$ 6.4 Billion. in. a. day.


Do you care about money? Sure you do, we all do, maybe not all the time and maybe it’s not the most important thing but like it or not, financial health is almost as important as physical health and mental health. At least that’s the message in my classroom.


I should name my real-life math unit, “How can Walt be so damn happy on a teacher’s salary?” But since I hate it when teachers whine about money, I’ll go with the importance of financial health.


The other message in class is there is no fair in how we distribute wealth. Right? I mean, wouldn’t it be great if we had equal pay for equal work? If the tax rate was the same for everyone? If we all could afford what it takes to live the good life? And I’m not talking Jeff Bezos’ good life, I’m talking my Eastside friends’ good life.


Start with jobs. Education=Money right? Meaning, just like investing in the market, if you invest in yourself you increase your earning potential. I use phlebotomy as an easy example but you can sub in cosmetology, real estate, teaching or really any other field where more training and more education mean more money.


“I just want to work as little as possible, get up as late as possible, be as happy as possible and make as much money as possible.” Said every student ever especially after COVID when the government was suspending loan payments and giving out free money. Plus, work (and school) meant opening up your computer and watching little squares of people talk. We got used to no commute costs or lunch costs or work outfit costs and guess what happens when we get used to something?  The crisis is now over, time to get back to the new normal or better yet, learn from COVID and evolve.


Hate work? You shouldn’t because it’s what you will fill much of your time on this planet with so you better find some intrinsic rewards to keep an honest smile on your face. I love teaching and coaching but would I rather be sitting on the beach? Uh, heck yes. Guess I should have been a lifeguard.


Work should not be a pain, as I’ve explained many times, but when you are 17, sometimes it’s hard to find joy in that shift at Taco Bell. Sometimes work is just work, stay busy, do more than people expect you to do and plan for what comes next.


Did you know A.I. is the new Bitcoin? Did you read about the 6.4 billion Jensen Huang made in a day? Stock in his company, Nvidia exploded because of the A100 chip. Everyone wants to invest, the value skyrocketed and -BAM- 6.4 billion in a day.


Were you all in with bitcoin or NFTs or the Art Market (best movie ever to explain insane Art prices, “Exit Through the Giftshop”, trust me, I show it every year in class). Our financial system has a lot of Ponzi schemes where the way to make money is to dupe more people into investing. But when you think about it, appreciation is just an increase in the popularity of things leading to a rise in the value of those things. This is why we have influencers and also why the stock market usually heads in a positive direction.


But making 6.4 billion in a day means that things are a little off. The wealthy paying less in taxes than the poor is a little off, the ex-president paying less taxes than me is a little off and corporations paying zero tax is more than a little off. Gone are the days when working hard and having innovative ideas gets you to the top. Today it’s pick the right Apple or Netflix or Nvidia then watch the system work.


Yes, Bernie Sanders is right, capitalism is unfair but it’s what we have so better to understand it rather than fear it. And yes, there are a lot of dumb ass people making big ass money but that’s also how it works. I love telling the story of driving a private wine tour charter and listening to two people argue from Calistoga to Yountville about whose oversized hardwood door to their Hawaiian vacation home was the most beautiful.


I am getting to the other side of the diamond in life (great analogy, productivity is like a diamond on it’s side starting small and growing until it reaches a max size then shrinking until the end. And yes, some people are more Kite-like than Diamond-like but you get the idea). I have a simple financial goal to have everything in place when I retire in a few years. House paid off, retirement in place, kids secure-American Dream kinda stuff but all that requires planning and work (or, at least in my case, marrying the right person who plans well and works hard).


We need more discussions about financial health. Why can I buy a hammer from Parsons for $10. when the military charges $435.? (this is kinda fake news but what a dramatic way to make a point!) How many social ills could be solved with 6.4 billion dollars? Why don’t we teach more about budgets and investing and loans and taxes and compound interest?


And my most pressing issue, how do we get students to care?


The answer, of course, is to make a Tik Tok video.











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