It’s challenging to think about the future when we’re so caught up in the crisis of the moment. But, if we’re not intentionally building our future, what’s to become of it? Even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world stage, the world was approaching a defining moment. As younger generations enter the world economy, they bring shifts in attitude and values – they are the true drivers of grassroots change. This undercurrent of change creates a divide between ‘the way things work’ and what they will soon become.

Economic sustainability is at risk

The pandemic has simply accelerated things and unearthed the instability brewing in our economy. Inequity, inequality, debt, and environmental abuse have been left unchecked, while technological advancement and access to the tools to build are in more hands than ever before. If Marc Andreessen’s rallying cry for builders didn’t get you fired up, I don’t know what will.

“Part of the problem is clearly foresight, a failure of imagination. But the other part of the problem is what we didn’t *do* in advance, and what we’re failing to do now. And that is a failure of action, and specifically our widespread inability to *build*.”

Andreessen is right, it’s time to take action and empower people to build their own futures and create a new economy. Let’s focus on what drives the future: our youth and the entrepreneurial economy

There are big challenges on the path to financial and economic sustainability. Some are more recent and directly correlated with the Covid-19 crisis – like record high unemployment rates (potentially up to 16%?!) and 26 million jobs lost in a matter of weeks, more than all we’ve gained in the 10 years since the Great Recession – while others were already there, waiting to rear their ugly heads – like young Americans owing $1 trillion in debt, with older generations owing trillions more.

Financial literacy is the missing link

We live in a world in which debt is the new norm. In this country, just to get an education – something our society has essentially demanded to stand a chance in the traditional, white collar job market – requires most people to take on tens of thousands of dollars of debt. Student loans are the majority of the $1 trillion debt young Americans owe. And yet, there’s something missing in that education: financial literacy. 

Let’s be honest here, a financial education is missing for more than just ‘educated’ Americans. There’s a general lack of access to education that teaches youth financial literacy, especially in marginalized communities. Financial education is not offered in school and most kids don’t get guidance and advice from family that can help break the generational cycles of money mismanagement that are all too common. 

Since the infrastructure to teach financial literacy doesn’t already exist within educational institutions or family units, we have to find other ways to fill this need. Our future economic sustainability depends on taking steps now to educate our youth on not only responsible money management, but also wealth creation.

Financial literacy, entrepreneurial mindset & abundance

Founder Jatali Bellanton is an inspiring example, taking matters into her own hands to create a financial literacy curriculum for kids and partnering with schools and organizations around the world to deliver financial education. She founded Kids Who Bank to offer financial literacy for youth, especially in marginalized and underserved communities. This education includes money management, but also encouraging ‘enterprising ideas’. Teaching financial knowledge and empowering people with an abundance mindset can change the future. (This is why team Doriot donated to Kids Who Bank for #GivingTuesdayNow).

We should be teaching youth how to build their futures and create wealth. Instead, we’re showing, through (poor) example, that ‘living to borrow’ is the way. Let’s break the cycle through education and empowerment. In order to ensure future economic sustainability, we need to change the way things are ‘working’ now and encourage our youth to forge a new path. We need to make education accessible to those who have historically been left out and raise the tides for all. Let’s create a future in which people can participate and thrive in the entrepreneurial economy, where opportunity always awaits. After all, every service, product, and technology that is now mainstream was once a groundbreaking innovation born of a startup. This is where our future is made.

There’s a lot of work to do if we want to empower people to take charge of their financial futures and we’re taking one step in that direction by making The First-Time Founder’s Equity Bible available for free download on Doriot.com. Written by Doriot CEO and founder, Gerry Hays, the book is used in college courses across the country as a tool to help thousands of students unlock real world opportunity in the entrepreneurial economy, and it can do the same for you.