Recently I talked about something that is probably hitting home hard for a lot of you right now: sending kids and grandkids off to college. My son, Devin, has started at the University of Missouri – Science and Technology, and even though Devin is my third child, practice doesn’t make this process any easier. Letting go is tough. All you can do is trust that the examples you’ve set will point your kids in the right direction.
Still, if you want to send a freshman out the door with one last bit of good advice, try slipping STEAM into the conversation, especially if your child is undecided about a major. You’ve probably heard how STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, and math – represent the biggest growth areas in business, and the biggest needs in the workforce. But adding that A, for art, is a relatively new phenomenon that could attract a whole new group of millennials to available, higher-paying jobs out of college.
So how can STEAM keep a 22-year-old struggling to “adult” out of your future, and your basement?
1. STEAM is growing – fast.
According to the US Department of Education, the number of STEAM jobs will grow 14% by 2020, which outpaces all other fields by 5-8% on average. It sounds crazy, considering how much of our lives revolve around computers and the internet, but programming and IT jobs are the ones that top companies are having the hardest time filling. There are so many vacant tech jobs in the US right now that the federal government continues to extend work visas for foreign STEAM students and recent grads.
Companies are fighting tooth and nail to get the best STEAM people on their teams, even outside of Silicon Valley. I can tell you from experience that a good STEAM background is very valuable in the financial advisory field. Our team at Keen Wealth is well-versed in math, financial modeling, data analytics, and econometrics. We are also well-versed in “connecting the dots” between the moving pieces of the economy and our clients’ plans – crafting a comprehensive financial plan is also an art. STEAM skills are a big boost to the services we offer our clients, and it’s the same story in many other industries too.
These are jobs – real, paying, JOBS – and yet we don’t have enough college grads to fill them!
2. The (A)rt of learning.
So why aren’t more millennials flocking to STEAM and its exploding job sector? The Department of Education thinks that not enough of our kids have access to quality science and math programs when they’re in high school, and so they don’t understand how their algebra and chemistry classes can lead to lucrative careers. Despite progress, lots of schools and families haven’t eliminated old gender biases that dissuade young girls from excelling in these subjects. This might also be one of those areas where we parents aren’t always the best example.
But perhaps adding an art component to STEM gives more students an “in,” especially those who might not flock to science and math outright. Anyone who has ever held an iPhone knows that design and the tech behind it go hand-in-hand. Tomorrow’s successful artists are going to paint in digital bits. Their canvasses are going to be websites, apps, and the next generation of must-have tech. Turning STEM into STEAM will help creative young people appreciate what goes into making the things they love and rely on, and find a place for their own interests and talents in exciting new careers.
3. #Adulting made easier.
At Keen Wealth, we try to limit surprises for our clients in retirement, and make informed decisions about what we can control. Time and time again, this has proven to be a reliable approach to successful retirement planning.
Few 18-year-olds are thinking that far into the future; some aren’t even thinking four years into the future. But I believe that a strong STEAM background can provide the same kind of safety net for young adults that we try to provide retirees. That’s because even though we don’t know what the economy will look like in the next few years, we can still plan effectively by thinking critically and creatively.
I don’t know what Devin’s long-term plans are, and from the talks we’ve had, I’m not sure Devin does either! And that’s great! I want the next four years to shape him in ways that surprise us both. But I’m proud that he’s already plotted one important coordinate towards a successful future.
Bill Keen is a CHARTERED RETIREMENT PLANNING COUNSELOR℠ and independent financial advisor with more than 25 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he specializes in providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.
KWMG, LLC’s dba Keen Wealth Advisors (“company”) is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor located in Overland Park, KS. The company and its representatives may only conduct business in those states where registered or where excluded/exempt or from licensure. For registration information please contact the SEC or the state securities regulators for the states where the company is notice filed. A copy of the company ADV is available upon request. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where the company and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. No advice may be rendered by the company unless a client service agreement is in place. This information is not intended to be investment advice or construed as a recommendation or endorsement of any particular investment or investment strategy and is for illustrative purposes only. Clients and prospective clients must consider all relevant risk factors involved with each strategy, including costs or fees, and their own personal financial situations before trading.
The views outlined in the book, Keen on Retirement Engineering the Second Half of Your Life, are those of the author and should not be construed as individualized or personalized investment advice. Any economic and/or performance information cited is historical and not indicative of future results. Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted.
The Amazon Best Seller ranking listed on marketing materials is specifically referring to Best Seller rankings for the Kindle Top 100 Paid Lists under the subcategories of: Budgeting and Financial Risk Management, based on data as of September 5, 2019. Amazon rankings although relevant on how a product is selling overall doesn’t necessarily indicate how well an item is selling among other similar items or similar item categories. Amazon may choose the most popular categories or subcategories within which an item has a high ranking to determine its best seller rankings. These rankings are updated hourly and as a result, should be expected to fluctuate as such. Keen Wealth Advisors and Amazon are not affiliated entities. For further details on Amazon rankings please visit https://www.keenwealthadvisors.com/important-disclosures.