A Stanford alum mentored by Tim Cook wants to redefine education

Sahil Bloom knew there was a problem when his phone began ringing off the hook.

The former Stanford pitcher, who counts Tim Cook as a mentor after meeting him at the Palo Alto school, was used to answering investing questions old teammates would send his way. But with cases of Covid-19 reaching the U.S., the questions intensified.

“Starting in kind of March of this year, when everything broke out with Covid … You had the market surging, but the real economy was tanking. People were just asking a lot of questions.”

Bloom, currently a VP at Altamont Capital Partners based in the San Francisco Bay Area, understood why people were nervous, but couldn’t see why such smart people were unable to apply the concepts they were taught in their everyday lives. Determined to demystify these concepts, Bloom started digging into the financial education system.

“What I found was a system that is set up to protect the insiders, in my opinion, you have this, this whole world where the insiders benefit from the way it works. You know, if I’m an insider, I need to convince you that you can’t do it yourself.”

Bloom is not alone.

Nearly 70{c25493dcd731343503a084f08c3848bd69f9f2f05db01633325a3fd40d9cc7a1} of teens in the U.S. believe that people have a harder time getting financial support to start a business due to race, ethnicity and gender, and 73{c25493dcd731343503a084f08c3848bd69f9f2f05db01633325a3fd40d9cc7a1} believe that racism is embedded into societal institutions such as laws, rules and procedures according to the Junior Achievement Teens and Economic Opportunity Survey released Monday. The survey was conducted by Engine Insights online between Nov. 17 and 22 and asked 1,004 teens ages 13 to 17 about diversity, equity and inclusion.

Eager to start educating the masses with content that could be accessible and digestible, Bloom began creating Twitter threads.

“I started using Twitter threads, to kind of write stories, parable, allegory, you know, using those things to get the information and get the content across in a way that was punchy,” he said.

Bloom, who has amassed over 60,000 followers on Twitter, pointed out that a society that lacks financial education creates structural inequalities.

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Despite coming from a well-educated family — Bloom’s father is an economics professor at Harvard University — they never talked about finance or investing. “And so if you’re in an environment where that’s not what you grow up around, it’s very hard to find content and information today, that gets you that level of education.”

According to Bloom, textbooks can only offer so much. Now more than ever younger people are turning to social platforms for their information. With legions of content creators competing for viewers’ eyes, Bloom believes that the youth today need ownership to absorb the information.

“Why do students have to learn so many things in math that they can never apply to the real world? Instead, shouldn’t we be learning more things that focus on financial literacy?” said Kallin Marquez, 13, an 8th grader at Diamond Canyon Middle School in Anthem, Arizona, during Tuesday’s CNBC + Acorns and Junior Achievement Virtual Summit for a more Equitable and Just Tomorrow.

“We need a national mandate around financial literacy in schools, there needs to be a basic level of learning these topics that kids get,” said Sahil Bloom, during the virtual event.

“The goal is to improve financial literacy, improve financial education, which ultimately improves our entire economy, by the way, there are massive second, third and third-order effects,” he said. “We need to be flexible about how we get the information out there and about how we give it to the kids.”

Watch the full event below.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.

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Sat Dec 19 , 2020