June 12, 2024

How to Help Your Young Adult Build Wealth in Niche Professions (DF#153)

How to Help Your Young Adult Build Wealth in Niche Professions

How to Help Your Young Adult Skip College Debt

Join us for an eye-opening episode where we share a story of guiding an 18-year-old to a unique career path through artisan jobs like tailor, cobbler, shoemaker, or upholsterer.

Discover the rising demand for these skills and the potential for high income.

What You’ll Learn:

- The benefits of self-employment and flexibility in artisan professions compared to traditional jobs
- Insights on business ownership and building wealth through self-employment
- The importance of working towards high-paying careers and self-assessment for job-seeking or entrepreneurship

Explore the challenges and rewards of self-employment, the value of financial literacy, and the need for increased income to address financial difficulties.

Join us for more valuable insights and learn about our launch program and book.

Enjoy the episode!

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Catch our last episode to hear how a young adult found career success through the Launch Program, with insights on prioritizing needs, valuing skills over degrees, and achieving financial goals—tune in now!

Links and Notes from the Episode

Episode Summary:

In this podcast episode, Hannah and Ryan Maruyama talk about an 18-year-old from North Carolina who discovered unique career options through their Launch Program. They discuss tailored, cobbling, shoemaking, and upholstery as in-demand professions for maintaining high-quality possessions.

They promote a bespoke tailoring academy in Dallas as an affordable option for learning these skills, highlighting the potential for self-employment and business ownership in niche professions. The conversation delves into the differences between self-employment and business ownership, stressing the importance of financial literacy and understanding the risks of college debt.

They caution against taking out home equity loans to pay for education, urging listeners to make informed financial decisions for their long-term well-being. They address the issue of overspending and increasing income as a solution to financial challenges, advocating for personal responsibility and rational money management. They emphasize the importance of exploring options before committing to college to avoid student loan debt and to value one's skills in both job-seeking and entrepreneurship.

Connect with Ryan:

Connect With Hannah:

Action Steps & Recommendations:

  • Explore alternative career options like tailoring, cobbling, shoemaking, and upholstery
  • Consider attending a bespoke tailoring academy in Dallas for cost-effective training
  • Evaluate the potential for self-employment and starting a business in niche professions
  • Prioritize increasing income over complex financial solutions like loans or relying on retirement savings
  • Understand the risks associated with college debt and carefully consider different financial options
  • Recognize and value your skills in job-seeking and entrepreneurship
  • Avoid the tendency to seek free value and prioritize productivity


  • 00:01:11 - The rising demand for artisan jobs like tailor and cobbler
  • 00:04:05 - Options and job opportunities for seamstresses and tailors
  • 00:07:07 - The pathway to self-employment and building a career outside of traditional education
  • 00:12:11 - Self-employment vs. business ownership
  • 00:13:07 - Transitioning from employed to self-employed
  • 00:14:48 - Parents' advice on self-employment for young adults
  • 00:24:27 - Financial literacy vs. financial practice
  • 00:27:38 - Focus on increasing income
  • 00:31:53 - Long-term consequences of financial decisions
  • 00:33:51 - Importance of exploring options before committing to college due to high costs
  • 00:34:27 - Lack of awareness about bankruptcy exemption for student loans
  • 00:36:33 - Helping individuals recognize and leverage their existing skills for job transitions
  • 00:44:30 - Overcoming procrastination
  • 00:44:57 - Preview of next week's episode
  • 00:44:57 - Promotion of launch program and book pre-order

References, Resources Mentioned & Suggested Reading:

Episode Transcript
Please enjoy this transcript or our episode!

Please note the transcript may have a few errors. We're human. It can be hard to catch all the errors from a full length conversation. Enjoy!

Hannah Maruyama [00:00:00]:
The whole academic industrial complex is based on you not understanding these loan terms, on getting screwed on the interest later, on not understanding how to get them together, and the fact that you can't get out of them. It's crazy.

Ryan Maruyama [00:00:17]:
Aloha folks and welcome back to degree free. I am super excited to be back. We have a bunch of stuff that we wanna get into this week. Let's jump right into it. I think you wanted to start off this week, right?

Hannah Maruyama [00:00:28]:
I did. I have a story for everybody and we love a good story. So basically what happened was we were working with a, an 18 year old from North Carolina and she really wasn't sure what path to take. She's working a lot of the folks that we work with in launch program actually do have jobs, which is awesome. So she's working already. She's working a full time job, but she really wasn't sure what her next move was to get where she wanted to go. So she came to the launch program and after about 5 weeks, we had narrowed down her options. And actually the one she ended up with was so unique that I felt the need to share it on this podcast.

Hannah Maruyama [00:01:11]:
So basically after she figured out what she needed from work, she's in a position where she doesn't have to pay a crazy amount for housing long term, which is awesome. Anytime you can help your kids with that, that's fantastic. And she narrowed down what she wanted to do to 3 different options that met her needs. And the three things that she narrowed it down to were tailor, cobbler, shoemaker, and upholsterer. Believe it or not, cobblers and shoemakers are still a thing very much so. And actually what's interesting about that was I found that there's rising demand for that because people are, as they buy better things, they want to maintain those things. It seems like there's this very interesting job market where if you get into these craft artisan jobs, and then you stay in them, you're able to get a better client over time as your work gets more fine, which you and I know to be true. But it was really interesting as I was researching and finding these options for her.

