Talk Wealth to Me

#031: The Need for Financial Literacy in Higher Education

February 07, 2020 Felipe Arevalo, Chase Peckham, Katie Utterback, Howard Eskew Season 2 Episode 5
Talk Wealth to Me
#031: The Need for Financial Literacy in Higher Education
Show Notes Transcript

Who taught you how to budget? How to pay taxes? Check your credit score and read a credit report? What about saving for retirement or paying yourself first before paying off any debts or pampering yourself?

If you're like most Americans, the answer is probably no one. If you're lucky, you may have had a parent, a relative or a friend who knew healthier personal finance habits existed and worked with you to implement some of those healthy behaviors. But for most of us, we don't know how to determine if something is a worthy investment, let alone handle the paperwork on our own.

In this episode, we're joined by San Diego Mesa College Business Professor Howard Eskew, who is not only advocating for increased financial literacy programs in higher education - he's walking the walk! Howard joins us to share how he managed to implement a financial literacy course at Mesa College and how he's seen his students thrive after learning how to better handle their money.

About Howard Eskew
Howard Eskew is a Business Professor at San Diego Mesa College. His expertise is in accounting, entrepreneurship, and personal finance. Howard has a strong passion for providing financial education. He drives the financial literacy efforts at Mesa College and created and coordinates the Financial Literacy Speaker Series and Financial Opportunity Clinic. Prior to coming to Mesa College, Howard spent over 25 years in the financial services industry.

He held the position of Executive Vice President / Chief Credit Officer for Columbus First Bank, in Worthington, Ohio for which he was one of the founding members. Howard is a strong partner and tireless advocate for the community. In addition to servicing on the Mesa College Foundation Board, Howard services on advisory boards for San Diego County Economic Education, San Diego Financial Literacy Center, San Diego Workforce Partnership, and the Western Association of Food Chains.

Howard possesses his MBA and a Master’s degree in Accounting. He has been inducted into numerous honor societies and graduated Magna Cum Laude and valedictorian. Howard frequently presents at educational and industry conferences and is a published author. In 2015, Howard received the Outstanding Professor Award at San Diego Mesa College.

To connect with Howard directly, you can email him at [email protected] or call him at 619-388-5957. To donate to San Diego Mesa College Foundation, click here.

About the Show
Comments, questions or suggestions for the show? Email us at [email protected]

To learn more about DebtWave Credit Counseling, visit our website or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

To learn more about the San Diego Financial Literacy Center, visit our website or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Intro:

Welcome to Talk Wealth to Me, a safe space podcast where we chat about anything and everything related to personal finance.

Felipe Arevalo:

The information contained in this podcast is for educational and entertainment purposes only. It does not constitute as accounting , legal, tax or other professional advice.

Chase Peckham:

Hello and welcome to another edition of Talk Wealth to Me where we talk everything personal finance. And today's guest is the godfather of personal financial literacy here in San Diego, especially when it comes to youth and, and students. He is a professor at Mesa Community College, the first community college in California to do a transferable personal finance course. And it's so popular now that they are doing two of them. We talk about everything Personal finance. It's a great discussion. You won't want to miss this. Howard Eskew. Let's talk personal finance. What do you guys say? So Howard, thank you so much for being with us today and I'm excited to have you. It's been a long time coming. Uh , we've been cohorts of sorts for a number of years now and I think it's really, really important. Um , obviously that youth learn and understand personal finance , um, as early as possible, but in argument that at least by high school , uh, and then going into college and give us , uh , a little bit of a background of how you got to where you are today. What where in your previous life did teaching personal finance or, or your love of personal finance career-wise lead you to being a leader in bringing financial literacy programs and classes to the college arena? The transfer onto Cal state universities.

Howard Eskew:

So my back, first of all, thank you for having me. My background, believe it or not, it was not academics. It was a career and financial services. So I spent over 25 years in banking, both the retail side but mainly the corporate side. So not only was I seeing, we spent a lot of time with small businesses and if you knew anything about small businesses and entrepreneurship, the majority of those folks fail. Uh , what we saw though was a lot of the time, the reason they would fail in their endeavors was because they couldn't handle their personal side. And so they would do things like take their charge cards and charge them to the max to feed their business. And in the meantime, they're not generating revenue to pay those back. So I was in finance for, like I said, over 25 years. Then I came out here to California and started at Mesa. Back in Ohio I did teach , uh , as an adjunct and personal finance and accounting and management. But I loved teaching and I , um, particularly community college students because you get such a wide variety of social , uh, social economic , um , disparities. So we see , um, folks who are homeless and food insecure and we see , uh , students who clearly , uh , are not hurting for money. But what we're finding is there's still a common thread through all of those folks. And for most of them, they don't know how to handle money. They aren't looking to the future they're living for now and they're struggling and they're wondering why , uh, why can't I make my money go further and why don't I have any? So when I came out to California, it was really interesting. Um, Mesa college did not have a financial literacy course. And I was like, Whoa, because back in Ohio , uh , not only did I teach it, it's a requirement for all majors in order to graduate from college. I mean it's just, it's a requirement. And now here the only, yeah, we don't know. It's not a requirement, you know , we don't know. And I'm like, well that's going to change. So the first thing I did was we wrote , we wrote the course, I wrote the course thing and got it approved and then as I was working the course met you , you folks and I was like, why am I doing all the lecturing when we can bring in some really great professionals who've got some experience and they get a variety and they get a lot of real life experience , um, shared with them. So that's when we brought you folks in, and I know that prior to you us meeting that you were doing a lot of work with our counseling side. So Mesa wasn't new to you, but we were new and working with you is just a joy. I mean we brainstorm, we talk about different things from the class that went into our speaker series. Uh , that continues. Attendance continues to grow at those, those things. It's really been amazing. Um, the speaker series is a five part series where , um , we choose a variety of topics and we do five of them. We also feed our students at that , um, uh , event and we talk to them about , um, all kinds of different , uh, topics within personal finance. Why that series is so important is because in California, when we get our curriculum approved, it goes through the CSU and the UC programs. They tell us what areas in within curriculum it will be approved. Um, it was not approved for an area where our veterans could take it for credit and the GI bill would pay for it. So we had to find a way to get this information to our veterans folks. And the way we do that is the financial literacy speaker series. And so that's why it's so important that you guy, we partner with you guys all the time and keep that , that going. The other thing , um , you guys introduced to us and has been a phenomenally successful I think is the opportunity clinic. And so you guys come out for , um , a couple hours , um, uh , during the semester and just come with an army of financial professor , uh , professionals and you let anybody on our campus come and meet with them to talk about their financial , um, issues or concerns or questions. And that's been phenomenal on the horizon for us is a financial literacy center. And so we're starting to talk about that, what that's going to look like, how are going to man a man it, how we're going, that where we're going to house it, who's our partners are going to be. So we're really excited about those things happening. So if you come on Mesa financial literacy is live and well,

Chase Peckham:

yeah, it's really interesting because you mentioned before that, you know, Ohio, it was, you know, for you it was, that's just what students had to do to move on or to graduate. We're in California. So it really is state to state on both the high school and collegiate level on whether financial literacy courses are offered or are a must that have to be taken. Right. So in California, obviously, you know, we love to bag on California because it seems it's hard to get anything done in this state or try to start something anew, but yet you were successful in that. What has been the reaction of fellow professors , uh, other schools that don't offer these things? And now Mesa is at the forefront of this.

