Education in the United States on both a local level, as well as at the higher learning level has evolved into the biggest racket I can recall, hearkening back to the good old days when every shop keeper, store owner and individual had to pay off the Mafia for protection... so that the Mafia itself wouldn't burn down your store.
The Failure in our education system begins at the lowest levels and then continues all the way through. Kids are specifically told the method by which they must solve a problem as opposed to developing their ability to problem solve. They are taught that making mistakes is bad and you have to have "good grades" when in the realities of life, we are making mistakes all the time. And then there is the cost... Ohhh the bloody cost..
Each year in spring time as I'm walking my dog around the neighborhood I start to see the signs going up on the lawns - "Vote 'YES' for school budget". I'm used to it by now, the sore feeling in my ass as I get the semi annual Tax bill for the local schools. Year in, Year out the bill goes higher. The school reassures me that its only 3% annual increases, but my Wall Street job has been knocking down my comp annually since 2011, plus I've already been warned it's only a matter of time before I'm cut permanently.
So I wonder why?
Why does this damn tax bill have to go up, every single year? My compensation doesn't follow this trajectory, and actually, I soon have no compensation or benefits at all.
On my way back home I take the letters from the mailbox and see a flier telling me how we are going to have to cut kids lacrosse if the new school budget doesn't pass. I feel really bad and scold myself for questioning the school budget and tax hike.
These poor kids are about to lose their lacrosse team you selfish bastard! - Think about the good of those children.
When I get inside I decide I want to look at the town school budget, and it so happens to be included in the letter giving us the bad news about the kids' sports teams. I'm sipping on a Coke when my eye catches the total school budget number - As the Choking sound bellows out from within me, my mouthful of coke sprays out across the kitchen counter. The wife is incensed, "What the hell is wrong with you! I just wiped that counter!!"
I reply "101 million?!.. $101m a year & you need to cut lacrosse?!?"
I start going through the line items of the budget, and there it is... Sticking out like a Neon sign in the dark... "Staff And Pensions Costs" $73m... So there you have it... The Unions and local officials have their greasy hands in my pockets, grabbing the last few dollars out of my wallet, not to save kids lacrosse, but to keep their gravy train going - they are over 70% of the budget!
So just in case there is some confusion about this, let me clarify. When it's time for belt tightening, and you look at a budget - The first cuts you make are to the biggest line items, not the smallest ones!
So I march right over to the middle school gymnasium and enthusiastically pull the "No" lever - Ha! I'll show them!
2 days later I see that "yes" won 80/20... Oh well. I rationalized that you are basically paying for babysitting and lets just leave it at that.
But what about college costs? The big difference here is that these costs are not compulsory. The sheep willingly walk into the pen to get sheared for this one.
"Yous gonna go to college, Right?"
But of course they do - all kids are taught from the get go that they "have to" go... They "need an higher education" "You are nothing without a college degree" And Parents think back to what their parents taught them... But is it worth the cost? Are times the same today as they were 20 or 40 years ago?
The answer is a big, fat, resounding NO!
In this day and age of technology and automation - There is absolutely no reason why any university course should cost more then $1000 a year or $500 per semester - This should include all learning materials. All books could be put online and all lectures as well. Rather then wasting time going to lecture halls and classes, the universities should set up apprenticeship programs with the private sector whereby aspiring students in that field work say 15-20 hours a week at no expense to the company. In exchange, the student gains valuable real world experience. This is absolutely a worthwhile and mutually beneficial trade - The apprentice learns from the Master.
So to the dummy politicians that march around demanding $15per hour minimum wage for interns, you are only screwing the kids. The companies wont hire them as they can't do any work - they don't yet know shit - but they could learn something if they were taught by a real world craftsman as opposed to a tenured academic in a lecture hall.
And I'll tell you what - I'm going to let you in on a little secret. What you learn in undergrad or grad school is practically useless in the real world. If you are lucky enough to land a job, you will learn more in 3 months of work than you did in 4-7 years of college, guaranteed.
So why don't colleges do this?
Think back to the poor little lacrosse players above..It's because administrators, professors and other vested interests are making a absolute fortune off of you! They don't want to do anything to upset their apple cart, and make no mistake, you are first and foremost another paying customer to them.
The lack of apprenticeship program can easily be understood when you look at the current state of the job market which is as follows: Many newly created jobs are part time roles that don't require college degrees - plain & simple.