Hannah Maruyama [00:02:03]:
So in case you're wondering, there are places to learn all of these skills and the top option on her top choice, which was seamstress was really cool because there is actually a school in Dallas, Texas, that is a bespoke tailoring academy. That's a laughable fraction of what you would pay for college. And it's an 8 month program and you come out of that fully able to tailor and fix suits, so dresses. So for any buddy whose kids are interested in those types of jobs, because those jobs can meet their needs. This is an amazing, amazing option. I was so interested by the different schools and different avenues for her to learn the skill set because I had seen a video a while back of a lady on TikTok who's a master tailor and she was booked out like a year and a half, I think, in work. She did a lot of wedding dress alterations and did a lot of suit alterations. Makes sense that if you are getting something that expensive altered, it is also expensive to get it altered or fixed or made.

Hannah Maruyama [00:03:09]:
This lady, I think she was from Iowa, somewhere in the middle of the country. And she was just saying that if you're a good seamstress, if you're a good tailor, you can easily, easily make a $100,000 a year doing that. And she was well past that amount of money. And so it was very interesting to see how she had just built this business by just doing work and doing work, not in any kind of crazy way, but she had just had a skill with her hands and she had made a wonderful career and life for herself. And so I was able to give options to learn those exact skills for this girl who came through the launch program.

Ryan Maruyama [00:03:45]:
So seemingly going this route with a bespoke Taylor Regarding the options when they're done with the program, what are they? So is it just starting a business or is it working somewhere?

Hannah Maruyama [00:04:03]:
Oh, yeah. There are available jobs for seamstresses or tailors all over the place. They could work for a corporation, you know, so they could work in alterations at a bridal shop. They could work at a Joseph A. Bank or a Brooks Brothers if they want to. Cause they keep those folks on staff too. But also there are a lot of local businesses that do this. So dry cleaners frequently have seamstress or tailors and the wage that's paid to them is often very close to what you're going

Ryan Maruyama [00:04:30]:
to make as a college graduate coming out of school. Seemingly if you go that route though, at a dry cleaner or at some place that isn't as tailored. Tailored. Right. Exactly. You're probably going to get paid less.

Hannah Maruyama [00:04:43]:
Yeah. The goal there would be to gain experience and do it in a low risk way, and then go out on your own. You and I both know that that's a really good way to create work that allows for a flexible schedule, which was something that was important to her into the future. It was a really amazing thing to see all of her needs and priorities come together and dictate these options, and then be able to search within the boundaries of them and just find these unbelievable ways to learn skills that are just not available anywhere else.

Ryan Maruyama [00:05:14]:
Yeah. I wanted to talk about that because it seems like if you think about it, or at least from a layman's perspective, from somebody that doesn't know anything about being a tailor or anything about making clothes. In fact, I was actually watching this mini documentary, Anthony Bourdain. I guess I wasn't planning on putting this up, but Anthony Bourdain before he passed away, he did like a 8 part mini series with Balvini, the scotch company Balvini. Yeah. And it's called raw craft and you can look it up on YouTube. It's awesome.

Hannah Maruyama [00:05:49]:
I'm pretending like I haven't been shown multiple clips. Ryan's been obsessed with the series recently. It's

Ryan Maruyama [00:05:54]:
beautiful. It's like 8 minutes long. So they're very short or they're very consumable. 1 of the episodes was a tailor and he was making these tailored suits for Bourdain. And he was showing the process of measuring and picking the material. And it was fascinating as somebody who doesn't know anything about or clothes in general, I'm probably the least fashionable person that you have ever met. Like the least.

Hannah Maruyama [00:06:31]:
I'm not arguing.

Ryan Maruyama [00:06:32]:
And so it just seems like that type of work is really, really niche. And it seems like the way that you make money in that profession is to do what that person was doing as well and do what the person that you're speaking about is doing as well, which is kind of being a freelancer or startup business owner and starting your own business and starting your own shop and doing it that way and kind of being a service provider, seemingly that seems the way to make money and move up in this industry.

Hannah Maruyama [00:07:02]:
Someone sent me a very, very fascinating quad and it was this, so it's a square and there's 4 boxes in this square. And in the first box is, and they were talking about how we teach employment in schools. And what I'm coming across in the LAUNCH program a lot is that many of the young adults I'm working with because of what they want to do and how they want to do it are going to end up or should end up in self employment at least. And I say self employment because in this quad, it talks about employee being the first one. This is the one that we teach in schools because teachers, for the most part, that's kind of all they know. So there's employees they teach you to go to college and buy a degree and then go become an employee, which there's nothing wrong with. But if you want to have more control, if you want to build something of your own, if you want to build your own job, what you want is self employment, which is exactly what you're describing, which is where you do something and you trade your labor for money in the same way that you do when you're an employee, but somebody else dictates the way in which you do that. Whereas if you were self employed, you dictate the way in which you exchange services for money or products for money.

Hannah Maruyama [00:08:08]:
And so for a lot of the young adults I'm working with now, and I usually outline this too. I outline a path to self employment. There's another individual I was working with and she was really interested in occupational therapy. And for her, one of the pathways I outlined was actually massage therapy because there's a lot there that would eventually allow her to have a more higher earning potential. And if she starts in occupational therapy as an aid, it reduces her downside risk instead of just going all the way to occupational therapist, because it's very expensive and time consuming. And honestly, it's kind of a rough job. A lot of people, expensive and time consuming. And honestly, it's kind of a rough job.