Howard Eskew:

Uh , so our campus, I'll address that first. Um, our campus has been ex overwhelmingly positive. Um, at the , the , uh , we have faculty who actually come to the series and use the opportunity clinic. Um, they've also , um , been generous with donations towards the , the project. Um, we have an administration that absolutely believes in financial literacy. Uh, uh, we believe in a total person approach at Mesa. So when a student comes, we're not just looking at them for education. We're looking to make sure that , uh, we meet their social needs , um, their economic needs as much as , uh, as well as we can. And so we're looking at a resilient resiliency fund right now and we're doing some fundraising around that. So folks who are having , uh , we have a stand, which is a food and clothing pantry. Uh, we're actually, believe it or not, I would, would , um, applaud California. They are looking at , uh , ways for affordable housing for colleges and specifically community colleges. Uh, and so there's a lot of things that are in the works right now and a lot of that , um, I don't want to say it all stems from Mesa, but we have a president , uh , Dr. Pamela Luster, who is in the forefront of that and making sure that we're advocating at the state levels to make sure that students are taken care of , uh, from a holistic perspective. But again, the financial and , uh, needs are being taken care of. Uh , other campuses have contacted me over and over and over again and saying, what are you doing? How are you doing it? Uh , will you share it with me? Um, we went to a conference together and shared , uh , how we do that. Uh, I've been to a couple of other conference conferences and have shared, there seems to be a tremendous interest, not just in California but throughout the entire nation on how do we get these programs developed. And I wish I had, like I said, I could take all the credit but I can't because I have you guys and we're such an important team.

Chase Peckham:

But you were doing this before you met us .

Felipe Arevalo:

It's always interesting when they do, when you get the state by state breakdown of what States do well in financial literacy and what States do not. Um, it's always interesting to see how unfortunately, how poorly we do here in California. Um, obviously there's, you know, there's the effort to try and change that. Uh, but when you go onto campuses like Mesa and you see it, you know , okay, some people are doing really good as far as providing that to the students. Um, do you feel that it can branch out from there at least to within the district? Cause I know Mesa is just part of the ,

Howard Eskew:

uh, we would love to share what we do with our, our sister campuses at City College and um, Miramar College , um, honestly we would be more than happy to share it with the entire San Diego County for anybody that wants to, to be able to learn how to create a program and serve their students , uh, at the highest levels. And I think we do a very good job of doing that. Um, we're all a team. We're all there to serve, serve our students. So yeah, let's, let's share and let's build this thing together.

Felipe Arevalo:

And in the past we've been approached by other community colleges, not part of your guys' district. We're like, Oh , we love what Mesa's doing, we want to do what Mesa's doing, but they don't have a Howard to kind of champion that and you know, bring it along. So they want to accomplish it, but they don't have that person, at least from what we've seen, like spearheading their efforts and the backing from the administration. So it doesn't, we talk about it, it's great. I got a great idea. And then it just kinda goes away .

Chase Peckham:

Yeah. The honest truth is you're the first person that had an idea of what you were looking for financial literacy wise for your classes and the role that we would play in it. When most campuses come to us, they just say, we'd like you to come to our class and talk financial literacy and don't realize how broad of a subject that is and that you have to really narrow it down to where the, where the students are at that point in their life. And that's typically , uh , at the, at the entry level and you probably need to start there. Uh , but it's, those campuses even don't really know what they're asking for , um , until they've been with us for awhile and we help lead them to that. But you have something that they don't. And kind of take us through the idea of how you decided, as you mentioned, a very diverse , uh, student body , uh, that would require or take your classes. How did you decide how you were going to put that together? Both because there's a, there is a balance of academia that has to be met and then the real world comes into play. How did you decide how you were going to set up that classroom?

Howard Eskew:

Well, when I did this, the first time I did it , uh , I'll be honest. Um , it was just me and I lectured and it was horrible because you don't learn financial literacy through lecture. You learn financial literacy through the sharing of stories and theory and then you make it applicable , um, by having them do it. And so as it evolved, what I realized was let's have different perspectives and different people come in and share their stories on topics that they are experts on , uh , because they're not only going to be able to share the theory side of it, they're also going to be able to share those , um, uh , horror stories and those stories that , uh , were , are really uplifting. Uh , and then let's do something so that the students have to take that information and apply it to their lives. So we do several different projects in my class. One of them is a a budget project. But we, before we jump into budgeting, we actually start with goal setting because most people think, Oh well let's just go do a budget. Well you can't do a budget unless you know what your objectives are and you map out how I'm going to get there. You know, to put numbers on a spreadsheet and say, wow, yeah, that doesn't mean anything. So we have them set smart goals and then they have to do it in three areas. They have to do it for their financial life, their educational life, and their personal life. So they're looking at three different aspects and what we're hoping them to, and they have to do it in one, three, five year. So we're hoping there they'll do is see the interrelationship between all three of those and how one slip in one area can impact the other areas. So once we do that, then we have them create their budget to the best of their ability. So we show them how to do it. You guys come in and talk about budgeting so they understand what a budget is, what the components is. We give them a template, they fill that out and then we add , um , have a , what I call mentors come into the classrooms. So we have a group of mentors who get to spend time with our students and really talk to the students. Hey, how, how do the numbers that you put on this budget tie to your goals? Is it realistic? Does it make sense? And so then with the mentors , uh , assistance students can take the budgets, make their adjustments accordingly and they have a budget. Then we cycled through it twice where they use actual numbers and we teach them about variance analysis and variance analysis. It just, the difference between what actually happened and what I hoped would happen and whether it's a favorable, which means I , um, the numbers are better than I anticipated , uh, or it's unfavorable and for whatever reason they weren't as good as we anticipated. And then we asked them to take those variances and figure out what happened. Then our mentors come back in and they sit down with them again and spend time with them and talk to them about the variances and say, you know, tell me why this happened and what behaviors will you change in the future in order to make these things better. And we do that. And then finally the students will write a reflection paper on what this process is about. And it's really interesting because just this week I got an email from a student who was in the personal finance class who said, you know, I was a biology major when I came in here, but this class, and especially the budgeting project made such an impact on me that I'm now in the financial services area and she's studying to be a financial counselor. So yeah, I mean, we don't have any idea , um, the impact learning financial literacy has on folks. I've had students come back and say, you know what? I took this home and now I'm teaching my parents how to budget, how to, how to use their money wisely, how to invest. Uh, so it , it is far reaching outside of the classroom. I mean, I think what we're doing is preparing an army of , uh, folks who are becoming more and more , uh, intelligent and effective at personal finance, and they're starting to reach out to , to their immediate family.

Chase Peckham:

It really is important. I mean, outside of academically, everyone goes to school to become something, right? Whatever it is that they enjoy or want to do, what interests them in their careers. But every single one of them have the fact that all in common that they're going to have to take care of their personal finances. At home, With their future families, themselves, the whole thing. So it amazes me more than anything that this doesn't start at an earlier level in, in school. Um , and as much as history is important and all, and the other courses that a student takes, not every student is going to go on to college. Not every student is gonna , you know, they might go into the trades, but every single one of them is going to graduate from some school or hopefully graduate, leave school, go into a trade of some kind, and they're all going to have to pay for themselves, and their families, and so on and so forth. So why do you think that this isn't an incredible, why isn't this mandated even at the height? Let's just just say at the high school level, even starting maybe in middle school with that introduction,

Howard Eskew:

you know, I'm not really sure , um, why it's, there's not more emphasis on it. Um, I'm sure the next economic downturn , uh, we'll hear it . We'll hear it all of a sudden. Oh my God.

