Ep 035

Reshaping Financial Education & Preparing Kids to Succeed at Life

With

Matt Beaudreau

Listen Here

Inside This Episode

Today, I’m speaking with education disrupter, Matt Beaudreau. In 2016, Matt launched Acton Academy Placer – an alternative to the traditional education model that’s reshaping how kids learn. It’s not a school, it’s a workforce. 

After working his way from public school teacher to private school administrator, Matt got an up-close-and-personal view of the education system. He saw an opportunity to revamp education to prepare students to succeed at life — not just at standardized tests — and Acton Academy was born. 

Kids learn hands-on through trial and error, self-awareness, self-confidence, perseverance, and the things they’re actually passionate about. 

More recently, Matt Co-Founded Apogee Strong – a specialized mentorship program designed specifically to shape young men into better providers and protectors. 

3 of the biggest insights from Matt Beaudreau

  • #1 Why the current education system fails to prepare many students for the real challenges of life — and how to reshape education to make key lessons stick.

  • #2 The most powerful thing parents can do to prepare their children for financial literacy and sensitive real-world topics like religion and politics.

  • #3 Ways to get your kids interested and engaged in learning about personal and family financial matters.

KEY TAKEAWAYS: 

  • Doing business with good people
  • How Matt started reshaping education
  • Experienced-based education
  • Learning long-term life skills at school
  • Overhauling personal finance in education
  • Why traditional school methods hurt development
  • Interesting your kids in finance
  • Businesses fairs for children
  • Training under UFC legend Ken Shamrock
  • Building mental health through physical health
  • How education relates to Do Business. Do Life.

HOW TO TEACH KIDS ABOUT MONEY | MATT BEAUDREAU

HOW ACTON ACADEMY PREPARES KIDS FOR THE REAL WORLD | MATT BEAUDREAU

RAISING INDEPENDENT AND CAPABLE KIDS | MATT BEAUDREAU

SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE: 

PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE:

THIS WEEK’S FEATURED REVIEW

Want to leave your own review? Visit us on Apple Podcasts via mobile, scroll to the bottom, and give me your honest thoughts. I read EVERY review that comes through. Not only do they light me up, but they also make a huge impact on people who are considering listening. To leave your review, CLICK HERE. I might even feature it on the show 🙂

MIC DROP MOMENTS

  • School and education are not the same things. School is a finite game. Education is growth.” – Matt Beaudreau

  • The best way to educate a young person is for the adults in their lives to further their own education and bring their kids along with them. It is the most simple way.“ – Matt Beaudreau

  • If we don’t get excited about something, it’s going to be really hard for us to learn it. It’s the same thing for your kids. They’re not practicing to be people. They’re people just with less practice.” – Matt Beaudreau

  • “Physical health is the precursor to mental health. Make yourself capable and then make your kids capable. People don’t like that it’s that simple, but it is.” – Matt Beaudreau

  • “You’re the primary educator. You’re a financial advisor. You should be doing the majority of the advising for [your kids] now, period.” – Matt Beaudreau

  • “Education, for my family, is pursuing sovereignty and freedom.” – Matt Beaudreau

  • “Fine is a four-letter F-word. I don’t want fine for anybody. Fine sucks. I want optimized.” – Matt Beaudreau

Brad Johnson: Welcome back to another episode of Do Business Do Life. Excited to be joined today by Matt Beaudreau. Welcome, Matt.

Matt Beaudreau: Thank you, sir. Appreciate it, man. It’s fun to get to do this and then we get to have you on next week too, man. So, I got two weeks in a row of Brad, man. I’m excited.

Brad Johnson: Awesome, man. Well, I’m excited to guest on your show, and I know it’s always fun just kind of how cool people from what I’ve found in life, at least my journey, you surround yourself with great people. They tend to surround themselves with other great people. So, Jason Khalipa was kind enough to connect us and he had obviously come on the Do Business Do Life show and been to a couple of Triad Live experiences and he’s like, “Man, I think my buddy Matt kind of lives Do Business Do Life so I want to make the introduction, get him on the show.” So, thanks, Jason, if you happen to be listening to this, for making the connection happen. So, I never asked you, how did you and Jason originally connect?

Matt Beaudreau: You know, it’s funny, man. So, the very first time I actually met Jason, I got a CrossFit certification back in the day. At the very first certification, he worked. So, he was all, yeah, he was the game’s champ early on and it was shortly thereafter, I believe. And so, it was the very first one that he’d coached. And so, that was the first time meeting physically but it’s not like we struck up our friendship then. You know, it was later on as Tim and I started building out Apogee and we started putting together this list of just amazing mentors that we were bringing in, it was said something about I think Tim said something about Jason or something, and I’m like, “You know what? I’m going to reach out. That guy was a really good guy. And I agree, Tim. He would be a phenomenal guy to come on.” So, Jason was great, man. He’s like, “Let me get on the phone. Let’s talk about what are you guys doing. What are you and Tim up to with this? What have you done?” And the relationship just blossomed from there. So, I’ve been on his show like four or five times. He’s been on ours multiple times as well. And we’ve just struck up this friendship where we get to talk quite regularly. So, really good human.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. He really is. It’s always fun. And actually, it’s my journey and CrossFit was right as it was blowing up on ESPN and obviously Jason was literally competing for a podium spot every year of the early days. And so, it’s cool when you see guys that you like look up to in some sense because, obviously, they’re killing it when it comes to the athletic feats that he was pulling off but then you meet him in person. He’s actually a better dude than he is an athlete, you know, and just…

Matt Beaudreau: And that’s it, right? That was why we wanted to bring him. I mean, when we’re bringing guys in on our side of things. We’re bringing in guys that are… Andy Frisella is killing it. That’s great. He’s doing great at fitness. He’s a better human. So, let’s bring him in, right? Patrick Bet-David is obviously killing it in business. He’s a better human. So, we’re bringing him. So, it’s that, man, and that’s what it was to Jason too. It’s obvious. He’s a concerned human being. He enjoys helping people. He’s a great husband, a great father. That mattered to us far more.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. Well, that’s what this show is all about. We want to do business with people we want to do life with. So, hey, we’re all in the right spot. Well, cool, Matt. Let’s get to you because I know our time is limited today. So, let’s go into your background and what’s cool, obviously, being a show for financial advisors, you took because if I really like look at synergies here, a financial advisor is a form of a school. It’s a school for finance, personal finance for most of our audiences is retirees as they transition from their working years into their retirement years and how to successfully do that in frameworks and coaching they need to stick to, to do that. And you were very early in the Acton Academy, which was doing similar on the education front, a different approach to education. So, I’d love to just share your story. How did that come to be? Background? And then I think there will be a ton of learnings and we’ll just go from there.

