Alan Olsen: Welcome to American Dreams I visit here today with Chad Willardson. Chad, welcome to today’s show.
Chad Willardson: Thank you appreciate you having me on.
Alan Olsen: So Chad, you’ve done some remarkable things in the world of financial planning, put a couple of books out there. But before we get into that, can you give us your background and how you arrived at where you are today?
Chad Willardson: Sure. So I’m a Southern California boy. I love the beach loves sports. I grew up here in Southern California as the oldest of four kids. And my dad was actually he started off as a CPA, and then became a Corporate Controller for Denny’s and got in the food industry and ended up being in the egg industry of all places. So his final position before he retired was CEO of an egg company that was affiliated with Lando lakes. So not farmers. I wish I could say I grew up as a farmer and learning the lessons on a farm. But yeah, he was in the egg industry, but in finance, and I studied economics. And immediately out of college, I went directly and started working for Merrill Lynch, Wealth Management, spent nine years there, and then left and started my own fiduciary firm called Pacific Capital. So been doing this for about 20 years. And it’s my passion. My wife and I have been married since 2001. And we’ve got five kids, ages six to 17. So financial literacy for kids is something it’s it’s not really a business focus, but it’s a mission focus. For me, it’s something I’m very passionate about. So I’ve done a few things recently that I’m sure we’ll get to talk about, that’s really hoping to move the needle in terms of financial literacy for kids.
Alan Olsen: I want to jump into that. Because today’s world, across the gamut about what the financial values for kids are, but what are some of the most important values and principles for kids to learn so that they avoid the major money mistakes as adults?
Chad Willardson: Yes, that’s a great question Alan, the challenge that we have here is that kids are not really getting that financial, that personal finance education that prepares them to be adults. And so it’s not happening in the school systems. And most of the time, it’s actually not happening at home. And what I feel very strongly about as we can change the trajectory of these young people, by giving them more confidence and giving them a foundation of what really money means and how to make decisions and navigate this difficult world, when it comes to making money decisions, because not everyone is going to be a scientist or a doctor. But everyone as an adult is going to have to make decisions about money. And so the principles they can learn simple principles. But where does money come from? What does it mean to borrow wisely, versus making very difficult and harmful decisions about borrowing? You know, we’ve seen student loan debt and mortgages and defaults and things like that, that have been on the rise, just financial literacy impacts all of that. I think one of the challenges that banks aren’t really addressing are teaching kids actually how to earn money. Kids learn how to spend money they have, there’s companies that are giving debit cards to kids, and they learn about spending money and borrowing money, but no one was really teaching about entrepreneurship and earning money. And I feel like that’s something that we’ve made a lot of traction and is teaching kids about how to how to be valuable and do things they enjoy while earning money at the same time, which gives them that sense of, of independence, teaching about generosity. That’s chapter seven, in my book, talking about teaching kids to be givers, and to think abundantly, I think that’s critical to support their future.
Alan Olsen: I think part of your book, you talked about the gamification of money I remember, growing up the two games, monopoly and the game of life, right, I would teach us about but if we go if we go into that as segment of why does gamification work and and the core, you know, that drives motivation to inspire action for kids.
Chad Willardson: I’d say kids learn through games, they learn visually, they learn through experiences, they learn by doing, and kids love playing games. It’s the same reason when we listen to a speaker we love hearing stories. It just sticks better. And so now Nowadays, kids look not only like games, but they like games where they can create where they have some ownership where they have some buy in where they can actually compete. But at the same time, they have creativity and autonomy inside the game. And so I’m sure you’re aware of the company that we started called gravy stack, with Scott Donnell and Travis Adams and some other great tech entrepreneurs. Really, it’s a game that teaches kids about money. But first and foremost, it’s a game. So it’s an app, that’s going to have a debit card attached to it. But it has all those fun factors of keeping kids wanting to come back. But for a good cause. They’re going to be learning missions and achieving challenges and getting financial literacy certificates, creating digital assets that are NFT’s all kinds of exciting things inside of a game that motivates them to come back and do good things.
Alan Olsen: What systems do you recommend for parents to help build their family values and structures to keep them in regular check with the making sure that the core values for proper wealth management are in place?
Chad Willardson: I feel like that the first and foremost, parents need to actually have money conversations as a family. I think that’s the biggest thing we’re missing is, it’s not really talked about. It’s more comfortable for parents to talk about drugs and sexual matters and not talk about money, they avoid the topic. And sometimes money is just a controversial, maybe contentious topic in the home. So the more we can normalize, regular, consistent money conversations, the more your kids or grandkids will be comfortable learning about this, because they know that it’s not a topic that just turns into arguments or problems or a negative connotation. So I think the system or the process is really just having maybe even just a regular once a week, focus of like this week, we’re going to talk about one topic, maybe we’re talking about debt, maybe we’re talking about saving, maybe we’re talking about budgeting. I’ve got a website that has a list of tons of free resources and links to courses, articles, videos, that we’ve put out there just hoping that families and kids will will go there and take a peek and just maybe start the conversation. Because that’s what we’re missing right now.
Alan Olsen: Let’s talk about that website. So first of all, how does the individual find that? That site?
Chad Willardson: Yeah, so the site is Pacificcapital.com/smartnotspoiled. And we’ve got different topics on there. Entrepreneurship, borrowing, insurance, just links these are all third party resources, none of them are mined. But we’ve we basically looked at so many different options and said, these are great little snippets or conversation starters that you can use with your kids.