Chase Peckham:

How do you think financial literacy was coined? I mean, that came out of 2008. Yes.

Howard Eskew:

So, you know, things have come back to normal, but I've gotta be, you know, for me, financial literacy started when I was a kid. Sure. My, my parents gave me an allowance of 25 cents. Yes, I'm that old and, but my mom never put a quarter in my hand or my brother's hand. She always put two dimes and a nickel. And the reason she did that was with cause she took the first dime out of her hand and said, that's going, you're going to pay yourself. And so that went into our little piggy bank, the nickel, she said you always have to pay it forward. So we had to take that nickel and do something with it. So she was teaching us philanthropy yes, yes. And so that was really important for me and that has stuck with , and then the other 10 do with what you will. But what you find out is that little 10 cents that um, that went into the piggy bank. All of a sudden you , you know, once a month, mom would let us play with them and we would see it starting accumulating. And then all of a sudden while that dime you could go out and blow, you decide eh maybe I'll treat myself. That was back when there was really truly penny candy. So you got a little bit of that. And then the rest of it I found myself saving. And what happened is my mother instilled in us and behaviors that saving was important. Saving was going to get , uh , allow us to accumulate wealth and I never forgot that. And another , um, you know, one of the things you guys share with my students when you come in is every thing you do involves money. And people don't, they don't understand that simple truism. I mean, it really is. Anything you do involves money. Uh, so I share with them , um, because it's not so much true anymore with, especially with our generation. Plastic is the way they pay for everything. But I tell them, I , I choose to pay in cash and the reason I pay in cash is because I have the cash in my pocket and when the cash is gone, the cash is gone. But the coin, I always throw it in a jar and I, every night, whenever there's , I throw that and I've wrapped it and I've wrapped it and I've wrapped it over the years. And you know, I've been able to , to accumulate over a hundred thousand dollars in a CD just on coin, just on coin. Now granted I'm old enough to to have seen double digit interest rates back in the day. But what a simple way to, to start building wealth and it's not painful.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah. Some banks do that too. They'll whatever. If you use your debit card or Roundup and they take the change, put it in your savings account. And a lot of people don't take advantage of that. Yeah. And they should, you know , it grows.

Howard Eskew:

Yup. I like, cause I'm older, I like, you know, rolling the money and sit there and touch it and taking it into , uh , to my bank and them their eyes growing that big like You're not going to actually hand that to me. Oh yes. Yeah. But you're right. You know, there are apps today and so that's.

Felipe Arevalo:

Do they lead you to the machine?

Howard Eskew:

I'm sorry.

Felipe Arevalo:

Do they try and lead you to the little coin machine?

Howard Eskew:

Oh no. My, I always wrap mine. I put my little labels on.

Chase Peckham:

We do that with my kids.

Howard Eskew:

Yeah. But one of the projects I had the students do is because everything is so tech is they researched the different apps that are available, you know, budget or, or whatever. Uh, so that they can, if , uh , I still make them do the budget, but if, if technology is the way to get them to start saving and seeing, then I'm all for that.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah, it's important. I mean, Felipe, we see it on a daily basis. I was introduced to money through my parents, but a lot of kids are not lucky enough to have parents that really understand what they're doing and it's generational. It just goes over and over and they keep repeating the mistakes. And that's why I wonder, remember we, you remember, you and I are old enough to remember there was home economics at one point. Right? And that was cooking and, you know, home taking care of the home, doing weaving, whatever it might be. But I mean, isn't there a , there's not that much of that anymore, but isn't there a space for what we would consider a 21st century home economics? And that's just teaching how to use a checkbook, how to use a debit card, how to learn about credit and establishing credit and what it is and all of these things that kids just get introduced to.But maybe through the mail? Maybe here get this credit card and they go, Oh, okay, let's apply for that. Because I've seen my parents use it for so long not understanding that their parents don't talk to them and they don't understand that their parents are choking on debt. They just know that they go use this. Right . So do I, it's, I firmly believe, and I might be wrong, but I think even Felipe believes this now, that we would be in a much better economic place in the United States, if people individually understood how to take care of their own money and we weren't servicing the incredible amount of debt that we do.

Felipe Arevalo:

Definitely agree. Yeah. And it's something where, you know, Chase, you and I, especially your kids are older. You've been at the money thing a lot longer. Um, you know, my oldest is six, so he's kind of new to the game, but his current , uh , moneymaking , uh , job is to collect all the water bottles and the, the, you know, Chase, we like to drink that carbonated , uh, bubbly water, kind of like the LaCroix, but the Costco brand. And that's his income is to collect those in the bag. And then he's got a little bag and then I bring him over to the recycling thing. I consider charging him a delivery fee. But I decided I just let him know like, look, I'm bringing you for free. You should pay me. Um, but he's actually the.

Chase Peckham:

ever the capitalist.

Felipe Arevalo:

the, the saver that I never was, he, he will not spend his money. Um, and it was interesting for Christmas, he received a , a gift card, so it wasn't money. It was a gift card. Neat. He's only ever spent $1, but he had this target gift card and it was burning a hole in his pocket. He spent it within the week. He won't spend money. I even asked him today, like, we got a lot of recycling. We're gonna bring in this weekend. You're going to , you're going to get some money, what are you going to buy with it? And I, I thought, Oh, this is where he turns. And now he's buying things and he's going to tell me a video game again. And he's like, Whoa, no, it's money. I'm not going to spend it. I'm going to save it. So when he got the gift card in his head, although he knew he was able to purchase things and it had a certain level of purchasing power, he spent it without thinking because it wasn't cash.

Howard Eskew:

That's a very interesting, isn't it?

Felipe Arevalo:

He won't spend any money.

Howard Eskew:

I think students or people feel that way. Oh, this isn't cash. This is plastic. It's inanimate. And so it's got this endless stream of funds. I don't know where they came from. I didn't put them there. Uh , and so plastic, I could see where that would be. Um , kinda dangerous. Yeah. You have to really treat them.

Chase Peckham:

well. There's been studies where they studied the brain and the way the brain reacts when they're purchasing something. And a lot of that could be like dopamine where your , I believe it's dopamine that they get this rush for some people from purchasing, but yet if they were to hand cash over the anxiety part that is created because you're tangibly watching this money disappear. Where if with the credit card they don't get that or or a debit card, they don't get that anxiety because all it is is the card done and then thank you. See ya. So you're not watching the money physically come out of your bank account, which for a lot of people, if they watched money go out of their bank account, it would make you a little anxious for most people. And that is one area where we all kind of get in trouble. Let me ask you this. When do you see a major shift from when this class starts and the way kids or students think about money in general? How much of a shift is it? Their attitude about it? At the end of the course.

Howard Eskew:

I would say most of them come out out of the course saying, why am I just hearing about this now? I'm an adult. Um, some , uh , you know , uh , there are, some of them are saying, ah , um , I'll worry about it when I graduate. But most of them are like, this is, this has been the best class I've ever taken in college. One because it's practical too because it's life changing and three, because it causes me to , um , discipline myself in ways I've never thought that I needed to and it gives me hope for the future.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah . And there's those students that say, Oh, I'll worry about this later. That was me.

