We are pleased to share the money memories of William “Bill” Yount. Bill is an Emergency Physician and a strong advocate of early and ongoing financial literacy.
Bill came to Financial Literacy late as a middle aged man. He was a highly compensated professional living paycheck to paycheck beset by the insidious monster of lifestyle inflation. Bill feels financial literacy is a language we all must learn to speak so we are able to manage our money and have the opportunities for financial freedom and living life on our terms.
Yount started the Facebook Group Financial Literacy Project. It’s purpose is to attract a diverse community of followers that includes everyone from those taking their first baby steps in personal finance to those fluent in financial literacy and all in between.
TOLD WE DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH
Leslie: Share with us a little bit about growing up – your family and community and what lead you to this career.
Bill: I grew up in an upper middle class home. I was the first born son of a doctor/professor father and a nurse/homemaker mother with 2 younger siblings. Money was never a topic of conversation in our family, except we were told we did not have enough of it.
Leslie: Share with us your first money memories.
Bill: I remember earning $5 per week as an assistant camp counsellor at age 9. I worked with 3-4 year olds before I ever went to camp as a camper.
HELP OUT THE FAMILY
Leslie: What was your first savings memory?
Bill: I had a passbook savings account where I put my paychecks. I remember working growing up, starting around 9 years old to “help out the family”.
Leslie: Who was your primary or one your main money mentors as a child or teen?
Bill: I really did not have a money mentor as a child or teen.
SAVINGS AS A TOOL FOR YOUR FUTURE SELF
Leslie: At what age and how did you come to realize money had a value?
Bill: I don’t remember the specific age. But I do recall realizing money gave me the freedom to get me what I wanted without having to ask my parents.
WORK WORK WORK
Leslie: Did you work as a teen and/or in college?
Bill: Yes. I had a variety of jobs. I worked as a camp counselor, in a grocery store, as a dishwasher at a popular breakfast joint, as a waiter, and as a deli clerk at a gourmet food store.
LEVERAGED GRADES INTO MONEY
Leslie: What was one mistake or regret you made as a kid, teen or college student with money. And, what was one smart money choice you made?
Bill: I never learned to save first in my formative years. On the positive side, I did learn the value of hard work and earning money. Having a good work ethic helped me get good grades and qualify for scholarship money.
Leslie: What peaked your interest in personal finance?
Bill: Waking up in my forties to an inadequate nest egg and no plan.
KNOW YOURSELF & MEET YOUR FUTURE SELF
Leslie: One question, I ask everyone is: If you could only teach a child one money habit, what would it be and why?
Bill: Know yourself and your why. Be sure to start saving early for your future self so you are able to achieve a measure of financial freedom.
Leslie: Is it important to teach kids about money? Why? At what age should parents start?
Bill: EMPHATICALLY YES! It should start early, around age 2, when words develop (crawl, walk, run)! Begin with wants and needs and delayed versus immediate gratification. Then migrate to giving, saving, and spending intentionally. Do it in that order.
DEVELOP MONEY MINDSET
Leslie: Should personal finance be taught in schools?
Bill: EMPHATICALLY YES!
THOUGHTS FROM BILL ON A FEW PERSONAL FINANCE TOPICS
Bill: Debt management is a critical defensive foundational skill. First, make sure you limit your debt to only what you need. Second, engineer a plan to pay off your debt in advance of taking on student loans. Your plan should identify when your debt will end, your career and what you will earn. Don’t shackle your future self to large debt and erode your financial freedom.
Bill: DON’T do it until you are ready to pay them off.
FINANCIAL PET PEEVES
Bill: No practical tangible actionable developmental education in schools. Money talk remains taboo in families and in general with others that we could learn from.
FAVORITE BOOK ON PERSONAL FINANCE
Bill: I have MANY. “If You Can: How Millennials Get Rich,” by William Bernstein is excellent.
FAVORITE MONEY QUOTE
Bill: Stay the course.” — Jack Bogle
FAVORITE MAGAZINE, WEBSITES, RESOURCES
Bill: Some of my favorite websites are: Humble Dollar, Mr. Money Mustache, White Coast Investor, Physician on Fire, Passive Income MD, Radical Personal Finance, Money for the Rest of Us and Choose FI.
Bill: William Bernstein, Rick Ferri, Allan Roth, Jack Bogle, Paul Merriman, Jonathan Clements, J. David Stein, Jordan Grummet, Jim Dahle, Lief Dahleen, Peter Kim, Sarah-Catherine Phillips Guttierez, Ryan Inman, Meb Faber, Paul Thompson
Bill: I think the best way to end the generational inheritance of financial illiteracy is to retrospectively reeducate the parental generations so that children see how to have a healthy relationship with money and manage their finances. Just in time education all along the developmental path is a great prospective way as well.