Alan Olsen: So when when it comes to the kids or the or the entrepreneurial kids, are they created or is it a natural in the genetics, for them being that?
Chad Willardson: Yes. Are kids born entrepreneurs or not? Is what you’re asking Alan, right? I personally was not a kid that had a bunch of businesses. When I was younger, I feel like I developed into an entrepreneur. So I know there are stories of kids that were already starting their own business and they’re seven years old. My niece recently had a she is trying to make money everywhere she goes, she’s only 10 years old. And if she’s going to a basketball game, or a high school basketball game, she’s going to make bracelets there to the home team’s color and she’s going to be out there selling the bracelets, you know, that’s just her that’s in her nature. I had to work and earn money as a kid. We didn’t have a lot. I was a very low to middle income family growing up. But I’m definitely an entrepreneur now. So I think it’s something that can be taught. Once kids learn that they can somewhat create their own future, then their mind opens up to what’s possible. So my middle son is 12. He loves animals. I helped him start a dog walking business. So he went around the neighborhood on his scooter, he made flyers. He got a bunch of clients and now he after school, he will take certain people’s dogs on a walk. He’ll feed them and we’ll come back and he earns his own money. My older daughter is really, really into basketball. She’s a sponsored basketball player. So she hosts weekend clinics for young kids. She’s outside playing basketball. And then sometimes when she’s got a full class she’s earning $140 an hour, you know, doing something she enjoys. Whereas she said dad, I could be at a fast food place, you know, making $12 an hour, mopping the floor, but I get to play basketball and teach kids and I’m making a lot more. So I think once we help kids learn that it’s, there are many opportunities out there, then their mind just opens up to what’s possible.
Alan Olsen: You know, Chad, you’ve done the number of books on financial literacy. And then you also have a successful business in in that area. How do you how do you decide on individuals that you want to work with? Person comes to me say, hey, Chad, can you help me out? What is that ideal client for you?
Chad Willardson: That’s great question. I’ve found over the years that the client mindset matters a lot more than the demographics and geography. It just seems that we look for probably a pretty narrow audience. Our clients are entrepreneurs, most of them are family focused. Most of them have seven to eight figure incomes. Our new client minimum for someone who’s becoming an investment advisory client has at least $5 million to open an account. They’re goal focused, they’re growth focus, they’re looking at life, as more than just money. Often they have a lot of people that depend on them, whether it’s family employees, or otherwise, they’ve got investments in many different things. Our clients do not they’re not one trick ponies, they’ve got real estate, they’ve got many businesses, they have privately held investments. And our job really is to work with their other professionals, their tax professionals, their attorneys, and really coordinate everything and make sure the investments we’re managing fit very nicely into what they want to accomplish.
Alan Olsen: Okay, if the person wants to pick up one of your books, how would they do so?
Chad Willardson: Yeah, on Amazon, I’ll show real quick. But the first book is stress free money. overcome these seven obstacles to find financial freedom that’s on Amazon. And then smart, not spoiled is the second book. The seven money skills kids must master before leaving the nest. You know, they’re available on audio, as well as ebook or any other format. They’re on Amazon. I just submitted my draft for my third book. The title is called Beyond the money. And it’s eight lifestyle shifts for entrepreneurs with eight figures or more. So I’m really excited about that gathered a lot of smart wisdom from people like you. So I’m excited for that to come out this fall.
Alan Olsen: I look forward to seeing the but Chad, we’re up against our time right now. Any final words before we close?
Chad Willardson: Yeah, I would, I would just say that. My final message would be related to the kind of the book titles I chose, but stress free money. Regardless of your income level or financial net worth level, I believe it’s possible, with a great team of people around you. With some forethought and planning. You really can reduce stress and enjoy life more. And then smart, not spoiled. Kids have more and expect more than they ever did before. And I think it’s our job as parents, mentors, grandparents to really help teach them and give them the tools and resources to help them be more thoughtfully and financially prepared to be successful adults. So I’ll close with that.
Alan Olsen: Okay, and once again, individuals that want to reach out to you, how would they go ahead and get ahold of you?
Chad Willardson: Yeah, I’m active on LinkedIn, or Pacific capital.com.
Alan Olsen: Okay, thanks for being with us today.
Chad Willardson: Thank you, Alan.
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This transcript was generated by software and may not accurately reflect exactly what was said.
Alan Olsen, is the Host of the American Dreams Show and the Managing Partner of GROCO.com. GROCO is a premier family office and tax advisory firm located in the San Francisco Bay area serving clients all over the world.
Alan L. Olsen, CPA, Wikipedia Bio
GROCO.com is a proud sponsor of The American Dreams Show.
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About Chad Willardson:
Chad Willardson, CFF, CRPC®, AWMA®, is the President of Pacific Capital, a fiduciary wealth advisory firm he founded in 2011 that serves entrepreneurs and families. His bestselling first book, Stress Free Money, has been featured in Forbes’s “21 Books To Read In 2021” and on NBC News and Yahoo! Finance. In addition to serving the family office clients of Pacific Capital, Chad also manages the $375 million investment portfolio as the elected City Treasurer in his community. Chad is recognized as one of the top wealth management experts in the country and has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Inc., U.S. News & World Report, InvestmentNews, Entrepreneur, and Financial Advisor Magazine. He lives in Southern California with his wife, Amber, and their five children.