Felipe Arevalo:

Me too.

Chase Peckham:

That was, and it wasn't because I thought, I thought I knew every, I just look, money came in, I wanted things to do and I wanted to just go. I just, it's not like I consciously said, let's just spend money. But there were things I wanted to do and as we mentioned before, every decision we make has a financial component to it, no matter what we want to do in life. And I think where you mentioned those three things that they were looking at, whether whether it be their, their basically their, their home budget, but their school in their plan that they created, that the , all those things are so interconnected that really finances is about decision making. Yeah. Right. I mean that's really what this is. This is life skills. This, these are , uh , habits that we create for ourselves and we see whether we like it or not, we create habits for ourselves both negatively and positively. And if you just do something with your finances where you're paying attention to it daily or weekly or whatever it might be, every single one of those decisions is going to have an effect on many different areas in our life.

Howard Eskew:

Yup . Most students, when I do my introductory survey, I'm like, what do you want to learn in this class? Well, I want to learn how to invest and make lots of money. And I'm like, that's great. Where is the money to invest? So I guess we need to back up and say, our goal is to be able to have money in the future. So we can invest and meet this goal, this, but, we've got to figure out another goal that says, how am I going to set aside this cash so I have it to invest.

Chase Peckham:

So let me ask you this question too then. So many times, Felipe and I will, some a kid will come up to us after a class and they will say, I don't know why I really need to learn this cause I don't have two pennies to rub together. You mentioned before that you have students that are living out of cars, homeless , um, haven't, don't know where their next meal is coming from most of the time. What do you say to those students who kind of are jaded in a different way of thinking?

Howard Eskew:

So we're talking about that now on campus because um , there is that some folks have that philosophy if the student is homeless or they're food insecure or they don't have the income , um, isn't it insulting to them to talk to them about budgeting and this , uh , and my response to that is absolutely not because you're a steward of whatever it is you possess. And so if you don't have lots of money, okay, so you're not stewarding money. So you put your doing stewarding other resources like food or whatever. So how do we take whatever the resource, because the principles are still the same. It doesn't matter what the commodity is. The principles are still the same. What do we do with what you have to make sure that it can stretch as long as possible or create ways for you so that you can get some kind of income. We're still going to teach you what to do. One note when that day comes, because if I don't, if we don't teach you now and prepare you for when it does happen, your , this is all going to happen to you and you're not going to know how to handle it,

Chase Peckham:

which is insulting to them.

Howard Eskew:

It's very insulting.

Chase Peckham:

So yes, that cause that to me and because we're so worried in this world that we live in right now, that we're going to offend somebody or hurt their feelings yet, aren't we doing them an injustice by not saying, look, these are just the hard truths. This is, this is reality. And if we're going to break that chain, if we are going to improve our lives, if you're not going to, I mean, knock on wood, you're not gonna be homeless forever, knock on wood, that we're going to give you the skills and you're going to school and you're doing these things because you want to improve upon this life you currently lead and that someday hopefully you're paying it back and you're helping that kid who is in a car now in the future and you live that and now you're teaching them how to move it on. I would argue that it's almost more important that we reach those kids than even your everyday student.

Howard Eskew:

I would, I would agree. And I think that's part of why I'm working very hard to make sure that the financial literacy center is a part of our wellness center. So when students come in and they need , um, clothing or they need food or they need emergency funds or sitting right there with them too and say , so here are these resources that you're given. We understand , um, you know, where they're going to, but let's talk to you about the future. Let's talk to you about , uh , um, I'd like to see us work with our , um, career center. So here's some opportunities where we can, might be able to get you plugged in and start getting in , getting you in an income.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah. I think it's incredibly important for just for our, these are our future generations. You know, they're going to be, I hate to say it, they're going to be taking care of us at some point. And I think , uh , and I'm , I keep banging the drum, but I think we're doing our kids an injustice if we're not teaching them these everyday skills that they're going to need.

Howard Eskew:

Well a lot of, a lot of our students come in and they look at us , uh , as faculty are , and they look at you and you come in and speak and they think, well, you've always had what you've had. But I grew up very poor, very poor. And so, I'm not saying that I wasn't privileged in that I did have a roof over my head, but we grew our own vegetables. Uh, I, like I said, I lived back in Ohio and I lived in Appalachia and if you knew anything about Appalachia, it is not a wealthy area. So , um, but we did things like barter. We, we'd , uh , we had a farm, so we had meat and we had , we had vegetables, but we had a family down the street and uh, or down the road and she was the best Baker. So mom never baked bread because she would take vegetables and we would get the bread. Uh, we would get bread in exchange for that. So there's all kinds of ways. Uh, it's not always just money. You've got to figure out how to earn it and and then how to manage it. But don't forget, it doesn't have to be money. It can be whatever you have, you know, if you have talents or gifts that you're able to, to do, to raise money, that's w that's wonderful. Then you, you need to learn how to promote those. And promote yourself so that you can generate those and that income.

Felipe Arevalo:

Yeah. And it's something we will just time . We all have to learn to manage time. Whether you're good at it or not, you're managing it too . To some extent. When you know you have a limited amount of it, you know, what are you gonna do with that time that you have? It's one of the things we always , uh, we always like to , um, something we always like to go over during our presentations when people say, well I don't budget, especially at the high school level. Well you do budget some things, you budget your time, you know, from when to when you have to be in class. If you have afterschool activities, you know what time to, what time you have to be there, practices, games and so on. And then you have to figure out when you're going to do homework. Hopefully it's not five minutes before class in the hallway. Um , as for some students it is pretty good at that. Yeah. You , it's a certain skill that you don't want to have to be good at. But I was good at it. I don't recommend, not at all, but you know, some students that that's the time that they budgeted. And uh, and then at some point you gotta figure out when you're going to have time to budget in your friends and hanging out and students like to budget that it's fun. But you know, so whether they're aware of it or not, usually an indication whether they're good at it or not. They are managing time and their schedule.

Chase Peckham:

And time is money as my wife would say. Uh, talk about the different communities that you see within , uh, with , in Mesa and when , when we talk about personal finance, do you find that depending on the community that you're speaking to, obviously when you're teaching a class at Mesa college, for instance, very hard to know all the different communities that are in your class. But with finances, you're , you're , there are barriers that you have to try to break through. And some of those could be , uh , the family dynamic . Some of that could be , um, culture. Um, some of that could be, I just identity. How do you try, or how can you break through to those different communities? I mean, what would you try to teach financial practices to Let's just say the LGBT . I always get it wrong. The LGBTQ. Got it. Um, versus let's say a an a part of town, which is typically a Latino based and then El Cajon, you might have immigrants from the middle East, very large. So should there be a different way of speaking to those different groups?