Matt Beaudreau: Yeah, I appreciate that. I’ll give you kind of a 30,000-foot overview and then we’ll go wherever you want to go. But I like the way you framed that because I’m always going to tell people I’m a career educator and people automatically think schools. And then I will also follow it up with I very strongly believe school and education are not the same things. And in fact, I think a lot of times they’re at war with each other. And school is this finite game. It is what I call the biggest religion in this country. Education is growth. It is the natural state of a human being. It is something that you’ve got to be intentional around and you can do that in multiple avenues, obviously, finances being a huge part. You know, it’s a place that continued education matters. So, I got into I guess that mentality but got into schools via turning down a job at the White House, coming out of college. So, came out, I had done the 4.0 thing. My entire life was always a 4.0 student in high school and in college, and in graduate school but it’s not because I was super smart. It was because I saw the patterns of school. I figured out how to play the game, and I could do very little work to get my As and then focus on girls and sports, like the stuff that mattered.

But coming out, I turned down this job at the White House so I graduated and I had no idea who I was. I had no idea what skill sets I really possessed. I had no idea how to really get educated. I just was really good at school. So, I brought the work ethic that at least that I had to do some of these odd jobs and one odd job led to another. And ultimately, I landed at Stanford University and ended up working at Stanford for quite a long time, where I got to see the game of school from the inside and the game meeting. I saw admissions games. I saw the game of, well, these young guys are really, really good at school but they’re really struggling at life. Started seeing all those things and thought, well, naively, I thought, “Well, I go change it. I’ll go change it from the inside, man. I’ll go be a teacher and start from the bottom and really help people there.” Public school teacher to public school administrator to private school teacher to private school administrator. Seeing all the games that are played there from the inside out is why I left all of that to then start institutions of education for my own kids.

And luckily for me, and I legitimately started my first campus with the intent of my oldest can go here and I really hope there is maybe ten other kids that want to go. But within five years, we had multiple campuses, multimillion dollars’ worth of properties, and we were serving hundreds of kids around Sacramento. And I was also very fortunate at that time. My speaking career organically took off as well because I wanted to do the speaking to provide for the family while I was building these campuses out. I didn’t want to take any money from the school. So, I ended up working with Amazon, Google, Netflix, Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, U.S. Air Force, Purina, American Eagle. I mean, just you name it. I get to work with these organizations and they’re bringing me in because they’re going, “Ooh, we’re hiring all these really well-schooled individuals and they suck and we want to get rid of them. Help us not fire everybody.” Right? A lot of well-schooled individuals who aren’t educated. What’s the disconnect? So, I got to go have these conversations and then bring this back to the campuses that we were launching.

So, ultimately, we launched a bunch of campuses, partnered with my friend, Tim Kennedy, who a lot of the listeners probably know who Tim is, and helped him build a school. But then we started our mentorship programs, which is now in multiple countries for young men, for men. We’ve got our women’s program, launching our young lady’s program, and we are launching about 100 K through 12 campuses in the fall of 2024. So, I’m never hurting for things to do. So, there’s a big old mouthful right there, man.

Brad Johnson: Cool. So, let’s dive in and break some of that apart. So, I just happened to be semi-familiar with Acton, which is where this started. And then I know it evolved since then just because I’ve got a couple of buddies in Austin and they were sending their kids there. Jon Vroman runs a really cool group, Front Row Dads, so there was a lot of conversation around education there. And then I think the other thing I see is COVID blew everything up and then all of a sudden parents were home school teachers. And then I think that’s where like some of this I’ll call it like a movement that’s happening right now that I feel when it comes to children and education and a different approach to it. So, can you maybe give us like the beginner’s version of what is the difference between here’s my public school or private school K-through-12 experience and here was Acton’s approach and then how that’s even evolved to what you’re doing now?

Matt Beaudreau: Yeah, for sure. The best way I can describe it is school gets you really good at school. So, we’ve been sold this thing that this idea that school in the way that we all have grown up going through this what I call the conveyor belt model was maybe somehow put together by a group of experts that said, “Look, this is how child development works and here are the foundational things they need to know or need to do to be good at life.” And not only is that extraordinarily far from the truth, it doesn’t map out to the real world at all. You and I both know people who crushed it in school and are having a really hard time in life. We also know people who had a really hard time in school who are crushing it in life, and that’s partially because these are two different games altogether. Just because somebody is really good at basketball doesn’t mean they’re good at baseball. Just because they both have a ball and there’s a team involved like there’s these little, tiny things that cross over, but it’s not the same game. Well, school and life aren’t the same game either. So, conveyor belt schooling gets you good at school. What we were doing on the Acton Academy side and on the Apogee school side is a microcosm of the real world.

So, what that means is we take the meta-skills that actually matter and transfer. So, are you able to communicate effectively? Are you able to think logically? Are you able to engage in civil discourse? Meaning you can articulate what it is you believe and why you believe it, but you’re also able to genuinely listen to somebody else’s point of view who may or may not agree with you. You’re willing to consider their evidence and be brave enough to go, “Okay. Well, your evidence is better. Maybe I’ll change my mind,” or self-confident enough to go, “Okay. I see your evidence. I still don’t necessarily agree, but we can be friends like we’re okay.” Right? So, that’s something that’s actually a meta-skill that transfers over to be beneficial in real life. So, we want them to be able to engage in Socratic thinking and being able to understand logical fallacies, like to actually be good communicators. We want them to understand that physical education and physiology is the precursor to the, you know, what’s trendy now is the same mental health for young people. Well, physical health is the precursor to mental health. We want them to understand what finances look like, and we will do it often through the lens of entrepreneurship.

