to be generous at a young age, okay? That’s a critical skill that all of these families focused on.

So in our workshop, we go deep into this about how to set up that trust, how to set up that system. You have five do’s and five don’ts for every charitable thing that you do as a family, as a legacy, and you’re working on that muscle with your kids. I hope those are helpful for some practical stuff.

Katie: Absolutely. And you explain it so well. I love that. I think that’s a perfect framework to start with. And you guys make that process so easy. I love how much education you’ve put around this too. Because I think for any adults who are still un-patterning some of their own things around money, actually the parents are often learning as much as the kids. And I know this from working with other homeschool families as well. Often homeschool parents end up learning so much about themselves through the process of educating their children. And so I love that this is a new way for families to do that.

I also want to briefly touch on the college thing because this is another thing that I always talked about more and more, but the declining value of a college education, the mounting student debt. It’s to the point that I actually am actively sort of disincentivizing my kids from going to college and encouraging them to create skills or their own businesses instead, even if they choose to go to college. My thought being, if you already have built a business that has income and you want to choose to pay to go to college, even if it’s just for the social experience of college, awesome. But just understand that you’re not buying a golden ticket to the career that you want just by going to college. Not to mention, if it’s about the actual learning, the majority of that information is now open sourced on the Internet. And even many schools have a lot of their top courses online for free. And so I feel like that is a helpful distinction, but how are you doing that with your kids and how are you teaching that in such a shifting landscape around higher education?

Scott: Yeah, so we have a show called Smart Money Parenting. That’s a top one percenter for families. We just launched a few months ago and we just came out with an episode called The ROI of College, and we really went deep into what’s shifted in the last 15 to 20 years in higher education? And there’s been a huge shift. I think a lot of parents are wanting to protect their kids from really going into an indoctrination zone. They really want to be careful about some of the mindsets that come out of college.

But I think at the end of the day, it comes down to skills beat degrees over and over and over. Skills beat degrees. And if you’re going to go to college to do like, you know, there’s certain things where it’s required: teaching, law school, doctors—like there’s a certain type of subset of professions that require higher ed. But unless you know exactly what you want to do by the age of 16, 17 years old, which most people don’t, what we try to get people to do is try to experience as much as you can to build skill sets. Apprenticeships are way more powerful. Like when we look at resumes, and our network of guys—we’ve hired a million people through my network over the last 10 years.

So we like, we literally go through like best practices, what’s working, what’s not. Most resumes are faked anyway. Like, you know, homeschool kids apply for college and they say, I’m the valedictorian. That happens like half a million times a year. And so what we’re trying to do is say skills beat degrees. And so there’s a lot of, don’t just go to school. Don’t just go to college and be willy nilly about it. Like have a plan, have a mission. I’m a huge fan of a gap year. We counsel a lot of families and take a gap year. And it’s not just travel the world and have fun. A gap year is a very intentional work-based year where you’re going through different internships and apprenticeships and trying out a business or whatever it would be, mission trips too, where you’re learning practical skills to succeed. And it just really, really helps kids learn what lights them up. And that’s a critical piece that’s really more important than just trying to get grades to go to college to get a degree, right?

We tell our kids, you’re still going to get good grades to give yourself the opportunity. But when they’re in their middle teens, you can have a better conversation based on the kids around maybe college is or is not the way to go. And by the way, a lot of these legacy families, they were half and half on college or not. And if they did go to college, they didn’t pay for all of college. They had the money to pay it, but they said, you’re only getting this if you graduate with a degree because 56% of college students get the debt, but no degree. They quit. And they said, you’re going to have to work for the rest of it. Right? you’re going to have to work for this chunk. So I did this in college, I got half of it paid for and the other half was four jobs a summer and scholarships through the wazoo and everything I could to graduate with no debt. But I was ready. I mean, I graduated ready to go with the work ethic and everything. And so, yeah, I think that’s a critical piece is college is not for everybody and that’s okay. But skills are for everybody and value creation is for everybody. And we want people to focus more and more on that because I think that’s the landscape of jobs in the future.

Katie: I’m completely in alignment with that. I think another thing that people often don’t think about when it comes to skill creation is there’s not really a minimum age on this in a digital world. We don’t have to wait till our kids are 18 for them to start figuring that out. I tell my kids all the time, it is actually an asset to you to do these things when you are 12 or when you are 13 or whatever because it’s unexpected for a kid to do it to begin with. You’re going to stand out and there’s no reason you have to wait till you’re 18 to start doing graphic design online or to start learning how to code or to start your first business with people in our local area. Those are things you can do right now and in some ways you have the asset of being younger and starting younger. I think often that’s going to be the remedy to, I feel like, the higher education system is if we can give the kids these tools from a young age, they get to make a much more informed choice of if they want to go or if they don’t. From a place of knowledge and already having some financial literacy versus thinking that college is going to give them those things.

