Finan Liter

Academics

An Investment in NWS Students’ Futures: Introducing Youth to the Real-World Applications of Mathematics

By Amy Painter

Remember solving an endless sea of equations in the math classes of yesteryear? For some of us, the numbers didn’t always add up – meaning, answers to the equations didn’t necessarily translate to real life. At Northwest, mathematics teachers are helping students understand how the subject permeates our everyday living and informs not only our financial health, but our quality of life. 

This October, the Northwest School’s Maddy Huggins invited a guest speaker to her Math Modeling Class to teach students about investing and how to set financial goals. Lucas Matson, a CPA with degrees from the University of Washington and a former Deloitte accountant, presented an informative financial literacy overview touching on investment strategies and rules of thumb, good and bad debt, and hot topics such as cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFT).  

It’s Your Life, What Do You Want to Do with It? “As young people, we don’t necessarily know what your investment options are,” said Lucas to the class.

The CPA walked the math students through his choice of major and his strategies for getting a job, emphasizing the importance of leveraging networking opportunities, and sharing that he chose to pursue a graduate degree to set himself apart. He then invited students to consider what they want to do with their lives, underscoring investment savvy as foundational to any career or lifestyle. 

The expert presented the students with these five steps to enhance financial literary: 

Step 1: Gain financial independence. This includes investing in education and finding a career.

Step 2: Balance your budget. “Spending,” he said, “is like skydiving. Your budget is your parachute.”

Step 3: Build a portfolio. Lucas cited growth management resources including Vanguard, Wealthfront, Betterment, and Acorns.

Step 4: Get wealthy. Stay wealthy. The financial expert presented information on everything from mutual funds to Bitcoin to fractional real estate (buying into a consortium of investors to make real estate transactions).

Step 5: Find your purpose. Live your life. “Money,” he shared, “is a tool that empowers you to make choices about how you live your life.” 

Investment as a Means to Live the Dream

As he presented each step, Lucas shared photos and stories from his personal life with the students, touching on his passion for travel, his entrée into Deloitte, his experience with the investment pyramid, and his most important tips.

“Give first,” he recommended, “get back later.” The financial expert emphasized the importance of giving one’s all to a job or pursuit. He also advised the students to find a community to help push them closer to their goals, and to grow each day – reading, learning, and practicing in order to attain expertise. Perhaps most importantly, he cautioned the students to consider how they wish to spend their time, inviting them to regard money and sound investment as a means of supporting their goals and aspirations.

The students offered insights of their own, posing thoughtful questions about the importance of networking, the value of socially responsible/ethical investing, the pros and cons of real estate vs. cryptocurrency, and more. They asked about risk tolerance, promising vocations, and even for details about some of Lucas’ less successful ventures.

“The idea of diversification of investment and the budget pyramid really stuck out to me,” said student Henry J. “I would want to learn more about specifically how diversified one’s investment should be considering the correlation between different investments.”

The CPA concluded by emphasizing that investment should resonate with one’s belief systems and that it should be used to make our lives better. In addition to his private accounting firm, LDC Financial, he has used his investments to fund several creative ventures that allow him the freedom to pursue multiple passions. 

He shared with the students that he is working on a screenplay and a novel. “I can do this because of the foundation I built as an accountant,” he said.  

To learn more about Lucas Matson, visit his LinkedIn profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucas-matson-40901223