All of our kids are going to start businesses every year or take their existing business into perpetuity, not because they have to be an entrepreneur, but because of the lessons that are transferable, right? We want them to be experience-based. I don’t want to say project-based because people don’t really know what that means and they take it a different direction. We want things to be experience-based. You know, an example that I like that Elon Musk gave is he said, you know, school goes, “All right. Everybody, sit down. We’re going to teach you about wrenches. Here’s a wrench. This is the socket wrench. This is a…” And nobody cares. None of the kids care and they don’t know what it is. But if you take the young heroes and you’re like, “Hey, check out this engine. This car is frickin sweet. Check out this engine. This engine’s broken, though. Let’s go fix it.” And they go in and they jump in there trying to fix it because they have a goal of doing something. And then the process, it’s like, okay, I need a wrench for that. That’s what this is right here. Right? That’s an experience that you can route things to versus just yapping at people, right?

So, we built out a bunch of experiences and projects based on that very internship-heavy, very apprenticeship-heavy, very personal responsibility-heavy including jobs on campus. The whole idea was I wanted to get all of my campuses to be completely run, start to finish by young people. All of it.

Brad Johnson: So, the kids at the school are actually maintaining the school. Are they like cleaning the bathroom and refilling the paper towels? Is that what you’re talking about?

Matt Beaudreau: They are cleaning the bathrooms, refilling paper towels. They are hosting the parent meetings, They are hosting the open houses. They are hosting the exhibitions. They are the ones giving the tours. My chef at my Roseville campus was 17 and he hired 13 and 14-year-olds. He went down to Weston A. Price, went down there, learned how to cook, went to some culinary programs, self-taught a little bit on how to cook, made real food every day, and had to hire 12 and 13-year-olds who had to interview for the position to go in and become the cook like that’s a microcosm of the real world.

Brad Johnson: How cool. Okay, so I’ve got…

Matt Beaudreau: Would you rather like that or somebody who’s really, really like can’t talk, ah, self-conscious but, man, but they got an A in Trig. Who cares?

Brad Johnson: So, a couple of thoughts there. First off, I’m assuming if you have to clean the bathroom, you probably try not to mess it up too much where it’s a little bit self-policing. And I’m just thinking back to my grade school lunches where some days it wasn’t too great. It’s hard to complain about the food when your peers are the one making the food. So, what are the learnings that come out of kind of that self-policing environment, I guess?

Matt Beaudreau: Yeah. So, you learn that rules of engagement matter, meaning rules of engagement on a good conversation. How do you do this well? How do you have a conversation with somebody who is responsible for messing the bathroom up? How do you do it well? And then how do you hold those kind of boundaries? And then if you’re the person who’s kind of being the offender of these boundaries, how do you respond to that? What is the penance for things like that? How do we come to something fair? How do we have…? Like, these are the conversations we end up having and we end up creating these codes of character. And it’s really what we call it, we call it a contract. It’s exactly what it is. We create contract words like, “Look, this is who I’m going to be, This is how I’m going to show up.” We have a ceremony around signing that contract and we go, “Look, we’re all agreeing to this. We’re in this together, so let’s do this the right way.” If you break contract, you are potentially not going to be here and that’s not even going to be an adult decision. I’ve had to refund tuitions because students fired other students. There’s life lessons there, and those are hard conversations. You get used to having that kind of thing. You know, that’s normal as a young person. That’s a superpower as an adult, going into the workplace. Going into…

Brad Johnson: Well, where? It sounds to me like running a business almost. It’s like, hey, you’ve got people on the team. You need to align them around this mission, these core values. And by the way, those that aren’t aligned with that, if you don’t have tough conversations and either they level up or transition out, then you’re hurting the collective whole of the team. So, it sounds like you’re kind of turning a school into a mini version of what could be, I guess, termed a business but they’re also learning while they’re participating. How do you feel about that definition?

Matt Beaudreau: I mean, that’s legit. It’s a microcosm of the real world. It’s a microcosm of the skills that are going to actually matter. Like, that’s the point. We’re learning to play the game that you’re going to play for the rest of your life. You’re learning to play the infinite game versus the finite game that makes you wonder later on why you’re not good at the infinite game. School versus life.

Brad Johnson: Big fan. I’m assuming you’re referencing Simon Sinek’s book in that context. Or do you have other definitions outside of that one, infinite game versus finite game?

Matt Beaudreau: I’m a big fan of Simon too, but I’m speaking specifically of the difference between schooling and education. Education is the infinite game. At the end of the day, you can experience as much as you can. You can study all day long. We can do this until we’re 120 years old and then go to the grave and you’re going to know 1% of 1% of 1% of 1% of all there is that you could have possibly known in this life. It’s an infinite game. It doesn’t end. You have so much to continue to explore. School’s job, part of the job is to trick you into believing there’s a checklist. There’s a finite checklist that once you get done and by the way, somebody else is going to give you that checklist. You don’t get to decide what it is. But once you get done, tada, now everything works out well. And then you wonder why the infinite game’s not working out well because you did the finite perfectly. And that was supposed to be the thing, right? It’s supposed to be the unlock. It’s not. It’s a distraction.

Brad Johnson: Okay. So, we’ve got a bunch of financial advisors listing here, and we also probably have a lot of financial advisors that are parents. So, this is kind of a cool cross-section. So, let’s go into personal finance because I believe this is one of the biggest failures of our current education system where children graduate high school and they don’t know how money works. I can think of a really, really intelligent friend back to schooling, like I think he was perfect math, perfect ACT. We get to college and I think he’s got a $15,000, $20,000 credit card bill because he just wasn’t educated on what this means when you throw a bunch of stuff on a credit card. I’ve seen a lot of really smart people get themselves in trouble there. So, let’s look through the lens of you’ve got financial advisors that are helping the general population call it boomers to retirees with their personal finances and transitioning into retirement. But are there lessons that you take from what you’ve changed with personal finance and kids that can maybe translate? What have been some of those learnings along the way or the different focuses that you all look at?