Hannah Maruyama [00:08:40]:
A lot of people end up leaving it because it's a very difficult profession. But for her, she's going to get that experience and she's going to be able to work in that industry with that type of clientele. And then she can then build a massage therapy business on the side potentially to exit her actual job because she would be working with doctors, with therapists in and around chiropractors or sports medicine or orthopedics. Because of that, there's a very direct path for her to go, all right, I'm going to get a massage therapy license. And now her hourly, she goes from employee to self employed.

Ryan Maruyama [00:09:13]:
And I wanted to basically talk about that just to give people an idea when you're going through these types of trainings, especially when you come through the launch program. So the training isn't the end goal. A lot of people think that college is the end goal. Like I'm gonna go to college because I'm gonna go to college. Going to college for college's sake. We don't think like that at all. And so I just wanted to talk to people who were thinking about that path or who their children are thinking about that path. What is the end goal? So you come to us, we tell you, you know, how to get the learning.

Ryan Maruyama [00:09:46]:
And then what does the end look like? What does their life look like at the end? And I think obviously I'm biased heavily, but I think that business ownership and self employment is a really, really good route, especially for those people that really want that flexibility as you're speaking of, it's a lot harder. I can vouch for that. I think it's very, very underrated to just go get a high paying job somewhere. Like I think that that's a very, very underrated approach to building wealth and building the life that you want.

Hannah Maruyama [00:10:19]:
Or even getting a low paying job and then getting promoted into a high paying job.

Ryan Maruyama [00:10:23]:
That's what I mean. I mean, obviously most people don't just end up in a high paying job. I'm just saying eventually working your way to a high paying job somewhere. The problem is depending on what you want to do, you're going to have to figure out how to get there. Like some industries are easier to do that than others. The path is much clearer. Let's just say, for example, instead of being a tailor, you wanted to work in tech or you wanted to be a product manager or you wanted to be fill in the blank investment banker or something that typically has very large salaries attached to it. You want it to be a software developer.

Ryan Maruyama [00:11:05]:
Typically those are going to be easier to make those larger salaries. You can still do it with very niche things like this, like being a tailor, I'm sure there are a few jobs or a bunch of jobs where you can go and make 200, 300, 400 plus $1,000 a year. There's just gonna be less of them. I'm not saying that it was her goal, but if that is their goal and they want to make a little bit of more money, the path pretty much leads you, especially the more niche you get leads you towards that self employment route. And I'm glad that you'd brought up that you call it a quad or that 2 by 2 matrix. Obviously, I'm biased because of the path that you and I chose business ownership, entrepreneurship, self employment, whatever you wanna call it. And I think there are levels. It is very tough and all those people that own a business right now know that.

Hannah Maruyama [00:12:05]:

Ryan Maruyama [00:12:05]:
And so it is very, very difficult to go that route. I actually think the self employment route can be simple though. Isn't that difficult?

Hannah Maruyama [00:12:14]:
No. It's it's simple, but it's hard.

Ryan Maruyama [00:12:16]:
Basically, the distinction that I'm making between self employment and being a business owner is self employment. You're a service provider or you are doing the product fulfillment yourself. Those types of things. You're a one man band and you're doing it all. And so you're making the suits. You're doing the marketing. You're doing the whatever. More than likely, you're only gonna be able to handle whatever a hundred, let's call it 200, whatever it is, some nominal amount of business in the entire year because it's just you or it's just you and another person that helps you do the billing or do the admin or whatever it is.

Ryan Maruyama [00:12:54]:
Going from employed to self employed, that jumps pretty easy. It's gonna take some time. Sure. And you gotta learn some skills and all that. But that's that job is pretty easy going the next one and into working your way out of that job if you want to do that and then making that whole business like automated and making 1,000,000 of dollars a year, that is a much tougher leap.

Hannah Maruyama [00:13:18]:
So just to visualize for folks, let's use a laundromat as an example. So if you are employed at a laundromat, you go there every day, you clock in at the same time and you do your job, help customers, and then you leave. If you are self employed by owning the laundromat, you go there every day and you do the same thing as the employee, but then also you come before the employees and you leave after the employees, but it's your business. And so you own it. Now, if you were a business owner, that means that you own a laundromat and you don't go to the laundromat. Ideally, that would be how that looks different. The final one would just be, you don't even deal directly with your businesses and you have multiples of them. That's the final quadrant, which is independence basically.

Hannah Maruyama [00:14:02]:
But I want to encourage parents here though, because many young adults are interested in being self employed and the lowest risk time for them to do that is when they are young, when they are not supporting a family, and when they are on your health insurance. It's that now is the time. So Ryan and I have talked at length about the fact that college age adult is a horrible term because it's ridiculous. It means the colleges own your child until you ransom them away from them, which is absurd, which is why we use the term young adult or new adult. So for your young adult, the best time for them to try that if they ever want to be self employed is while they're still with you. And the risk for them is on the floor if they fail.

Ryan Maruyama [00:14:41]:
I will say the last thing about the self employment and the business stuff is that you got to know the numbers going in, or at least you should know the numbers going in. The chances that you're going to make it and be, quote, successful and your business isn't gonna shutter in 2 years is actually pretty low. It's actually entrepreneurs are probably the most optimistic people in the world because you're literally starting an endeavor that's probably not gonna work out. And you just think like, oh, okay. Well, I have something that's different than all these other people. It's tough. I will say that, but I totally agree with what you're saying in that it is the least risky to do it while they're still young. And then also, if they start their own thing while they're young, the amount of learning that they're going to be able to take away from that is Unreal.