Howard Eskew:

When I approach it, because my class size is usually 45 or, or greater class. Yeah. I don't have a luck the luxury per se of trying to identify every individual, but what I do have students do is identify themselves to what the level they're comfortable. Uh , and then we do as appropriate insert , um, discussions on that. What I find is , uh, it's more important for me to develop a relationship with my students and I spend a lot of time with my students outside of class, cultivating those relationships. Those students usually open up. And so , um, and I've, I've seen them open up to you guys too. So , um, as they do that, that gives me , um , what I would say cues that one I can talk to them individually, but then I can bring this back into the classroom and say, Hey, we had a discussion with a student and this was the, the conversation. I certainly get permission before I do it and let's have a discussion about it. Uh, one of the things that , um, now that you say that would be really an interesting project is ask individuals , um, to take their dynamic, whatever it be, if it's how they identify, if it's their ethnicity is if it's their religion or whatever it is that they feel strongly about or a combination and research it and talk to us about, you know, what is , uh , the norm and how can it be improved if it can be improved or within your family dynamic, what is the things that you're seeing and what things can you identify and what are those things that you can identify? What things could you do or change or improve? Uh, so that you're in a better situation than you may be now. So you bring, that's a really great , uh , a great idea. Uh , and I think it's , um, the, especially at Mesa , um, that certainly is an important aspect because 35% of our students are, are , uh, Latin X.

Chase Peckham:

yeah. And there's just culturally money is, is viewed so differently. Yes. Um , all over, you know, all over the world. Uh, you brought up religion, which is another one , uh, that, I mean there are a lot of the religions that give a very large portions of their incomes to the church. Where others don't run into that. And I think that's what makes personal finance that word personal. It's so in the why we teach it the way we do is because there is no absolute right and wrong. Everybody's budget is, is unique to them, their personalities, their financially , their family dynamics, those kinds of things. But yet there are principles that need to be followed. Right. And it's absolutely simple as spend less than you make.

Howard Eskew:

Yes. Right. Yeah . And when you said that , um , I had a student who told me , um, his religion forbid them to do use credit. So wow. That puts them on a cash budget and they live in San Diego. And so you're , I'm thinking to , uh , we had many, many, many conversations.

Chase Peckham:

They must rent.

Howard Eskew:

They do.

Chase Peckham:

I mean how do you buy a home unless you have cash?

Howard Eskew:

Right. And so we talked about how do you set aside funds because if, because the student said I want to be able to buy a house, well that's important. Do you, got to ask yourself some tough questions? Do you have to stay in San Diego? Do you have to stay in California? You can, are you comfortable moving or uh , where housing might be more affordable to you? And then building up your , um, the portfolio and then come back if you, if you wish. Um, but you have to ask some tough questions.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah. That'd be very difficult to do in this world. Yes. That we live in.

Felipe Arevalo:

Unless you're willing to relocate.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah. But even then, I mean, even if we're talking.

Howard Eskew:

cash.

Chase Peckham:

it's still cash. I mean, how many people, even if, let's say the difference in a house,

Felipe Arevalo:

Remember when we did the podcast on , uh, on homebuying and then not necessarily home buying , um, with Daniel, but on investing properties and we were messing around on Zillow. There are other parts of the country where buying a house is equivalent to buying a car.

Chase Peckham:

Actually, I think we were looking at Ohio in that.

Felipe Arevalo:

We did look at it on that podcast.

Chase Peckham:

and there's homes for 75,000.

Howard Eskew:

My first, My first home was a three bedroom one bath and it cost me $35,000. And it had a quarter of an acre land. Yeah,

Chase Peckham:

that's a lot. That's amazing. Yeah, that's doable. That you can save for . But it , when you're talking California, the median, the median home is 500 and $600,000. Even if you move away and you, and let's say you moved to Montana where you can get a lot more for it, you're still talking, you know, not many people have a a hundred thousand dollars just laying around. Right. So that's still a significant amount of money. We get jaded because we just are so used to hearing the numbers that we hear here locally and because most of us do take out a mortgage to buy our homes, but we forget, we forget that that's an absorbent amount of money that we are spending in that that home

Howard Eskew:

just look at your truth in lending statement on your mortgage. So yeah, it's , it's enough to make it, Oh, what am I doing?

Chase Peckham:

Right, right. So the, by the time if I was done paying off my 30 year mortgage, I will have paid well over a million dollars for that home even though the cost of that home was half that. But that's just the way why, why the mortgage industry and banking does as well as it does. But for most of us, we will sell that home before we even get close to paying for that amount of money. And hopefully the, the amount of money that we, the value that we get back from that will more than double if we're lucky.

Howard Eskew:

Well, and that brings up a , in my mind at an important point about the life cycle , because students tend to think, Oh, I don't have to worry about putting a down payment or retirement until I'm in my thirties or my, and so you have to, one of the most important things we can teach students is time, value of money, you know, compound interest of the , the secret of compounding. And once they understand that and they start seeing that, you start seeing it click.

Chase Peckham:

the rule of 72.

Howard Eskew:

yes. And simple basic rules to live by, you know, pay yourself first. These aren't hard concepts and uh, but you have, they require a behavioral change. That's what's difficult. It's not that you can't save 10 bucks out of your pay . It's will you do it.

Chase Peckham:

And people don't like change.

Howard Eskew:

No.

Chase Peckham:

Period, even if it's damaging. Even if what they are doing daily is damaging their health, their life, the, of being told that they need to change the way they do things now is incredibly difficult to do because nobody, it's, it's uncomfortable.

Howard Eskew:

Yep. And we want instant gratification. And so , uh , that's a tough one to get folks to because that's not just our students. That's our society. Everybody wants instant gratification. They don't , um, and honestly, technology has made that worse or has really compounded it . It really has. And so , uh, it's almost important for you to purposefully set some goals or set some , um, actions in motion that take you out of your comfort zone so you can understand the value of being uncomfortable and achieving. Or even if you fail, what is it? Even in failure, there's gain. It's knowledge. If nothing else.

Chase Peckham:

I would argue that if you're not failing, you're not learning. Yes. And I teach that to my kids over and over and over again. And that's why as much as some parents tell us that we give our kids way too much leeway to make decisions at young ages, when is the right time? When, when does it stop me having to make the decisions for my kids to where, I mean, you probably see it at your school a lot of times. It literally kids , some students don't have basic fundamental abilities to make decisions.

Howard Eskew:

Yes. And I would tell you, I spend a lot of time at the beginning of a semester , um , changing their mindset from, I'm in this class to get an A to I'm in this class to learn something because that's going to be what impacts my life because they've been brought up so long with, it's so important to get the A to get the A, get the A, but what happens when they graduate college? And there's no more A's to get?

Chase Peckham:

Yeah. That's a fact. You don't have in the workplace, you don't have that. Try and keep positive reinforcement every quarter.