Matt Beaudreau: Yeah. We take a look at, I mean, even that concept alone of personal finance is, as you know and as all listeners know, it’s a vast topic. So, we want to give the kids as much influence as possible and experience as possible in all of this. So, like I said, they’re all running businesses or taking their businesses into perpetuity, right? So, they’re getting real-time, hey, and we’ll dive into understanding just some of the basics on, “Hey, this one’s a sunk cost versus…” They dive into all of these concepts but they’re actually bringing their products and services to the market. So, they’re actually trying to make money and they’re having to go back in and go, “Okay. What were my expenses? What’s the general income? They’re having to create P&Ls and obviously, as the businesses get more sophisticated as they get older, there’s more and more that they’re adding to this. But it’s something that just becomes a normal conversation for them as they continue to do this over and over.

As they get older, get into the middle school, get into high school, they start doing various case studies, everything from investment to real estate investment to we’re going to put you, you know, you’re going to go draw a scenario where it’s like, “Okay. You’re a college grad, here’s where you live. Here’s what your degree is in. Here is your new spouse. She’s got this much debt. You guys got to work together to figure out, okay, so like, look, real-time right now you’re in New York City. What are the rents in New York City right now? Like, go look, go figure out where could you potentially live, What is the degree you have? So, what are the open jobs right now? How are you going to go get one of these jobs? And if you come in, let’s say you land that job and it’s going to make you X amount. So, what is that going to look like? Let’s map out all of our expenses. Now, don’t forget your new wife. She’s also got all this college debt. So, what does that debt look like? What is your debt service to that? At what point do you think you’re going to be able to buy a home? And how are you projecting this?” So, they’ll go into these various scenarios where they’re role-playing and then they’ll also do case studies of other people who have gone through similar situations. So, they’ll take a look at these different financial model. We’ll talk about the 1041 tax system and how that differs greatly from the 1040 tax system. But we’ll tackle that in their later years as well.

So, we’ll do all of these things but I’ll tell you right now, the most important thing that we do on campus from understanding the financial implications of anything they’re going to do is we talk to the parents. And we talk about the parents’ current financial situation. We educate the parents on the 1041 versus the 1040. What are the different opportunities that you have? We’ll have advisors come in for the parents and then as the parents are moving their own plan forward, we have them share their specific plan, their specific, the cash flow for their family, any kind of trust structure for their family. And again, we have them share that with their own kids and bring them along for the ride. We grew up in this weird time where it’s like it’s rude to talk about money. You don’t talk about politics. You don’t talk about religion. You know, we got a whole population that can’t talk about money, religion, and politics. All right. So, we want the parents to get their own education moving forward and bring their kids along with them. That’s the most powerful thing we do.

Brad Johnson: Interesting. So, you’re really connecting the dots of the transfer of wealth generationally. And it feels almost like a family board meeting where you’re bringing the parents and the kids in and it’s just like, “Hey, let’s talk through what this means.” Has there been resistance to that? Because with some parents like or is that part of, “Hey, this is what we do at the school so if you’re not cool with that, then this isn’t for you?”

Matt Beaudreau: Yes, and. Since people say they’re cool with it until you actually start to do it, and then they get uncomfortable and then they get like, “Oh, well, I wasn’t here to be shown that I don’t actually know anything about my own finances.” You know, it’s like it’s this uncomfortable thing and, “Ugh, so now I’ve got to show my children that actually we’re struggling and actually I’m pulling payments off a credit card to try to pay for this credit card and I’m embarrassed now.” We have had a couple of those situations. But it’s, again, a microcosm of how education actually works. The best way to educate a young person is for the adults in their lives, which the parents are the primary educators, to further their own education and bring their kids along with them. It is the most simple way. But it is a hard thing and we’ve done it forever, right, like we’ve always done. I’ll use it. Brad, do your kids speak English?

Brad Johnson: They do.

Matt Beaudreau: They do speak. That is crazy. Why do they speak English?

Brad Johnson: I’m assuming it was modeled.

Matt Beaudreau: You could model. You speak English, right? Did you send them to school to learn to speak English? What school did you send them to, to learn? Ah, you didn’t send them anywhere. Are they walking? Yeah, with their two feet. Because I know they’re roughly the same age as mine. Did you send them to school to learn to walk? You didn’t. They just walked. They started walking. They fell on their butt. They failed at it. You cheered on the failure. You kept modeling it. You kept encouraging them to fail over and over again and now they’re walking, running, skipping, jumping. This is how we’re actually designed to learn everything. And people don’t like that it’s actually that simple but it is. But the reason people don’t like it is because it means, “Hey, Brad, you as an adult are the primary educator for your kids. You’ve got to move yourself forward and if you’ll take the time and responsibility to bring your kids along with you, that becomes the baseline of normal for them too.”

Brad Johnson: I love that. So, how I would summarize that concept is I look at how I learned math growing up in my traditional public school in small-town Kansas. Here’s the story problem. This train is going this many miles an hour. You’re basically taking the story problem into the real world and saying, “Hey, this is how much money is in the bank account. You live in New York City. Go to a website. Find real places in the real world that you would have to rent out that have enough space. And here’s where you work so it’s got to be close.” And then you’re just bringing the concept into real life is my summary of what you just shared there.

Matt Beaudreau: Bingo. That’s exactly it. And when you do that, you find out that they actually care. And when you don’t attach it to an arbitrary timeline, you find out that they get it really, really quickly. One of the things that school insidiously does is start to say, “Hey, academics matter so much that we need to shove it down the throats of our five-year-olds and make sure everybody is reading, writing, and starting specific math classes because we got to make sure they’re ready there so that they stay at this ambiguous concept of in grade level. And they’ve got to be compared to the other ones at a grade level. And we’re going to call them ahead or behind because of that. And then they’re going to get to algebra by this age because otherwise, life is going to, that is one of the most insidious things we do because we say development levels, we don’t actually care. We’re going to shove this at you early and often, we’re actually going to make you think that you hate learning. We’re going to make you apathetic. And of course, it’s not universal. Doesn’t happen to every single child, but it’s not in line with our development. I have watched when parents have allowed for natural development to take place. I’ve watched kids go from I’ve never even seen a math problem to wildly proficient in algebra in about 100, 120 total hours. Total hours. That’s what’s normal. Not 12 years. Hours.