Ryan Maruyama [00:15:41]:
Yes. Because they're going to know whatever that industry is inside and out because they'll have to do all of the jobs in that industry. All that said, it's something that I've been thinking about doing more of. I mean, probably not. We've got so many other things that we all do, but it's something that I've been thinking about for a long time about doing more of, which is talking about business and talking about how to build businesses and build brands, things like that. If that's of interest to you, you can comment YouTube, Spotify. Let me know how you're feeling about that. But, yeah, that was a great story about the launch program And for those wanting to apply to the launch program for your 16 to 20 year old, you can go to degree free dotc0forward/launch to apply there.

Ryan Maruyama [00:16:28]:
Moving on, you and I were listening to a podcast and and the podcast is all about personal finance. This podcast episode that we were listening to was all about how these parents were in debt because of their child's college debt.

Hannah Maruyama [00:16:51]:
It was such a crazy episode. It was surreal listening to it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:16:56]:
I don't want to say the podcast or anything like that, because I'm going to disagree a little bit here. I'm just gonna say as a personal finance podcast and they were talking about the parents specifically were calling in and they were talking about how they are in debt due to their daughter's decision to go to college. And she was taking a long time shocker. She was taking more than 40 years to get her degree.

Hannah Maruyama [00:17:26]:
Oh, it's not like that happens to most college students. Right?

Ryan Maruyama [00:17:28]:
Exactly. It was very difficult. They couldn't get funding or they couldn't consolidate all their loans. There's like a lot of loans

Hannah Maruyama [00:17:36]:
that they,

Ryan Maruyama [00:17:37]:
right. Because they made too much money for financial aid. Yeah. For financial aid, for the FAFSA. They got denied for that, but they weren't rich obviously. And so they had how much in debt? $178,000

Hannah Maruyama [00:17:54]:
and the child had only gotten an associate's degree thus far. Before we go further into it too, I do want to say that listening to this podcast episode was so wild because it was representative of that Education Data Initiative roll up report about the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the NCES data, the National Center For Education Statistics data about the average cost of college degree. They were saying, if it takes you more than 4 years, it's going to cost you 156,000 dollars to get a bachelor's degree. She was at 146 and she was 1 semester away from getting a bachelor's degree. Literally the average. This family was a representation of that information.

Ryan Maruyama [00:18:32]:
What I wanted to talk about with this podcast that you and I were listening to, obviously this is a personal finance podcast. What they were really focused in on. I mean, these guys were like wolves on the scent of how to consolidate these loans and how to afford these loan payments. So the reason why they were on the show was because they had a lot of loans and totaling $146,000 and through many different places. And I think it's like 8 loans or something like that. Let's just call it 8 loans. And they had all of these monthly payments for 8 of these loans. And they were like, well, we can't afford all of the payments, so we have to consolidate it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:19:20]:
And so the podcast host and the parents just like going back and forth and like, okay, well, how can we consolidate these loans? How can we get the loan payments down more? Right. Because essentially what they have is they have a cashflow problem. And this blew my mind listening to this freaking episode because the entire episode is focused on how they can consolidate those loans. That's the entire episode, all this financial engineering. And it's, I mean, it is a lot of stuff that they're going to tell like, like, oh, let's look at a HELOC. Oh, okay. So if your daughter graduates and she gets a 4 year degree, then they'll consolidate it and they'll give you a better rate because of it. That's okay.

Ryan Maruyama [00:20:11]:
All of this stuff, everything under the sun. But they didn't do the one thing, which is, like, break it down to its simplest terms. At the end of the day, what they have just like anything else is they have a cashflow problem. It was staring me straight in the face, but it wasn't staring this financial expert in the face. Like, she's really worried about how do we move all of these things? How do we pull equity out of our home to then pay for this decision?

Hannah Maruyama [00:20:42]:
There's a couple of things I want to say here. One is that this is why we say a college degree is a purchase because if that family was paying $2,000 a month for a boat, any financial person can look at them and go either get rid of the boat, stop paying for the boat, or go get more work that will allow you to pay for the boat. If you're determined to keep the boat because you don't have enough money to continue buying the boat, but because it's a college degree, everyone's just blind to it. They just go, oh, well, you know, it's fine. We'll just keep doing this. But this is why it's so important to take back the language about it's not getting a college degree is buying a college degree. You're buying it. You're buying it.

Hannah Maruyama [00:21:14]:
They won't give it to you unless you give them the last red cent that you owe them. And everybody knows that. And then I can already see it in the comments. I'm sure people are going to be furious about that. I'm not saying you didn't do work. I am saying that if you do not pay the college, all of their money, they will not give you the degree. If you cannot get something without giving an entity, all of the money that they want for that thing, it is a purchase. That's how it works.

Hannah Maruyama [00:21:35]:
The second thing is that listening to this, they were upper middle class, probably this family, but it was very interesting to hear that they're doing, like you said, all these financial gymnastics. And what stood out to me was that it was how little of a chance I had coming from where I came from to navigate the complexities of the loans and the interest rates and all of that stuff. And so I always think about that when I'm listening to that stuff. If you're not financially literate and even if you are, and that was what was so clear from this podcast episode was that it is an unbelievably complex process on purpose, very similar to health insurance. And that's because they want to keep you paying the whole academic industrial complex is based on you not understanding these loan terms on getting screwed on the interest later on not understanding how to get them together. And the fact that you can't get out of them. It's crazy.

