Q&A: Jedidiah Collins

From pro football player to finance guru, the Bellevue resident talks about his company, new book, and more.

Jedidiah Collins delivered bodily impact when he played fullback in the National Football League. Now he’s focused on financial impact, helping students and young professionals understand the X’s and O’s of money and making it work for them.

Collins incorporated mindset lessons he learned in the NFL with his training as a certified financial planner to create a financial-education company with a product he hopes becomes the model for financial education around the country — from high schools to colleges, youth and social clubs, and more.

The Bellevue resident is owner and founder of Money Vehicle, launched in January 2020, and author of Your Money Vehicle: How to Begin Driving to Financial Freedom!, which published last March. The Level 1 financial literacy/ workbook and related online curriculum teach young people how to manage their paychecks and put money to work for them, looking at money as a vehicle they control on their life’s journey. Lessons include online videos to which students can relate. After completing the course, they receive a résumé-worthy financial literacy certification attesting basic money knowledge.

Collins previously spoke to our sister publication, 425 Business. Here are some of the highlights.

You wear two hats: financial education, plus public speaking around things like motivational and leadership training.

Money Vehicle’s taking the forefront. So we are a financial education company that is out to empower young adults, young professionals to USE money. (USE stands for Understand your money; Strategize your money; and be Efficient with your money.) … Where we launched the … Rookie to Veteran/Jed the speaker side was going to be that public speaking because schools, colleges, companies would bring me in live to deliver both the money side, as well as the mindset side (learned from football).

And the mindset is where the leadership aspect comes in. I still love to marry the two. I’m a big believer in education is only half the battle; actually acting upon and empowering people is the real payoff . … I do facilitate a lot of workshops now virtually, but the … financial literacy certification course in a box intended for high schools and colleges to use, that is kind of our prime focus.

Talk about the “five buckets” — society, past, present, future, compassion — that are part of the cash management lesson in Money Vehicle.

You have to look at it through a young person’s eyes: How can we make it the easiest for them to … understand (cash management)? One of the things Money Vehicle’s doing is changing the conversation around money, so taxes are a very important topic, but to frame it under “society” gives it a different tone, different lens. And one of our first objectives is to show you all what that society choice goes to. “Past” is anything due before the first of the month: rents, subscriptions … any kind of debt or bills. Then you have your “present” choices, which are your daily, “What am I spending money on?” Your “future” choice, which is savings and investing. That “compassion” choice is charitable, is philanthropic, but is really just any dollar you’re spending on someone else.

What’s the biggest mistake you see people make with money?

Not having a goal. Why we need courses like Money Vehicle — and I’m not saying it’s going to be Money Vehicle — but in the next five to 10 years, there will be a standardized course that (covers) the country, which obviously would be a big vision dream for us. It would be this ability to introduce young people and say, “You have the ability to achieve freedom.” We don’t say “retire.” I think retirement needs to be retired. We say “freedom.” And that freedom is a destination. Now that is not the goal you’re setting for yourself today. That is far off in the distance — what can you achieve in the next week, month, in the next year? But if you are introduced to these topics, if you understand how money works, if you build your strategy, if you start to be efficient, then you can start to achieve your goals, but it all begins with that end in mind.

You’re a CFP, but you’re not advising where to put money; you’re teaching about money. Comment on the distinction.

I am not an advisor; I have no ulterior motive. I have tried to keep the waters as pure and clean as possible. I gave up the advisor route to begin a new industry of sorts. We hear two or three names in the financial education space: Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, Robert Kiyosaki, and those people are all 30, 40 years older than me. And so I continue to ask, “Where is the next way?” And so that is a big piece of why I get to work with groups like the NFL or colleges is because they trust I’m not there looking for clients; I’m there looking for students.

Your leadership training: is it focused mostly on teaching traits that were successful for you as a player?

Yes. Being cut and moving around 12 times in the NFL and saying, “In those locker rooms, I got to come across the best in the world at what they did.” And once you get over the pain and … reaction of getting released, you begin to study and focus: What were they doing? Why are they there? Why am I no longer there? And that’s where that “Rookie to Veteran” mindset comes in: How do I take those behaviors, those principles, those beliefs that they had and input it into my personal career, my personal journey? What I love is being able to take those thoughts and apply them to a financial plan and a financial strategy.

You’re writing another book?

Two more. One will be Level 2 of the Money Vehicle, and the other will be kind of the “Rookie to Veteran,” a little bit more of Jed’s story.

For the full interview, visit 425business.com.

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