Maybe the schools, and government officials can have a think about that most simple concept of supply and demand. If the economy is not generating the demand for a massive college educated work force, then maybe we don't need such a supply of them?
Maybe we should be teaching our kids the skills they need for work - Maybe that means roofing and carpentry for some as opposed to a useless college degree. Maybe we shouldn't be tying a anchor of debt around kids' necks, as well as society as a whole, in order to maintain the current obscene cost structure of these schools.
The young adults in this country are saddled with over $1 Trillion in student loan debt with a job market that is saturated with college grads. The answer to this is not zero rate school loans guaranteed by the government, or worse, student debt being subsidized by the taxpayer. And the answer absolutely is not the new moronic idea being floated by Gov. Cuomo in NY - Free tuition for "lower income levels" - paid for by taxpayers of course. Universities and colleges have to be held accountable. To mitigate the Student Debt crisis and enslavement of our youth we must simply enact these 5 steps.
1) Every University must put all books and Class Lectures online. The tuition costs should be reduced by at least 80% for students electing for the online version. Period.
2) No State or Federal aid for students. With College costs between $2-$5k a year for the online classes as opposed to $20-$50k being paid now, students could afford to pay these costs via part-time work.
3) If the student doesn't find part time work, they are permitted to defer the cost until they do find work.
4) All legacy student debt that is currently owed should be cancelled immediately with 1/3 of the cost absorbed equally by 1) The Universities 2) The Bond investors in the packaged student debt issuance 3) A One time Federal and state bailout at 1/3 of total value. Most importantly, the students that were misled into this debt are forgiven that debt.
5) Going forward, Colleges should be forced to provide a money back guarantee. If you graduate with a 4 year degree and are unable to get a full time job with pay and benefits that amounts to at least 70% of the industry average starting compensation package, 80% of your student debt is forgiven and/or tuition reimbursed. Period.
This is the way most industries and service providers operate, so why should the Education Mafia be exempt? Think about this discussion very carefully before you make a decision on higher education. Your Risk of loss, and opportunity cost missed if your 4yr degree doesn't net you a job, is astronomical, and will be very difficult to come back from.
So why have we embarked on this tangent when we are supposed to be focusing on trading you ask?
I answer, Outside of my personal vendetta against the Education scam?
OK, here goes... 4 Critical Life Lessons that if followed will go a long way in helping you succeed in the trading game.
1 - You absolutely must, carefully weigh your risk vs reward in any choice in life - Never forget it.
2 - Following the crowd and doing what everyone else is doing is the surefire way to mediocrity at best, and into the slaughterhouse at worse.
Especially when the crowd is vociferously telling you to leap - Pause, thoroughly evaluate your options, and then make your decision, not theirs.
3 - Being wrong and making mistakes is not only OK, it's a normal part of life. The key is learning from them so you don't you have to repeat them - that gets expensive very quickly.
4 - Taking a loss shouldn't be confused with making a mistake. Losses are part of this, as well as all games. You must learn to accept them, take them, and avoid any negative connotations to them.
Practice What You Preach
As a final note, we have emulated these thoughts in our product offering.
1 - Apprenticeship with real world trader, utilizing Institutional grade research tool to deliver returns well above the benchmarks.
2 - Tuition cost that can easily be paid for with any minimum wage job.
3 - You get to test drive the platform and program before paying for it.
4 - Opportunity to seed your trading business. As part of our Trading apprenticeship, there will be a Trading competition using a Live Simulated account. The top performers will be paid cash so that they have a stake to start their trading career.
5 - Money back guarantee - If after 6 months of this program, if you feel for any reason that you have not learned more about Trading then any college course, online tool, or book, then we will provide a refund of 80% of the tuition cost. The reason we can't offer 100% refunds, is to minimize people trying to steal our work.
There is 1 catch with the refund however. You will have to make this decision prior to the live Trading Competition. If you decide trading is not for you, and that you don't want to use the tools and learn the skills that enable us to destroy the benchmark commodity index returns, then you will not eligible to participant in the tournament.
So in conclusion.
If you decide to sign up for 1 year access to the Data Lab and Trading Program, you will have access to a Institutional grade Data Analytics Platform, and will learn how to use it to become a winning trader. You will have 6 months to test drive our program , and decide if you want a 80% refund, or participate in the Live Trading Tournament.
The top performers in the tournament will be awarded seed capital payments of $1k, $5k, $10k, 20k and first place of 40k!
This is the very definition of a Low Risk/ High Reward bet.
If only colleges worked the same way...