Ryan Maruyama [00:22:26]:
Hey there. I hope you're enjoying this episode of the degree free podcast. At degree free, we wanna help everyone thrive and succeed without needing a college degree. And the only way to truly reach everyone is with your help. If you're getting value out of this episode or if this is your second, 3rd, or 4th episode that you're tuning into, if you could just ship this to a friend, just click that one button and share it with someone in your contacts or on your stories. It would mean the world to us. And more importantly, get our message out to more people who need help getting out of their current situation. If you could do that right now, that would mean a whole lot.

Hannah Maruyama [00:23:03]:
And then the third thing I was going to say is after hearing this within a few days, this is not a partisan comment, but I just saw Kamala Harris come out and tell people to take out home equity loans, to pay for student loans. That's unbelievable. They're saying if you can't afford your kid's tuition, she said this, if you can't afford your kid's tuition, go take out a home equity loan on your house. Do not do that. That is so crazy. It's just so crazy to continue to buy something with almost no ROI for most people and to tell them, Hey, here's a hard asset. Something that people could actually buy from you. You're in over your head.

Hannah Maruyama [00:23:40]:
You can file for bankruptcy and go take out a loan on that asset and use that money to buy an asset in quotes. For those of you not watching, because a college degree is not an asset. It has no transferable value. You can't get rid of it. You can't file for bankruptcy if you can't afford it. So it doesn't fit those criteria. And they're saying, here's this thing you have that actually has value. Go take out a loan that on the thing that does have value and then go pay for something that has almost no value that continues to get more expensive over time while the earning result, while the ROI on the thing that you were buying stays the same and goes down.

Hannah Maruyama [00:24:15]:
That is what they're telling people to do. It's patently insane. Anyway, watching that was just wild.

Ryan Maruyama [00:24:19]:
Yeah. So what I was going to say was that it is so interesting to listen to them. Just do all of these financial engineering things. To comment on what you were saying about the financial literacy thing, I'm not a fully formed opinion, but, you know, I have a strong, like, pull to have an opinion on it. And so I guess I'll just start with forming my opinion now. On the financial literacy aspect, everybody says, like, oh, you need to be financially literate. You need to be financially literate. And while I agree with that sentiment, I just don't think that financial literacy is enough.

Ryan Maruyama [00:24:51]:
It's kind of similar to regular literacy. While a lot of people that are listening to this episode right now, you might be literate, but when's the last time you'd read? Like when's the last time that you've used that literacy at a high level? I'm not talking about reading the business books that you like and I'm pointing myself. I'm not talking about reading your whatever, but your fiction or using that literacy at a high level because like some sort of technical writing thing that is basically what you need to do when you're doing all of these things. It's not enough to just be financially literate. You have to use that literacy often enough to be able to parse this out and make better decisions. But the problem with it is that these are loaded decisions, right? I mean, we're talking about money, which a lot of people aren't very rational on to begin with. And then you're talking about your child's future, which nobody's rational on. There's these 2 highly, highly irrational things that people are saying, well, financial literacy is the problem.

Ryan Maruyama [00:25:56]:
That's the beginning of the problem. But even if you are financially literate, you still have to put those into practice regularly. And then you have to divorce yourself from the irrational behavior and the irrational thoughts that you're having due to it being money and due to it being your child, you, then you have to make good decisions. That's what people need practice on. Really. That's what I wanted to focus on because to me, listening to this podcast episode, it was clear as day. I'm not being insensitive or I'm not being tone deaf here. These people were calling into that show because they needed help and personal finance guru or whatever, they were giving them help.

Ryan Maruyama [00:26:34]:
Okay. Sure. In the way that they wanted it, but I think they missed the entire point of the whole thing, which is when you break it down to its simplest parts, what they have is they have a cash flow problem. They are spending too much money every single month and they're not making enough. And we've talked about it before on this podcast, but your expenses, that payments are one of the line items in your expenses can only go to 0. They're sitting here thinking about all this financial engineering. Okay. I'm going to do a HELOC.

Ryan Maruyama [00:27:05]:
I'm going to consolidate this debt. Well, what are the points I can get here? Their debt can only go to 0. That's it. But their income can go to infinity. Really, to me, it was simple as day. If this is you and you're having some problem like this, it's probably a higher lift for you to literally go drive Lyft. You're gonna see a greater outcome If you just raise your freaking income and they're gonna be like, well, we're busy. Well, the kids have sports and all of these things that happen in your life.

Ryan Maruyama [00:27:34]:
The fact of the matter is that you got yourself into this, you and your child, you got yourself into this mess.

Hannah Maruyama [00:27:40]:
And if you want to get out of it,

Ryan Maruyama [00:27:42]:
yeah, you have to make some hard decisions. It might not be as easy as like, okay, well, let's just go to the banker and let's pull out a HELOC. That might be something that you want to do. But the truth of the matter is, is you have a cashflow problem and is nothing more complicated than you have a cashflow problem. All you have to do is if if your expenses can only go to 0, but your income can go to infinity. Which of those things should you be more focused on?

Hannah Maruyama [00:28:05]:
Definitely income.

Ryan Maruyama [00:28:06]:
Of course, income. And then you could do them more ways than you can with all the financial engineering products. And the thing about it is that you don't have to be educated on the financial engineering products. If you're just like, okay, well, I need to make more money. And I mean, I've had 8 loans. All of them are like $200 a month, 1600. I mean, it's probably more than that for easy math. It's just that $600 a month.