Brad Johnson: Because you’re applying it back to the wrench analogy. Let’s go bring this into the real world and learn how it works.

Matt Beaudreau: Bingo. Because you’re applying it there. You’re making it interesting. You and I both know we don’t get excited about something, it’s going to be really hard for us to learn it. Well, guess what? It’s the same thing for your kids. They’re not practicing to be people. They’re people just with less practice. Right? So, when they’re excited about it, that changes the game. Also, when they’re developmentally ready for it, that makes all the difference in the world as well. And again, that’s a blanket statement. But five is not where we need to be having them sit down, be quiet, and shove a bunch of facts at them to regurgitate and then start telling them you’re either ahead or behind, smart, not smart based on this. If it was the way to do it, again, I hate to do this because it makes people upset, but here’s the logic behind it. 92% of our population that’s 18 or older right now has a high school diploma from a conveyor belt schooling system. Does anybody look at our population and go, “Oh, 92% at least. Yeah, wildly educated.” You bet. Nobody does. But they all go do that same thing.

Brad Johnson: Okay. So, I want to take this concept and I want to apply it to the world of financial advisors. So, a lot of the listeners or those watching in right now, they do a lot of live events. So, dinner seminars, they do a lot of client events. So, they’ve got this pool of retirees. They’ve helped transition from the working years to retirement. And now, obviously, they create learning experiences for them, fun experiences for them. I’ve had offices rent out a movie theater and say, “Hey, be a rock star grandparent on me. Bring the grandkids.”

So, if we kind of apply the concept of they’re already working with the grandparents and parents, and now, there’s a huge opportunity because what do I want as a parent? I want my kids to succeed in life. And I know personal finance is a massive part of that. So, if I was looking through the financial advisor lens of like, “Hey, I’m going to create a really cool interactive experience that can bring the kids in,” which, by the way, it’s also checking the box when people pass on, where’s the money? Go to the kids and every financial advisor wants to retain that if they can. So, if we look through that lens, like what are some cool things that you would look at if you’re a financial advisor to kind of create this educational experience to bring the kids or grandkids into?

Matt Beaudreau: It’s a good question, man. It’s an interesting question. And as you’re saying this and this is not a knock on, I run a lot of Christian-based schools too. I run a lot of those before I launched a lot of mine. So, within that, I was working with some of the biggest churches. Actually, I was going to say in California, but by default, they’re also some of the biggest in the country. And it was one of the things that I always struggled with was what we did for our kids. It was like, “Hey, we’re just going to bring the kids in and we just want them to get addicted to the fun part and the enjoyment part of our small groups and our youth camps and all this stuff.” But there was actually never any substance there.

And what I heard from a lot of the kids was like, “I mean, that’s cool. We have a good time, but we actually want knowledge. I don’t want just dodge ball again and then to bounce around in something that looks like a rave and just make sure we say Jesus every once in a while, like I actually want some knowledge.” So, one of the things I would say for encouraging that is understanding that you aren’t going to have to do a whole lot of separation for these young kids.

Now, bringing in the five and six and seven-year-olds, at this point, it’s just about the relationship with the parents. Do they have the relationship with the parents, genuinely talk about it with them every once in a while? My seven-year-old will take a look at our trust structure when I look at it because I’ll look at it with my daughters as well, my older, and then my wife, and we’ll just bring them in and go, “Look, Mommy and Daddy are going to talk through this. If you got any questions, let me know. But I just want you to be a part.” They don’t have to understand it yet. I just want them to be exposed to it continuously because ultimately, they’re going to be like, “Oh, okay, that’s starting to make sense. Ooh, I’m curious about that,” right? So, it’s just exposure.

But I would say for an event like that, man, when you get somebody, if they’re past that developmental age of 12, 13, they’ll actually be a part of what the adults have going on. Don’t try to dumb it down. Don’t try to separate them. Honor them with a, “Hey, we want you to be a part of this.” And if it feels weird for them, one of the best things you’re doing is a service to that family because you might be showing mom and dad, they have an extra connection they need to make. But I truly wouldn’t change a whole lot, I really wouldn’t. I would raise the bar and go, “Here you go. You’re capable.”

Brad Johnson: So, invite them into the conversation when the time is right. And that’s a very early age, I mean, 12, 13, 14. But I also look like, that’s just right before high school, typically, where they’re starting to learn about this stuff. Maybe they have a debit card or I think there’s some of those other accounts where the parent can load it with money. That makes a lot of sense to me as far as the timing.

Matt Beaudreau: Of course. And when they get to that, it’s roughly that 12, 13-year developmental range so they can start to understand some of the more abstract concepts. They can start to understand things like compound interest. They can start to understand looking at things from a long-term investment strategy. They can start to understand what that means. Before 12, that’s a harder break. There’s a big brain jump that happens around 12 or 13. And so, before that, they have a harder time with some of that abstract concept, right?

But you can start talking about some of those bigger concepts around that age and they will grasp it really, really quickly. We’ve got a weird thing. The word teenager wasn’t even invented until 1944. It wasn’t even a thing. You get to be 13, that’s why a lot of cultures have kind of this rite of passage around there, right? You’re expected to take on massive amounts of responsibility, but part of it is because you’re also capable and you’re capable of more complex thought, as well.

So, don’t dumb things down for them, honor that and bring them along with you in those things. And I tell families from a financial perspective as well, I say, “Look, man, here’s a great exercise, thought exercise for you and your spouse.” Obviously, if you’ve got kids that are two and three, this doesn’t apply.

But if they start to get to be 7, 8, 10, think through this thought exercise. What happens? You guys go, “Okay, we’re going to leave the kids home just for about 30 minutes, man. We’re going to go out and we’re just going to go pick some stuff up at the store.” You go out to the store and you get snowed in, like you’re now living in the store for the next 24 hours because a snowstorm hit and you’re stuck. Are your kids good for the next 24 hours? Or does the household go to chaos? What happens? Are they able to cook dinner? Are they responsible enough to where they’re going to go to bed on time? Are they going to take care of all the rest of the chores around the house? Do they understand how to do that? And can it be kind of a no factor that you’re gone for 24 hours? What if you were gone for a week? What if you’re gone for a week?

