Many young adults exit college or move out of their parents’ home with no idea how to manage their personal finances.
A Colusa native hopes to help. He recently finished writing a book to help young adults gain the knowledge necessary to navigate the financial realities of adulthood.
Jake Cousineau, originally from Colusa, is now a high school teacher at La Reina High School in Thousand Oaks – he teaches AP economics, finance and psychology.
He has been working at the school for about seven years and started a financial literacy program there.
Cousineau said that is sort of the foundation of the book, “How to Adult: Personal Finance for the Real World.”
“There are a lot of materials and text already out there, a lot has been written by financial professionals and that side of the business and not too many really connect with the students or present (the information) in a way palatable to young adults,” Cousineau said.
He said one thing his students say about him as a teacher is that he’s relatable and he presents the material in an understandable way. So he thought that he should start writing a book.
He said the goals of the book were to “make it engaging, sort of entertaining and get the point across that this stuff is not particularly” difficult to understand.
“I graduated (from college) with pretty substantial student debt and I was woefully unprepared for the financial realities of adulthood,” Cousineau said.
He said when he was in his mid-20s, he started to see the significance of financial literacy.
“I started taking control of my own finances and reading everything I could on finance,” Cousineau said. “... Very quickly, (I was) seeing a pronounced turnaround in my financial situation.”
While it’s not necessarily difficult to pick up, he said the concepts are not always taught in school – he said finance is an elective at the high school.
“There’s a lack of actual teaching that goes on,” Cousineau said. “... If you start while you’re young, you avoid mistakes and take advantage of youth and the time on your side.”
Some of the biggest takeaways from the book, he said, include that financial success takes discipline and time, avoid mistakes and debt and that everyone is capable of this.
“Financial success takes discipline and using time to your advantage, you don’t become rich in a day, you build wealth slowly,” Cousineau said. “...Everybody’s capable of this, these things are not particularly difficult.”
He said the book will be released Feb. 5 and will be available on Amazon – both in the form of a physical book and e-book.
Also, he said, with the help of Tri-Counties Bank, a copy of the book is going to be given to every Colusa County high school graduate.
Cousineau said he’s hoping not just this year’s graduates and he’s working with other financial institutions to expand the endeavor.
If all goes well and the COVID-19 situation improves, he hopes to host some free workshops in northern California over the summer.
(Readers might remember Cousineau from when he won $50,300 on the television contest show, “Wheel of Fortune,” in 2018.)