Scott: Yeah, and by the way, GravyStack, in our app, we are building not just financial games. Like we have 99 games they can play to learn all these skills. We are expanding that. The vision is to have thousands of games and real-life challenges that teach you all of the practical, healthy struggles and skills you need to succeed. There’s 90 of them on our list. Persuasion, negotiation, real estate, car maintenance, kitchen work—like everything you need to succeed in life. We want to create games and a resume that you’re building by playing the GravyStack world that will help you succeed, whether you go to college or you go right into a career or a business of your own. That we want kids basically to be launched into the world so much more personally responsible and powerful to create value from day one.

I don’t think your audience knows this, but the student loan debt is just one symptom of the bigger problem. Less than one in four 22-year-olds is financially independent. The average bank of Mom and Dad for parents that have it goes until kids are 29. And most 25-year olds, three fourths of them fail at a basic money test. Like what’s interest Katie? Like literally that kind of stuff. They fail and we are going the opposite direction. Most people in Gen Z, so if you have kids right now and you’re listening, your kids are falling prey to this belief that we’re in late stage capitalism. This is all over TikTok. This is all over Snapchat. They think that they will never get a home. They’ll never retire. That this whole system is going to crumble. The system is us, guys. We are the system. All you do is you create value for the people around you and the economy grows. That’s what it is. So don’t worry about like the markets and the news and all this kind of stuff.

If you grow to create value, then you will be successful. You will be making a huge impact. And that’s what we need to do with our kids. Don’t believe all the junk out there and all the trends out there where people are just like casting away the whole system. So if you raise your kids this way, they’re going to have so much more of a chance to thrive and succeed and fall in love with their life. That’s what we want.

Katie: I love it. I love the work that you guys are doing. And for all of you listening, all of the resources we’ve mentioned, including the GravyStack app, including the show, including the book, are all going to be in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm, so make sure to find them there and try them out with your family. I’ll make sure you guys have educational resources as well. All of that will be linked. And I know we’ve also talked about where you can find it, but a couple of questions I love to ask at the end of interviews. The first being if there is a book or a number of books that have profoundly influenced you personally, and if so, what they are and why?

Scott: Yeah, that’s a great question. Obviously Value Creation Kid is my first book. I don’t know if I’ll ever do another book because we put everything into this book. But Value Creation Kid, it’s basically all the learnings from these 100 families. And there’s a ton of other resources in that book from other books that have changed my life. There’s a book out there that’s called Between the Ages of 6 and 12. That’s the book. It’s a green book. It’s a powerful, powerful book on how to really connect with your kids from ages six to twelve to prepare them to connect with you for the rest of their life and be successful. I love that book. One of my favorite books in business is The Road Less Stupid by Keith Cunningham, probably one of the coolest books out there in my opinion.

And then there’s a book by my friend, BJ Fogg, called Tiny Habits. Tiny Habits is a brilliant book for raising kids and for adults just trying to like have the right habits in their life and how to hack everything in their life to make it simpler and easier to do the right stuff. So it’s all about moving everything over the action line and ability, motivation, and the right prompt. So Tiny Habits is a brilliant, brilliant book. So those are some of my favorites. Obviously, I love the Bible. I love Jesus, but you were asking for like current stuff. Nothing’s better than the words of God. But yeah, those are good books.

Katie: I will link to all of those as well in the show notes. And lastly, any parting advice for the listeners that could be related to the topics we’ve covered or entirely unrelated life advice?

Scott: Yeah, I got one. Your kids need roots and wings. Deep roots mean connected legacy and heritage and a deep connection with you and your family line. And they need wings, wings to thrive and succeed and excel outside the home. It’s probably some of the best advice I ever got as a parent. My wife and I use it all the time. Give your kids roots and wings. And by the way, most people are like, I want my kids to be independent when they leave. No, you don’t. You want them to be interdependent. You want them to be connected to you. You don’t just want them to leave your house at 18 and never come back. Go move across the world, never talk to you again. Like that’s the worst. It’s like… Bummer, you want interdependence. And so when you think about this idea of roots and wings, it connects your family legacy and your line forever.

Katie: Yeah, I love that distinction. I think you’re right. You want them to be capable and self-sufficient and also connected and have a solid relationship with them. And I think so many of the things we talked about today help with that process as well, even though we centered them through a conversation on financial literacy. And I’m so glad we got to have this conversation. I think like we talked about at the beginning, this is a topic that is vitally important to families. And I love the work that you guys are doing. I was so excited to get to chat with you today. So thank you so much for your time and for being here.

Scott: Thank you again, appreciate it.

Katie: And thanks as always to all of you for listening and sharing your most valuable resources, your time, your energy, and your attention with us today. We’re both so grateful that you did. And I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the Wellness Mama podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.