So, take it further. Can they run the household for a week? Are they able to take care of things? Now, obviously, if they can’t drive and they can’t get to school or whatever that looks like, I understand that that’s a thing. But do they know who to call? Could they get a ride? Hey, what happens if you’re gone for a month? Are they able to jump in and go?

So, I say this. If we had to be gone for a month, my 12-year-old knows how to pay all of the bills. She knows how to get our bank account information. She knows where the money is coming from. She knows where the money flows. She knows how it flows from the business, the business trust to the family trust into a foundation. She understands there’s a list. We have a literal list of what each one of those is allowed to pay for. So, she has a concept of that. This would pay for this, this would pay for this, right? You make your kids capable. Make yourself capable and then make your kids capable.

People don’t like that it’s that simple, but it is. It just takes the forethought and responsibility and not going, I’m just going to outsource it to school. And then since I’m outsourcing it to school and I pay for it through my tax dollars, well, now, I also have the right to point and go, “Oh, school should be teaching them.” No, no, no, no. You’re the primary educator. You’re a financial advisor. You should be doing the majority of the advising for them now, period.

Brad Johnson: Mic drop.

Matt Beaudreau: I mean, it is what it is.

Brad Johnson: I love it. All right. I want to hit one more thing on finance. And then you got some fun stories we got to get into. So, we’ll go more of the do life side for the end here. I believe one of the things that you’ve helped do and I’m just thinking through financial advisors, they’re always looking for, hey, what are experiences we can create that benefit, obviously, my clients, that benefit my business because it makes it stickier because they never want to leave?

And then we’re getting much into the conversation on how that transfers to maybe the next generation. I believe at Acton and I’m guessing in your new model as well, which I want to really make sure we define that because we’ll link to it in the show notes. Apogee, is that the name of the school and your men’s group? Or is there a difference there?

Matt Beaudreau: Yeah. So, by the time this airs, well, probably, we should have the website because we have a bunch of different landing pages and websites. It should just be over the Apogee Strong and that’ll link you to all the different, whether it’s virtual mentorship programs or the K through 12 schools themselves. Much like Acton, there are Apogee Schools at various locations, yeah.

Brad Johnson: Do you have any in Kansas, out of curiosity?

Matt Beaudreau: I can take a look because we just had about 400 applications from around the world of people who wanted to launch this. We whittle it down. We’re down to about a hundred. And I know we’re in multiple countries, but it’s not every single state. So, I’ll find out if we’ve got an applicant in Kansas.

Brad Johnson: Well, after we’re done here, yeah, keep in touch on the Kansas. I’d be interested to learn more. Okay. So, I believe part of this, back to running and starting a business, I feel like they’re almost back in the day, I think we call them science fairs and you’d have a little booth and thing. I feel like it’s a business fair where it’s like, “Here’s my business.” And are all these kids like, here’s my business concept? Because I think that can be a really cool financial advisor experience. It’s like, “Hey, we’re going to do a business fair for your kids and grandkids. And they host it and facilitate it.” So, how do those things work?

Matt Beaudreau: So smart, man. It’s a phenomenal thing for any organization. And so, Acton does a really good job of launching the children’s, they have a children’s business fair. You have to have an acceptance and a license, an affiliate license through Acton Academy to launch a school, but you do not have to have that affiliate license to launch a children’s business fair. So, it’s a great organization to connect with, and it is talk about providing value to your community and linking directly to, like you said, something like just showing who you are in the community and getting your name out there in a way that you’re serving everybody. It’s a phenomenal idea.

So, yeah, those business fairs, we’ve done many. You a pick a location. We obviously had a school campus to operate from, but I’ve seen people do a lot of churches and other school parking lots. But you get a date set and you can get sponsors for the event if you want, but you just start marketing and advertising the event around. I mean, the news stations never cease to amaze me how many want to pick up that this is coming. They’ll help you spread the word.

Brad Johnson: It’s a feel good event. I mean, because I love kids out there.

Matt Beaudreau: It is a feel good event and people get super excited and you offer a booth. So, it’s up to you on how you want to do it. You can have kids come pitch to earn a spot. You can just open it up to X number of students, the first ones that come in. You kind of get the reins of how you want to make that work. And these kids come in and they spend the day there, pitching and serving, like they bring their product to the market.

And when I say product, yes, you’ve got some kids maybe who are young and they’re coming and they’re like, “Look, I baked cookies,” and they’re selling it. But they’re interacting, they’re having to do the interaction, like, “Here’s the cookies. I made these. I made these gluten-free. I made these.” They’re having to have those conversations. This is how much it costs. They’re doing the exchange of money and they’ve got to be ready there.

And they’re going to blow a whole lot of things, meaning they’re going to learn a whole lot of things. They’re going to go, “Ooh, I only accept cash.” I’m just going to go, like, “All I brought was card.” And then they’re going to go like, “Oh my gosh, I don’t have any way to accept this.” “Okay, cool.” That’s a really inexpensive lesson to learn, so that next year you have multiple ways for customers to pay you, right? That’s an amazing learning experience.

They’re going to go, “Hey, I’ve got these cookies.” And shoot, the person right next to me also sell cookies, and they’re crushing me. Why are they crushing me? Well, maybe their presentation was better. Maybe they had multiple varieties. Maybe they had deals where they were doing packages, right? So, you have all of these real learning experiences, then you have some students that are bringing services. You have some students that are bringing amazing frickin products and we have to make four or five grand on a Saturday afternoon.

Brad Johnson: Wow.

Matt Beaudreau: That’s funny, man.

Brad Johnson: I believe one of the rules, one of my buddies was explaining this to me, is the parent cannot be involved. So, literally, here’s the kid’s booth and the kid is here and there can’t be mom or dad hovering over their shoulder. Is that part of the rule?

Matt Beaudreau: That’s correct. That’s part of the rules. Yep, that’s it. Mom and dad can’t be hovering. They can’t be the one running. You’ve got to let the young hero have the experience and have the opportunity, yeah.