Howard Eskew:

Right. And so how do we help them understand? Um, and , and honestly, the education system is so difficult out here because it's hard . There's, it's so populated in California that the coll- our four year universities only have so many spots. And so grade point averages a, a great way for them to , um, figure out who's going to come in and who's not. It shouldn't be the only determinant and I don't believe it is, but it's a big piece of so students are so stressed about the grade instead of what can I, what practical things can I take away from this class that I can apply to my life now or put in my back pocket for the future. They're missing the richness of , of education.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah, they missed the point of it, but that's been unfortunately programmed into their heads at a very early age. My son being in sixth grade, he's already, he just got his first report card where there were letter grades and he got a B in something that he felt he deserved an A and was super frustrated by it. And my wife and I had to sit back and as proud as we were that he noticed and he cared. We also fundamentally said, this is just the beginning, right? There's the idea, take what you're learning. And same way we introduced money to the kids is everything that you learned today is going to have an effect on what you learn tomorrow. And that is simple as the reason that he got that. B as it was on one quiz and you , he didn't follow the directions of the test . So he knew the information, but he didn't follow the directions and how to write out the answer. And he got docked for it. So as angry as he was, he's like, I knew this information, but I said, but life is so much more than knowing the information. You're going to run into this your entire life. You're going to have to, you may know the right way, but if you don't present it the way you were asked to present it, then you may not get that home you wanted . Right. Because they're going to be other buyers that presented it better. So all of these things that you're doing through your, through your school, the way, not just, but the way you study, the way you learn, all these things are going to have way more impact on your life down the line than the letter grade that you get. Yup . And that letter grade, that diploma is extraordinarily important. But it matters one time to get your first job. And then how many times are you asked? Where you went to school besides they want to know where your football team, you know, if you had a good football team, right. And you mentioned today's kids that are so stressed out about whether and what schools that are going to get into and where they're going to go. And I have to have the GPA. It's a little distressing that anxiety is as high as it is with kids today. And it used to be when we were kids, it wasn't whether we were going to go to colleges with, could we afford to pay for it for one. Now it's, am I ever going to even get in to have an opportunity to pay for it? And that's a little crazy.

Howard Eskew:

It really is. And you know, it's bad enough that they're stressing over their grades, but when then when they have to stress over their finances and having a job, and where does my next meal come from and am I going, where I going to be able to stay tonight? Uh , it's, it's overwhelming for them. Uh , and so we have to step back I think as a society and say, how do we fundamentally change this so that these things aren't happening? Cause if we don't get our arms around it, it's only going to continue to compound. Yeah,

Chase Peckham:

it is. And that , that's a much larger conversation. Yes. As a society. Yes. Is that maybe the way we've done things? What is the, what is the , um, the old saying about those that repeat history? I forget what.

Felipe Arevalo:

Those who don't learn from history tend to repeat it.

Chase Peckham:

Right. Finally I wanted to ask you one last thing, Howard. What you do is so incredibly impactful on people's lives and you get those wonderful stories and you get to feel really good about those plus stories. But how is it when you see some of the struggles that some of these kids have it and you and when you go to bed at night, I'm sure you're thinking about all those kids that may be sleeping in their car that night. How do you compartmentalize what you do every day with the success stories that you get? Yet the difficulties that some of these students are facing?

Howard Eskew:

Well, I would say this , um, in the classroom, it's wonderful and you're right when you're outside of the classroom, just when you hear some of the real horror stories, I just remember and remind myself and I go back to my childhood and I go back to the nickel and I asked myself outside of the classroom, what can I do for my students? And so what I do is , um, while Mesa is, has created this wonderful resiliency fund and we're trying to build it up to 200, a quarter of $1 million. I have my own resiliency fund for my students that I don't advertise , um, because they don't want it to be advertised. Um, and.

Chase Peckham:

obviously cause now we're just hearing about it for the first time.

Howard Eskew:

And so I'll give you a good example. I , um, I work with the Western association of food chains, which is all of our grocery stores here in , in San Diego County. We have a student who is coming on board this , um, for our retail management certificate program , um, who simply cannot afford her books. And she can't afford her fees, so I'm paying for all of that for her, for the entire certificate. While the company's paying for her tuition, she needs the same, I feel like folks who are in trouble and uh, what trouble's not the right word or folks who need help. If I can give it to them. A boost so to speak. Yes. A boost. That's wonderful. Um, I don't, I'm not doing it for me. I'm doing it because I see, when I look at these people and these students, I see their potential. I see their promise, I see their drive, I see their hope. And I just want to be able to play a small part in helping them reach those goals. So I guess I go to bed at night feeling like I do everything I can possibly do and I know I can't reach everybody, but those people I can reach, I will.

Chase Peckham:

So how can, if people are listening to this podcast who in a million years never thought that there would be students going to a college that were maybe not eating during or have three secure meals a day or whatever it might be, how can they help? Can they, how can people help with what you're doing? The financial center , um, the, the standard or helping students can, can, can they give and to help in some way.

Howard Eskew:

and they absolutely can give , um, if they would like to give gifts of canned food , um, we certainly take anything. Um, that's fairly easy for the students to be able to, to prepare. Um, the stand will take that. They will take a very , um, good, used professional clothing. We try to get folks , uh, so that when they go out for their interviews, they've got professional clothing. Uh, they are more than welcome to go out to , um, SDMesa.edu and click on the foundation they can give to the resiliency fund. Um, they can , um, if they'd like to give specifically to , uh, the financial literacy, they can also go through SD Mesa in the foundation area and designate it for financial literacy. Um, they can reach out to me. Um, my email is [email protected] And that was good. I was a mouthful on our page. Yeah . Or you can call me at (619) 388-5957. We'd love to hear from you. Um, or you can donate your time if we can use your times in town or , or talents. That would be really, really great.

Chase Peckham:

Well, Howard, it's been a really, really fun hour. Uh , really, really. I think we got to dive into some really fun stuff. So thank you for being here today.

Howard Eskew:

Thank you for having me.

Chase Peckham:

And now a little follow up with myself, Phil and Katie. I love it when we're recording and Felipe's messing around with his headset and we hear lots of fumbling going on. You know, this one was close to my heart. Uh, Howard Eskew has been somebody that Felipe and I have been working with for a number of years now. And to be able to sit down with him and really let others know about how great this human being is and what he has accomplished and the people that he has affected through his years of education in his latter part of his life really , uh, is completely inspirational. And I think that if we had more like him that , uh, had the ability to persevere as much as he has, that is as tireless as he is, as driven as he is. Uh, we'd all, I think we'd be in all in a much better place if we had more of him.

Felipe Arevalo:

Yeah. For being someone who moved to San Diego to retire, he does a lot still.

Chase Peckham:

oh please, if that's retirement.

Felipe Arevalo:

Right.

Chase Peckham:

Good for him. But man, that's tough.

Felipe Arevalo:

Yeah. And I think he, it's, it's, we've known him for a while and even we learn things when , when we were listening to his interview that I was like, wow, he really does so much that he , he doesn't want any of the credit for it. So he just does it all behind the scenes. Um, you know, aside from just setting up the class and making the class, he does so much more philanthropic, philanthropically I messed that word up. Good thing my microphone wasn't on. Right . Uh, but I thought it was interesting how he explained how it all started when he was young with his mom and , and giving them the 25 cents, but never giving him a quarter.

Chase Peckham:

That was really cool, wasn't it?

Felipe Arevalo:

Yeah. I thought it was really cool.

Chase Peckham:

I wish I'd have thought of that. I mean, I've been doing this for a living. I've been doing this since before my kids were born and I didn't think of that. Yeah. Katie , you very well educated young lady. How much did, did you ever learn anything? Financial, personal, financial in school anywhere

Felipe Arevalo:

and from a different state too . And so we get a different state perspective.

Katie Utterback:

Truthfully no. Um , I thought that I did and I think that was the hardest mental hurdle that I had to overcome was that when I started working with you guys, I was really learning for the first time. How to truly budget or the importance of budgeting. I really thought that I had to be a millionaire in order to need a budget. Like I thought if I had that large of a paycheck, sure I'd want to see where it was all going, but any less than that I thought like, well, I haven't been evicted from my apartment. So like everything seems to be running a long , like I just never thought about it. I wasn't planning, I wasn't thinking ahead. I was mad that I wasn't taking all of these exotic vacations like everybody else on Instagram, but I didn't figure out why. Now I know.

