Youngsters and Cash: Teen delivers cash messages on ‘Cash Ed’ podcast [Column] | Cash

Whitman Ochiai likes to tackle tough questions as the host of Money Ed, a podcast series he created two years ago.

Some of the topics it covers include: student loan debt relief, the value of college education, resource allocation for community college education, and how behavioral economics is playing out in the aisles of supermarkets? “

All topics are relevant to the primary teenage and young adult audience in Money Ed. The same goes for Ochiai, an 18-year-old senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, northern Virginia.

Ochiai became interested in money and finance from a young age, checking books in the library and paying attention to what his parents taught him.

However, he giggles when asked if he considers himself a financial expert. “I still learn about money every day,” he said.

It appears that Ochiai’s natural curiosity and thirst for learning about financial and economic problems served him well over 45 episodes and counts. He’s one of more and more young podcasters across the country who have a following.

The teenager started his podcasting career in his sophomore year from his family dining room, which he turned into a small soundproof recording studio.

The podcasts usually last around three minutes and are free. The bi-monthly programs are available in Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Amazon Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud.

Ochiai, who is also president of his school’s financial literacy club, started Money Ed after seeing the financial impact of the federal government’s shutdown on his community. Salaries have been frozen, savings tapped, and families worried about the future.

“I was thinking, how could I contribute to a solution that would help my community,” Ochiai said. “I brainstormed with some financial professionals and decided to create a financial literacy podcast for teens and young adults.”

This has been a tough year financially for many families, and the aftermath of the pandemic keeps coming back. But Ochiai believes that his work helped make a difference by teaching fellow students how to be responsible with money during difficult times.

Money wisely can be difficult at any age, but Ochiai believes there are some concepts that every teenager should know:

  • “Understand the notion of delayed gratification and the potential harm of impulsive financial decisions,” he said. “Stand back and look at the pros and cons.”
  • Understand value versus cost. For example, weigh the cost of going to college – everything from tuition, room and board, to the time and energy it takes to perform well – versus what you get in earning power with a degree.
  • “Make a spending plan – a budget, if you will – so you always know where your money is going,” he said.

Ochiai will be attending Cornell University this fall and plans to focus on economics and data science.

When asked about his future podcasting. Ochiai didn’t hesitate and said he would keep “Money Ed” going. After all, he will have a whole new audience of young viewers who have questions about their own financial future.