Ryan Maruyama [00:28:28]:
Okay. We're negative $600 a month every single month because we can only afford a $1,000 here. Okay. Well, then I have to make an extra $600 a month. Well, why don't you just go do that? That's how simple the math has to be. And then you don't have to spend 16 years, like, how I did, reading personal finance books of, like, okay. Well, then what about this? And what about this? What about this? You don't have to do that. You just look at it and it's like, what's what's the simplest way here? Okay.

Ryan Maruyama [00:28:52]:
Well, I can keep cutting my expenses or I can just go make more money. And the way that you make more money is you'll get a better job.

Hannah Maruyama [00:28:57]:
You ask for a raise.

Ryan Maruyama [00:28:58]:
Yeah. You ask for a raise, you get a better job, you get a second job. Oh my God. That's crazy.

Hannah Maruyama [00:29:02]:
But only until you pay it off.

Ryan Maruyama [00:29:04]:
That's what I'm saying. I'm busy. I got, I got a bunch of stuff like I got kids. Okay. Figure it out. Drive, Uber, DoorDash, Postmates. These aren't the most luxurious jobs. It's not gonna boost your status any, but it is what it is.

Ryan Maruyama [00:29:16]:
You gotta do what you have to do. The real of it too is if this is your child, if they're old enough to take on this, this amount of debt and then also not working, have your child go get a job. Okay. So it's nice that these parents are on this phone call and they're like, okay, well, how do we solve this debt problem that we got, that we incur due to our child making a purchase decision? Okay. Well, why isn't your child on the call? Because they're adults already. She's literally an adult. Why is she not on this call trying to figure out how to get you out of this at the same time? Once again, divorcing yourself from the rational behavior of wanting to care for your child. But I mean, this is kind of part of caring for your child and whatever your family has to do to make more money.

Ryan Maruyama [00:30:01]:
Go and do that.

Hannah Maruyama [00:30:03]:
Yeah. What you're saying is so true because their option, and I forgot to mention this when we were talking about the story of it, but the mom, and it was so crazy. We were listening to it and I just said, she's going to go for her retirement. And sure enough, she said, I talked to the financial advisor and he said, I can pull out of my 401 ks. And I was like, Oh my gosh. Because the long term implications of this, and I totally agree because in this situation too, the child was, I think, 23 or 24. She's not a young adult. She's just a normal adult or she should be.

Hannah Maruyama [00:30:32]:
That's a whole other thing. I want to talk about the fact that colleges are effectively infantilizing a lot of young adults and they're crystallizing them in this teenage stage. That's I think really bad. But anyway, I agree the fact that she should have been on the call is crazy that only the parents were. And not only that she did start working and in my mind, I'm going, why wasn't she working the whole time? And the fact that the parents are considering pulling out of their retirement to pay this off, instead of like you said, how can we make that extra amount of money and putting that honestly, at this point on the kid, because it's her fault and she either needs to finish so that they can consolidate the loans at a lower payment, or she just needs to stop. And she needs to go figure out how to make as much money as humanly possible doing literally anything. And that is not comfortable advice. It seems safer to just say, oh, just take out a loan on your house.

Hannah Maruyama [00:31:20]:
Because taking out a loan on your house or pulling out of your 401k feels like more action as opposed to let me just go earn this money so that I can actually face the consequences and pay off the consequences of our buying decisions as a family. The biggest takeaway that I saw was that it's wild because this is such a short sighted mindset, which is the mom was saying that if they do this, they're going to pull from her retirement. She said, it's okay. Cause we're going to retire on her husband's retirement. It would totally wipe out one of their retirements, which is wild because that's how much they owe. And the idea that now this is just a long term, like thinking down the road, you have 2 parents and a child. You wipe out one of the parents' retirement accounts to pay for the college degree for the specifically the bachelor's degree, if she ever gets it, which the dad said he didn't think she would, of this child. The idea that she will earn enough into the future support herself, and then also be able to support her parents because they now are only on one retirement account because they wiped it out to pay for her bachelor's degree.

Hannah Maruyama [00:32:20]:
That's probably not going to make her near enough to put that money back in. It was just wild watching this because it's just like watching a train wreck in real life. I'm going, holy crap. This is crazy. Like you said, the only way out for them is through, which is go make more money and pay it off that way. Figure it out as, as a household, let's just say $400 for 2 people in the household. 2 of you find a way to make $400 more a month until you pay it off.

Ryan Maruyama [00:32:41]:
Yeah. It's not the only way through, but it is, in my opinion, it is the simplest way you don't need to be financially literate. You don't need to know what a HELOC is. You don't need to talk to anybody else. You don't need to get a banker involved. It is the simplest way through. And it is in my opinion, the most effective way and really the most permanent way, which is just go make more money. Now we're in a better position because of it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:33:12]:
Instead of worrying about the thing that can only go down to 0, instead of worried about the thing that can go to infinity, it's that simple. And it goes back to what you were saying is a lot of people just don't view this thing as a purchase. And then what I was saying about, you know, these are not rational decisions that we're making because of money. And then because it's your child.

Hannah Maruyama [00:33:33]:
I feel like a good principle to take away here is that I bet it was easy for them to decide for her to go to college. And I think that this is a good lesson because I see this a lot in folks coming into the launch program on the older end of our age range that we work with is that the decision to go to college was very easy. It's like, of course, just go, just pick. It's not even a yes, no. It's if they say, which college are you going to? It feels that way. And your child does not legally require a college degree to the job they're going to do, or you are not independently wealthy. It is very likely the decision for which college your child's going to go to is easy. You will have hard decisions on the back end because if it's an easy decision to go to college, it's probably because you didn't explore a lot of the options.