Chase Peckham:

So how has that changed you and has it? Because a lot of people it will, but yet they know what to do. They just don't necessarily put it into action.

Katie Utterback:

I want to say it took me maybe three months or so to wrap my head around the idea of this was going to be, it felt like culture shock is the best way I can describe it, but it took me maybe three months to wrap my head around the idea of, okay, maybe this is a change that's actually beneficial for me. Um, since then it's been about a year since I've purchased new clothes, like any, like for my wedding and everything like that doesn't count. Um, and then there was -

Felipe Arevalo:

You didn't have a wedding dress laying around?

Katie Utterback:

No I didn't have one just laying around. Um, but like truthfully I have not purchased like new shoes until I've completely worn the soles out and then I purchased like a replacement pair. But I've been doing that with everything until I completely pay off my debts and I get my emergency savings up to six months worth of my salary. I am kind of on this spending freeze I guess. But at the same time I'm also trying to make sure that I'm living my life in a way that I don't regret it or that I feel like I'm like, I'm not trying to become bored or boring.

Chase Peckham:

That's a good way to put it. You're gonna . So essentially your just re-evaluating how you choose to spend your time and your days and how you choose to get your fulfillment.

Katie Utterback:

Yeah, and I've also, we've talked about this on some other episodes where I'm trying to work on flipping the script in my head. So instead of it being a , it's something I can't have. I'm viewing it as I'm choosing to not do this because I'd rather do this and just kind of trying to find the gratitude in things like , um, being able to adopt a puppy. That was huge. I've always, always, always wanted a puppy. He's my first. So that's just something where I'm like, okay, is it worth it for me to continue to have this puppy and feed him and take him to the vet and all the expenses that come with that? Or is it that I have the latest jacket from the department store that I've been looking at, I'm not going to lie. One thing that's extremely been helpful on my no clothing freeze, I add stuff to a cart all the time online, and if I still like it in 30 days, I can buy it, but I truthfully have not gone back once.

Chase Peckham:

That's phenomenal.

Felipe Arevalo:

No, that's cool.

Chase Peckham:

That's a brilliant, and that is something that a lot of people should learn because so much of our purchasing is impulse. Yeah,

Felipe Arevalo:

but then do you get the little notice that says an item in your price, is there an item in your cart has changed prices.

Katie Utterback:

I sure do!

Chase Peckham:

and that'll probably deter you a little bit. Right.

Felipe Arevalo:

Sometimes it's a deterrent. Sometimes they make it seem like it's this great new savings and then you look at the price change. I was like, that was a quarter. That's a baseball glove and you're telling me I'm going to save a quarter. So you're trying to motivate me to go buy it. I don't know if that

Katie Utterback:

that's, that's what I'm talking about. That's why it's helpful because then you kind of see like, wait a minute, this is not a good deal. And right now I'm having a little bit of a shopping itch kind of problem because it's January right now. So there's a about to be a bunch of clearance deals on like jackets and sweaters and jeans. So that's something where I'm.

Chase Peckham:

going into the spring lines,

Katie Utterback:

right! So I'm like, okay, should I try to stock up on that stuff or are they playing on my fears and my need to stock up on stuff? And that's kind of like this mental game that I've been playing

Chase Peckham:

to be honest with you. both. If you have the money and the time and you're thinking about these are things that I'm going to need next year and it is a jacket cause you don't have a jacket that you like. And I'm saying, let's just say it's a jacket that will now go with an outfit. But it's been, it'll be three times the amount when you go to buy it next November or October or even it gets cold in San Diego for five minutes. And you go, Oh gosh, I don't have anything that.

Katie Utterback:

No no it's been cold here for a lot longer than 5 minutes.

Chase Peckham:

It has comparatively.

Felipe Arevalo:

As some people around the country would say what's cold?

Chase Peckham:

Yeah, right.

Katie Utterback:

I'm from Minnesota i can say it, it's cold.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah. Yeah. It doesn't get much colder than anywhere there , but the idea is if, if you can do that kind of thinking with thinking about next Christmas presents, thinking about things that somebody might want next year and they are on sale now and they're within your budget, that's going to save you a lot of money going forward because you're going to need the jacket eventually. Right. That's not something like where you're just in now. If they fits your 30th jacket, well then maybe that's something to be, but still, if that's something that you're needing or wanting, that's not a bad idea. As long as it's just not, you know, a jacket and then full on outfit that's going to stretch your budget now, then it's like , it's not a bad idea because the idea of budgeting does not mean that you go without forever. It's just figuring out and being present and planning with what you're doing.

Katie Utterback:

I mean I would love to tell you I need a new jacket but it's more of outfit fatigue.

Chase Peckham:

But look, you're human. There's something to be said for that. There really is and if that jacket's going to make you feel a little bit better or it's going to go with an outfit and make this, if it's going to save you more money instead of buying a completely other outfit because it's going to add to something you already have.

Katie Utterback:

That's actually a great point.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah. Why not?

Felipe Arevalo:

And is it going to last you years and years and years cause you're going to wear it over and over and over cause it's such a great jacket.

Katie Utterback:

See that's another perk of waiting 30 days. You can try to figure out by reading fashion blogs and checking out Instagram influencers. Is this a trendy piece of clothing that's only going to be in style for two more weeks? Or is this a more staple fashion item that I can have in my closet for years?

Felipe Arevalo:

Now you're talking foreign language to me. I grabbed the next pair of jeans on the next shirt and then that's how I pick my outfit everyday .

Chase Peckham:

Phil, This is no surprise to anybody.

Felipe Arevalo:

I know . I know. Like I have two of the same SDSU polos. I have to just remind myself like no you wear the black SDSU polo yesterday, you can't wear your other black SDSU polo today. Or people are gonna think you just didn't change your shirt.

Chase Peckham:

Why do you have two of them?

Felipe Arevalo:

They were on sale at Costco.

Chase Peckham:

so you bought two of them? Couldn't buy a black one and a white one.

Felipe Arevalo:

I have a black one and a red one but then I saw the black one on sale again and you don't always see SDSU stuff at Costco where it's so much cheaper than if you went up to campus and picked one up at the store. So budgeting and I was like Oh cool, I'll stock up on another one.

Chase Peckham:

to each his own .

Katie Utterback:

It's funny, I think almost every episode Felipe tells us a new item at Costco, Costco and Aldi.

Felipe Arevalo:

I haven't mentioned Aldi in awhile . But you're right. And it's funny cause sometimes I'll, I'll my are going to support this podcast. My kid will say, you know what, I saw other two other kids at school wearing the same jacket. I'm like, well yeah we're five minutes from Costco. That's where we got it. That's where they got it.

Chase Peckham:

Oh my goodness.

Katie Utterback:

I just want to add on one other thing. Um, balance transfer cards relating to credit card debt.

Chase Peckham:

Yes.

Katie Utterback:

That's something I also learned here cause I always thought that if you had credit card debt then like well truthfully I thought that people were going to come looking for you cause I, it was like such a fear thing for me and now that I like.

Chase Peckham:

Just by carrying the debt?

Katie Utterback:

Yeah. Like it was like I almost felt like I was going to be written up and taken to the principal's office. Like that level of fear just, it makes no sense. But that's where I'm, that's where I'm rolling.