Brad Johnson: Any other non-negotiables on just like, if I’m an advisor listening in and I wanted to kind of do this, obviously, it sounds like they can go to the Acton website, check it out, but any other like, “Here’s the framework to pull this off”?

Matt Beaudreau: No, that it’s really generally very loose that way so that you can bring it to your community in the way that’s best possible. But that’s the big thing is just making sure the parents are going to stay out of it and that everybody is there being super supportive. Rule of thumb, you don’t want to go for more than about two or three hours because the kids will get burned. They’ll get burned out for sure. But it’s a great experience, man.

And I mean, we would have 1,500 to 2,000 people show up over a three-hour period for our kids at our fairs and it’s just Acton children’s business fair. And to be fair, my friend, Connor Boyack, who’s an author, he writes books called The Tuttle Twins series. If anybody’s ever heard of that, I believe they’ve got a business fair opportunity. There’s a couple of organizations that are doing this on a big scale.

Brad Johnson: Very cool. Thanks for sharing that, Matt.

Matt Beaudreau: Yeah, man.

Brad Johnson: Okay. So, I see the clock ticking. We’ve got about 15 here. So, rumor has it. I was doing a little research here that you trained under the famous Ken Shamrock at one point. Is that true? And for those unfamiliar with Ken Shamrock, just go watch the early UFC when it was much different. Not that UFC is intense now, but it was way more intense back then, really no rules. So, give me your favorite Ken Shamrock story. Let’s hear it.

Matt Beaudreau: Yeah, Ken, and so to be fair, I trained under Frank, his brother, more than I trained under Ken. But the first time I actually met Ken, I had been training under Frank. I had heard rumors of a Lion’s Den tryout. And I get a phone call while I’m at work and Ken’s like, “Hey, man, we’re going to do a Lion’s Den tryout. Here is going to be the location. It’s this coming Saturday. Can you make it?” I’m like, “Yeah, man, I’ll be there.” All right. He’s like, “Okay, cool.” And he hangs up. I’m like, “Holy cow. I just got a call from Ken Shamrock.” Like he’s saying, I’m going to go get to try. This is crazy.

Phone rings again a couple of minutes later. I’m like, “What’s going on?” And it’s Ken again. He’s like, “Actually, how much do you weigh right now?” And I told him. He’s like, “Can you make this particular weight by Thursday?” I was like, “It’s Monday. Yeah, I guess, a couple of days, I can make it.” And he’s like, “Cool. Make that weight by Thursday. Come to the weigh-in. I want you to fight on Friday.” I’m actually doing a fight card on Friday. And he’s like, “We got Bruce Buffer. He’s going to be the announcer. I got a bunch of good guys.”

Brad Johnson: Are you serious?

Matt Beaudreau: I swear to God, he’s like…

Brad Johnson: What year was this? Was this pre-UFC? Well, he’s already done UFC.

Matt Beaudreau: He’s already done the UFC. Yeah, this was early 2000s.

Brad Johnson: Okay. And Lion’s Den was his, just for clarity, that was his version of UFC or…

Matt Beaudreau: He’s training his guys that he would coach.

Brad Johnson: Okay, got it.

Matt Beaudreau: His dudes. And so, yeah, he’s like, “Bruce Buffer is going to be the announcer. Randy Couture is going to be there. Bas Rutten is going to be there, Guy Mezger.” He’s naming all of these like OGs.

Brad Johnson: Wow. Yeah, for sure.

Matt Beaudreau: And I’m like, “Yeah, man. Cool. I’m in. That sounds great.” I was scared to death, but I’m like, “That sounds great.” So, I go in, I make the weight on Thursday. I have a fight on Friday for his promotion. I get my nose busted within 30 seconds of the fight starting. I end up winning the fight in the second round. But I had a broken nose.

And so, I come up to him afterwards and I’m like, “Man, I just want to let you know, like, I know the tryout is tomorrow, but this, it’s a little bit busted.” And he’s like, “Okay.” And he’s just looking at me and I’m like, “So, does that matter or whatever?” And he’s like, “I don’t know. Does it matter to you? You’re going to have to fight at least three times tomorrow?” And I’m like. “Is this?” And he’s like, “Look, are you a P word? Are you not a P word?” And I’m like, “I’m not one.” And he’s like, “Cool. See you tomorrow, my sweet man.”

And that’s when I got my first taste of Ken’s whole concept of the Lion’s Den tryout is literally, it’s like buds, right? It’s like, I want to break you. That’s it. It’s not smart training. I love Ken to death. He’s not a smart trainer. He is a, “I will see if I can murder you. And if you don’t die about it, maybe that you’ve got something for us.” He’s a crazy man.

Brad Johnson: So, quite the story. I’m glad I asked that. I mean, because this would have been still in those days early MMA, what was your disciplines you were training in?

Matt Beaudreau: So, I grew up kickboxing. The world heavyweight champ actually at the time was from my hometown. So, he was my coach. I showed my son a movie yesterday. He plays Jean-Claude Van Damme’s brother in a movie.

Brad Johnson: Oh, really?

Matt Beaudreau: Yeah. So, old school movie, Kickboxer, if you’ve ever seen it. The guy who plays Van Damme’s brother was my kickboxing coach growing up. So, I kickbox growing up. I had very little grappling, and that was part of why I went to Frank Shamrock’s gym in San Jose. So, I was working some of those odd jobs before Stanford and training out at Frank. So, Frank was training us in MMA, but I was still learning the grappling side of things. So, it was early.

It was sketchy. When we got there on that Thursday for that first fight, I learned who I was fighting. Then, there was a weigh-in. There was no blood tests. There were no like– and to be fair, pretty much all of my fights, I only did nine, but they were a little sketchy, for sure.

Brad Johnson: Well, I mean, just go, I mean, for anybody listening or watching in here, you can go back and watch UFC 1, 2, 3. I had Rener Gracie on. And obviously, his uncle Royce was the OG, the guy that won UFC, I think, 1, 3, and 4.

Matt Beaudreau: 1, 2, and something.

Brad Johnson: 1, 2, and 4?

Matt Beaudreau: 1, 2, and 3. And then superfights afterwards. Yeah, that whole family.