Hannah Maruyama [00:34:17]:
I will say that simply because the cost of a college degree is so high. And because of that, if it was like, yeah, that's a no brainer. Let's pause here. Especially if you are not, like I said, independently wealthy. People who are independently wealthy can spend their money on whatever they want to because they're independently wealthy. For the rest of us, we really need to examine these things more closely before we just go ahead by especially things that cannot be gotten rid of in bankruptcy. I can't drive that home enough because that's something when I talk about financial literacy and how it would have negatively affected me had I gotten a degree, it was because I didn't know. And I don't know if you did.

Hannah Maruyama [00:34:54]:
You know that? Did you know that student loans were bankruptcy exempt when you started?

Ryan Maruyama [00:34:57]:

Hannah Maruyama [00:34:58]:
Oh, okay. I did. I was not aware of that fact.

Ryan Maruyama [00:34:59]:
I was more financially literate. Yeah.

Hannah Maruyama [00:35:01]:
Right. But that's what I'm talking about to realize later. Oh, wait, there's no way to get rid of these. I don't think that that's something that's being taught to a lot of young adults. And that seems like a crime to me.

Ryan Maruyama [00:35:09]:
If it is a difficult decision for you about going to college and about which college, and if you're not sure about the careers that your young adult wants to pursue is gated by a college degree or not, you can get our new book, the degree free way, degree free dotc0forward/book. As of the time of this recording, it's still on pre order. We should be shipping them, you know, within the next month, 6 weeks of when this podcast comes out. You can go there, get the preorder, and then even if you're listening to this later, you can still go there even if it's not on pre order and you can order the degree free way. It walks you through the process of really the degree free way and and the way that we think about work and which is starting with what your young adult needs and wants from their work and then how to build that life, how to find work that helps them build that life that they envision that fits those goals. And then ultimately end end of it, you figure out whether or not you need to buy a college degree for that or not. And so if you want to do that degreefree.coforward/book for that.

Hannah Maruyama [00:36:14]:
This last point I wanted to make was for our adult degree free job seekers. And this was a fascinating conversation I had. A realtor friend mentioned to me that she's trying to get another job. She and her husband own a real estate company and they are bringing in between $45,100,000 a year. And what was so wild about this was when I asked her, okay, what are you looking for? Because she's a friend. I was just asking her some questions just to try to help her figure out what she's going to do. And it was so wild to me that she said, I feel like I don't have any skills, which is patently insane because their company is doing extremely well. She does time management.

Hannah Maruyama [00:36:57]:
She does procurement. She does ordering. She does digital marketing. She runs a CRM. It's wild. It's wild. These people with all of these very specific skills in sales, in customer service, in doing large deals and negotiating such a valuable skill set that is just applicable anywhere. And she feels like she has no skills.

Hannah Maruyama [00:37:18]:
So what I realized was when I heard this and it was kind of like a thunderclap, we've been hearing this for years, but what I realized was she meant she doesn't feel like she has any skills that she knows would fit another job. That's what she means and that I can help with a little bit. So what I'm going to tell you folks now, it's a recap. If you've been listening to this podcast for a long time, you know about how to find a job backwards, but basically what I want you to do, if you're trying to transition jobs, figure out what jobs will financially meet your needs. Now go look at those job titles. Now, once you have those job titles, go look up multiple job listings, 5 to 10 for each of the job titles you are interested in. When you were looking at the job descriptions, look and see what software skills and what regular soft skills are mentioned in those job listings. The ones you really care about are the software skills and also seeing which skills you currently have fit the soft skills that they are looking for.

Hannah Maruyama [00:38:12]:
Because a lot of the other stuff can be trained. And that is how I want you to look at work so that you stop feeling like you have no skills. When in fact you have a lot of skills and you have most of the skills that employers are looking for in order to hire somebody to do whatever job it is you're interested in.

Ryan Maruyama [00:38:27]:
You said that this is for job seekers, but this isn't just for job seekers. This is also for young adults as well, because there are a lot of young adults, teens, late teens that are doing little projects, actually making money on some of them. So they are a business as well, but they also don't feel like they don't have any skills because it's like, oh, well that's just something that I did in my free time. So I just wanted to clarify that this isn't necessarily just for job seekers. This is for really anybody. I mean, this imposter syndrome comes in strong no matter what age you're at. And I agree 100% with what you're saying. It is definitely I don't have any skills that are clearly defined to fit whatever roles are out there in the market or any roles that I would be interested in.

Ryan Maruyama [00:39:18]:
And then maybe even further down in your brain, it's like, I'm not interested in any of these roles because I don't know where my skills fit in to these things. It boils down to a self esteem thing at the end of the day, because there are people that are like, you are like, I have all these skills, like, look at me, I can do all of this stuff. And same with Drake, like, Drake Porter, episode 63 for those people that haven't listened to him and another episode as well. I'll put it in the show notes. Degreefree.c04/podcast. I'll link to his episodes. You and him are, like I said, you guys are cut from the same cloth. So you guys have those ideas.

Ryan Maruyama [00:39:53]:
Like, I'll talk about Drake, for example. He talks about exiting his company. And I think he said how much he exited his company for. I think he was, like, $78,000 or something like that. And this is like not a lot of money. I mean, for sure for a late teenager, it is. But I'm just saying in general, just for a company, it's not a lot of money. And there's something like that.