Chase Peckham:

But, and that's it. And don't take this wrong way. That's just ignorance. There's just not knowing.

Katie Utterback:

Yes. That's my, that's my whole point too is that I thought that I knew stuff about finance and money cause like you were saying like I, I went to college, I have a high school diploma. I thought that I was functioning well enough. But now I see there's just so many little things that you can do to improve your financial situation. So when I made a mistake and thought that I had paid off a credit card for our wedding and I turned out I hadn't, I didn't know what to do with that money cause I also at the same time had like the day before agreed to go buy a new couch with my husband. So now I'm like, Oh my gosh, I thought I was debt free and then was going to take on this couch payment.

Chase Peckham:

Oh, so you had money left over that you had thought was already earmarked for.

Katie Utterback:

correct. So carefully reading bills or your credit card statement. Something I've learned. Um, in December, I had somebody stole my credit card number, not the actual credit card, that was in my wallet the entire time and charged almost $2,000 rather than gas market. Yeah. So that was another thing. There was a card I barely use. It was the one card that has one charge. It was like my recurring Netflix payment to keep it active.

Chase Peckham:

Um , but the bank caught it, didn't they?

Katie Utterback:

No. There was no fraud alert that was sent off or anything.

Chase Peckham:

Did you make them aware?

Katie Utterback:

I did. I made them aware. Um ,

Chase Peckham:

so they're going pay , they're not going to charge you for those.

Katie Utterback:

Yeah. So all those charges have been reversed. Good . But it was one of those, if I hadn't called them, now we're talking, I wasn't going to be able to afford to pay off that full statement , uh , with thousands of gas charges.

Chase Peckham:

And you closed that card quickly, I take it?

Katie Utterback:

I did not close the card . They , I have a different card number, but I still have ,

Chase Peckham:

that's what I meant. Yeah . They sent you a new card with a new yes,

Katie Utterback:

I have a new, yeah, but that was my oldest account. I have , I've had it for almost 12 years. I did not want to lose that for my credit. Same numbers are still not out there. Yes. That same number is not out there, but what I learned from working here is that there are different , um, tools you can use, like a balance transfer card to help give yourself time to pay off that debt. So that's something that I took advantage of and it's amazing how much less stress and pressure I feel cause I like that. Yes. Yeah .

Felipe Arevalo:

And it's something that, you know , chase mentioned during the interview if they just did a class you mentioned home-ec and then they didn't have home-ec when I was in high school already.

Chase Peckham:

You're a wee bit younger than I am.

Felipe Arevalo:

a little bit but still had to California. Got rid of it quite a while, but earlier. But it actually wasn't, you know, some people three, four years older than me may have still had it. Um, so you know, but that was a different, and you mentioned maybe like a newer version of it and including a huge portion of it being personal finances because.

Chase Peckham:

I think it could be one semester class.

Felipe Arevalo:

Yeah . And much like you would take Econ.

Chase Peckham:

How much would you have gotten out of that you think? I mean, you learn that here and it's never too late to learn these skills. Right . And we do that when we work with people all the time about that. But the idea that young, if we get to young people sooner and they get that , I though these ideas before they're making the mistakes that we all make.

Katie Utterback:

No, I mean it would make a huge difference in my life. I'm 29 I started contributing to a 401k when I was 27 28 the previous years, even though I was working and I had an opportunity to contribute to a 401k, I was often, it was like a , the class was oftentimes led by the receptionist in the newsroom and then like one actually recommended to me. She was like, Oh honey, you're so young. Keep that money. Oh, and so now I'm like, Oh my gosh, how much compounded interest did I lose out on?! But I'm in it now, I made it now.

Chase Peckham:

Quite a bit. I'll never forget, my financial guy told me that if I would have started my 401k the year I started with my first year with the Padres when I was 25 years old, I didn't start contributing until I was 26 28 27 somewhere in there. He said I would have about 50 to $60,000 more in retirement.

Katie Utterback:

I'm going to run with that Same amount I'm missing too.

Chase Peckham:

but then by the time I retire, I would, it would, it would double that because it's just, it had been in there that much longer. Yeah, that's crazy.

Felipe Arevalo:

That's why I always like to tell people when we do the little 401k meetings , I'm not a financial planner but...

Chase Peckham:

Even if it's 50 bucks, even if it's 1% of your salary, whatever it might be, put it away. It put 5% of your 401k put 5% into your savings account or something. It's just pay yourself first. It's , you've got to do it.

Katie Utterback:

and don't give yourself the excuse. You're not a numbers or a math person. No , I'm in that camp too. We can all do this.

Chase Peckham:

I do this for a living and I'm the worst math on the planet. I'm terrible. I look , my buddy, my buddy friend of mine bet the over in a , in the national championship game, he's kind of , he likes to gamble and I think it's fun to watch. This is not an endorsement for gambling, but as they're sitting there, I'm going, Oh, we only, you only need four more points to get to it. And he's like, I only need three, Chase. Good quick math though. Like, this is why I don't gamble .

Katie Utterback:

No I mean But chase, you actually said something to me at the beginning because when we were , when I first met you and you were talking to me about all this personal finance stuff, it was really overwhelming. And I kind of was giving myself a cop out, like, Oh, I'm not really a numbers math person, so it's okay if I don't get this. But then you I think told me, no , no, no, no, no, no. This is 80% behavior. 20% knowledge. Yeah. And I was like, okay, I'm fascinated by psychology. Like I can do this. I can do it.

Chase Peckham:

It is money is so, so psychological, so psychological and, and, but again, it's just, it's creating good habits for yourself. Like anything else, if you're a student carving out time to do your homework at a decent hour, when you're not exhausted and you haven't been out to happy hour before you start studying, you know, those are the kinds of habits that are going to help you perform at your best going forward. It's going to , you can create good habits, maybe not as easily as we create the bad ones for ourselves, but you can't. And if you do, you're going to be happier. You're going to be less stressed and you're going to be able to, as the world changes, as your life changes, as you start making more money, as you start evolving, you're going to be, you're going to be ready for that. You're going to be much more ready for that. And making correct decisions. And I think that what Howard has done with creating that class is he's giving these kids an opportunity to wake up and be able to understand that, man, we , we're not robots. We don't just have to go through the motions. We can plan for what we want.

Felipe Arevalo:

And that whole campus is really one of the most active with trying to get financial information to their students, whether it's his class, the speaker series that we've both spoken at and, and participated in. Uh, they've got that literacy center that they're there , they're getting ready to launch here. So Mesa is really one of the ones that as far as what we've seen is really at the forefront. And we have other community colleges come up to us and say, Oh, we want to do what Mesa's doing. Um, and it's like, what do we need? Well, first you need to find a Howard, right? And someone to like champion the movement. And then you got to get the administration behind you and then you can start. And I think that's where the roadblock,

Chase Peckham:

yeah, that's the roadblock. But Hey, they persevered. And you know what , uh , if other schools can follow suit, shoot. If the state of California can figure this out.

Felipe Arevalo:

So the state of California doesn't end up doing really bad when they grade States on this.

Chase Peckham:

Someday this is going to be back in high schools some days someday . Anyway, an imaginary glass. I'd like to toast to Howard and what he's done and thank him for letting us be a small part of it all. Cheers to Howard.