Brad Johnson: Well, you remember the old school video game Street Fighter with all the characters? That reminds me of UFC 1, the dude with one boxing glove and like one sumo wrestler. I’m like, “Is this real life?”

Matt Beaudreau: That’s right. Yeah.

Brad Johnson: That’s where jiu-jitsu really came on the scene in MMA where Royce probably weighed 140 and was taking these big dudes down, so. Well, what was it that drove you? Did your parents put you in kickboxing? Was it like young Matt just wants to go try a martial art or…

Matt Beaudreau: Yeah, my dad was a hard man, for sure. And I enjoyed the early Bruce Lee films and the Van Dammes and all that. I always watch those things as a kid. But I was also a really, really sensitive kid. My dad was a– I’m talking a hard, hard man. And I thought I wanted to play basketball at five. I went into this gym. I got the ball stolen for me. I cried, ran to my dad, and he’s like, “You’re going to get back out there. Otherwise, we’re going to do a different sport tomorrow.” And I’m like, “I’m not going back out there. These kids are mean.” And so, his idea of a different sport was, now you’re going to get punched in the face and let’s see if that helps. But I did at least grow to enjoy it.

Brad Johnson: Yeah, well, cool. Well, let’s go to, we’re kind of all over the physical fitness side, and you mentioned it earlier. I remember growing up in school. And let’s apply this not just to kids, but adults in general and mental health because I played college sports, and so, I was basically forced to be physically fit. It was a job.

And I remember when football was over for me my senior year, I was like, “Cool, I’m not touching away. I’m sick of this.” And so, I went on the typical college kid’s journey of drink too much beer, stay up too late, eat McDonald’s at 2 a.m. And I remember I put on like, so– all right, I mean, probably, I’m like 200 fit when I was playing and I was probably 210 unfit after about a six-month journey. And I just remember like looking at myself and I’m like, “No, I’m not doing this.” And then I course corrected.

But I just remember that stage of my life where it did affect the confidence, the mental health. And so, let’s talk about what you’ve learned, whether in kids, whether in adults. You’ve obviously stayed on that path to physical fitness. So, what are your thoughts there?

Matt Beaudreau: Yeah, it really ends up being like anything else. And again, I want to reiterate something I said earlier where we’re talking about mental health for kids, but if we do not take care of their physical health, we can’t say we care about their mental health. So, the same thing. They’re not practicing to be people. They’re people with less practice.

So, the fact that sleep matters, the fact that getting sunlight matters, the fact that not being shot up with everything under the sun and fed a bunch of processed garbage, that matters. Physical activity on a daily basis matters. It matters for us. All those things matter for us. All those things matter for them.

So again, the biggest part of educating the young person around this is helping to educate the families on our campuses. We’re educating the parents around this. We’re encouraging them to be involved in this. It’s been the same thing for my family. My wife and I really keep all those things in check and we just establish the baseline of normal for our kids.

So, our kids at 12, 10, and 7, they are able to regulate the things they’re eating. They’re able to make sure they’re prioritizing, getting outside, being physically active. If it’s not a day where they’ve got gymnastics or kickboxing or whatever, they’ll self-direct their own workouts or they’ll come work out with my wife or I. We just learn to make this a priority.

They have no problem saying no at a birthday party when people are like, “All right. Time for cupcakes.” They’re just “Oh, no, thank you,” because they know they’re going to eat something later because they understand it doesn’t make them feel weird. They just understand, it’s going to make them feel like crap and they don’t want it. And it’s not just the, we don’t want to give. No, it’s like, it’s going to make me feel bad. I’m not going to overthink as clearly. I’m not going to be as articulate. I’m going to feel a little spot, like I don’t want that. So, same thing, parents leading by example and making it a priority.

Brad Johnson: I’m seeing a theme in this conversation.

Matt Beaudreau: There really is, man, really is. Yeah, no doubt.

Brad Johnson: Well, cool. I know we just have a few minutes left here and I want to give you some space to get to your next thing. So, I’m just going to ask the last question here, which this is the Do Business, Do Life podcast. So, I have to ask, what is Matt’s definition of Do Business, Do Life?

Matt Beaudreau: I like that, man. So, a friend of mine who’s become a mentor to me, a gentleman named Seth Godin, and some of the listeners may know who Seth is. Seth asked me one day because he knows what I was doing in the school. He asked, “What should education be for?” And I went, man, as a teacher, it’s weird. Nobody’s ever actually asked me that question. What should education be for? Education, what I boiled it down to for me, for my family, it’s pursuing sovereignty and freedom, right?

So, when you’re talking about Do Business, Do Life, to me, it’s synonymous with sovereignty and freedom. I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it with whom I want to do it with. That to me is the definition. And that’s what I want for everybody listening, that’s what I want for my kids. People tell me all the time, I went to school and I turned out fine. Fine is a four letter F word. I don’t want fine for anybody. Fine sucks. I want optimized. Do Business, Do Life to me is the optimization of that and ultimately getting to that sovereignty and freedom piece. That’s what it means to be educated.

Brad Johnson: Love that. I can tell you put a lot of thought into that. And obviously, you’re leading your life all around that and how to deliver that for many out there. So, Matt, I want to say thanks, man. I learned a ton. So, I’m thankful this won’t be our last conversation.

Matt Beaudreau: Absolutely.

Brad Johnson: And so, look forward to next week getting to hop on your show. And yeah, happy Friday. And I look forward. And hopefully, our paths cross in person here soon.

Matt Beaudreau: Guaranteed. I agree. Thank you, brother. I appreciate you.

Brad Johnson: All right, Matt. Take care. We’ll see you.

Disclosure

These conversations are intended to provide financial advisors with ideas, strategies, concepts and tools that could be incorporated into the advisory practice, advisors are responsible for ensuring implementation of anything discussed is in accordance with any and all regulatory and compliance responsibilities and obligations.

FREE SWAG

Get yourself some DBDL Swag by clicking below

Become a dbdl insider

Get your copy of and access the rest of the DBDL Library

Claim your private coaching session

Apply today to schedule a coaching session with brad

The Education Matrix

Get Jim Sheils' Education Matrix so you can better prepare your kids for the real world!