Ryan Maruyama [00:40:15]:
I don't know exactly. You can go back and listen to the episode, but he talks about it a lot. And he talks about the experience that he gained from it. And, but if that was me, if I had exited my company for $78,000, I would look down on it. I'd be like, couldn't make it work because I didn't get the exit for multimillion. Yeah. I don't really have any skills or anything like that, but he views it exactly the opposite. Oh, all the skills that I learned exiting my company.

Ryan Maruyama [00:40:36]:
It's the same thing. There's the frame is completely different and I can speak a lot to this, you know, imposter syndrome as well because I am a full time business owner. And as a full time business owner, just like this person was, there's nobody that to validate your skills. There's nobody external to validate your skills. I mean, sure. The validation comes with your revenue, but obviously that's not the case here because they were making 400 to $500,000 a year. That wasn't validation enough for those skills. Whereas if you're in a company, you have the validation built in because you are that thing.

Ryan Maruyama [00:41:16]:
Some other outside entity is paying you for that job, whatever that job is. If you are in a a executive assistant, if you are an ice cream scooper, whatever your job title is, you have validation from an external entity because they are literally paying you to do that job. Whereas as a business owner, you're doing all of these other things. That validation is much harder to see. It's much harder to feel, even though in many ways, a lot of the small business owners are more qualified than all of those single title people in all of their jobs.

Hannah Maruyama [00:41:48]:
It's just necessity.

Ryan Maruyama [00:41:49]:
It's just necessity. A lot of business owners aren't Salesforce certified. They're not HubSpot certified or they're not ServiceNow certified or anything like that, but they can probably manipulate the system pretty well depending on who it is or they're doing customer support tickets. They probably know that customer support platform better than you do, even though you have, like, a admin certification. And I'm not talking about you specifically. I'm just talking about, like, anybody who has, like, an admin certification on this one platform just due to necessity of, like, this is my business. I care about it. And so I'm gonna be in this thing every single day of my life.

Ryan Maruyama [00:42:21]:
Whereas you just went and got a certification. As You got a certification, you got a job and then you learn this one application of this certification. And there's one application of this application. And whereas this guy is like, okay, how does this fit into my business? It's just more difficult to see those things when you are an entrepreneur, when you are a business owner, when you are self employed, what I wanted to bring up about this person and about helping this person. And this is the last thing we'll bring up. This goes back to the free stuff that we've talked about before. It is so difficult to do things for free, especially in the things that you and I have done before. If it requires effort on their part, it is almost guaranteed that if we do it for free, it's not going to happen.

Hannah Maruyama [00:43:08]:
Yeah. It's such a bummer.

Ryan Maruyama [00:43:09]:
It's such a bummer. So to skip to the end of this, you told this person to do a bunch of things. You sent a long, long text message to this person, and she's a friend, so it's fine. And I had a bunch of really, really specific instructions that were, like, really amazing and and really just only for her benefit. I mean, you're literally doing it for free. You didn't get paid to do this. I know you took a lot of time out of your day to do this thing. And then just silence this absolute silence on the end of it.

Hannah Maruyama [00:43:38]:
And I get people are busy and stuff, but yeah, it's a bummer.

Ryan Maruyama [00:43:41]:
Yeah. People don't value the things that are free. Right. And whereas on the flip side, if this was somebody that paying for when we don't do job seeker stuff anymore, but I'm not saying that we won't ever do it in the future, but we are focusing on the degree free launch program that has a lot to do with just business operations and things like that.

Hannah Maruyama [00:43:58]:
Ability to do everything. Right.

Ryan Maruyama [00:44:00]:
Exactly. To call back to what I was talking about earlier. Like, we can talk more about business stuff later. In a nutshell, that's the reason why. But if we were doing job seeker aid and we were helping job seekers and career changers find jobs again, we would be charging 1,000 of dollars to do the amount of personalization that you did for this person. And there was just literally zero execution, 0 follow through because there was just no stakes. They just weren't in it. And they literally have your personal phone number.

Ryan Maruyama [00:44:30]:
And so they can just text you anytime, even though they don't, and they don't follow through on this thing. It was a very, very good reminder, that people don't value free things. And like, obviously if you're listening to this, well, I would value free things. Like we've been doing this a long time and at large, people do not value things that are free.

Hannah Maruyama [00:44:51]:
Yeah. Such a bummer. And we're like that too. Everybody's like that.

Ryan Maruyama [00:44:54]:
Yeah. I

Hannah Maruyama [00:44:54]:
don't think there's any humans that are exempt from that.

Ryan Maruyama [00:44:56]:
Yeah. Exactly. There has to

Hannah Maruyama [00:44:58]:
be cause you some level of pain in order to get you to actually complete things.

Ryan Maruyama [00:45:02]:
That is this week's episode. I I think that was pretty good. Yeah.

Hannah Maruyama [00:45:06]:
I feel like this one was solid.

Ryan Maruyama [00:45:07]:
We went all over the place.

Hannah Maruyama [00:45:09]:
We actually make sure to come back next week because I had a Reddit question that I wanted to answer. And so we have a Reddit that we're gonna go over next week.

Ryan Maruyama [00:45:18]:
Once again, the launch program degree free dot c o forward slash launch. And if you want to get the book degree free dotco forward slash book, you could go and pre order it now. And then if you're listening to this later, you can go and order it there as well. I think that's pretty much it. Until next you guys, along.

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