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All too often, criminal justice-involved individuals struggle upon release to secure jobs that allow them the opportunity for growth. With doors being closed on these individuals simply because of their criminal records, how can they succeed?
Our next guest is Sean Hosman, a justice-impacted serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience in the correctional industry who has a unique perspective on both business and second chances. He became justice-involved through addiction, and now, 10 years clean, he is dedicated to achieving racial equality in corrections and ending mass incarceration.
Sean founded Vant4ge, a human services and predictive analytics technology company that has revolutionized correctional care and case management. He is also the co-founder of Persevere, a non-profit that teaches justice-involved individuals to code behind prison bars, and Banyan Labs, a technology development company that hires Persevere graduates. Each business plays a vital role in increasing public safety and improving outcomes in the criminal justice system, while also bringing hope, skills, and opportunity to justice-involved individuals. Through his work with these companies, Sean is focused on changing lives and stopping the cycle of multi-generational incarceration.
In this episode, Bob & Sean discuss:
[3:09] Social determinants of health.
[10:36] Growing up with the fear of never having enough.
[13:08] How childhood experiences can shape your adult relationship with money.
[30:59] Power comes from vulnerability.
[31:41] Leaving behind a legacy.
[39:24] “Never let your money sit idle.”
How can you help others Persevere? Visit Persevere Now to support Sean’s mission to empower justice-involved individuals at risk to succeed as productive members of society.
Connect With Sean:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/perseverenow/ and https://www.linkedin.com/in/sean-h-32610435/
Persevere Now. Sean Hosman
Click to Read Full Transcript
Bob Wheeler: [00:00:00] Welcome to another episode of Money You Should Ask, where everyone has something they can teach you. I’m your host, Bob Wheeler. And in this episode, we’re going to explore, question, examine, converse, dig deep, expose, laugh, and cry about the money beliefs, money blocks, and life challenges of our next guest.
Turn up the volume, listen, learn, and laugh. Well, our next guest is Sean Hosman. He’s a justice impacted serial entrepreneur with 20 plus years of experience in the correctional industry, who has a unique perspective on both business and second chances. Using technology to drive criminal justice reform is one of his many passions.
He became justice involved through addiction, and now 10 years clean, he is dedicated to achieving racial equality in corrections and ending mass incarcerations. In 1998, Sean founded Vant4ge, a human services and predictive analytics technology company that has revolutionized correctional care and case management. He is also the co-founder of Persevere, a nonprofit that teaches justice involved individuals to code behind prison bars, and Banyan labs, a technology development company that hires Persevere graduates. Each business plays a vital role in increasing public safety and improving outcomes in the criminal justice system, while also bringing hope, skills, and opportunity to justice involved individuals. Through his work with these companies, Sean is focused on changing lives and stopping the cycle of multi-generational incarceration. Sean, welcome to the show.
Sean Hosman: [00:01:30] Thank you. You said that better than I did. I’d like to get a copy of what you just read.
Bob Wheeler: [00:01:36] Who is that guy?
Sean Hosman: [00:01:38] I love it.
Bob Wheeler: [00:01:38] You know, I love that you use the word “justice involved.” Um, and I wonder if you could comment on that. Um, maybe nobody else noticed that, but I think it’s, I think there’s some intention there and I just wanted to…
Sean Hosman: [00:01:51] There is. A lot of times in the country, it’s, it’s part of how we characterize or humanize or perceive those who have been somehow in some way, caught up in the criminal justice system, and so people in different states and jurisdictions, they call them felons. They call them ex-cons, offenders, inmates, or returning citizens, re-entrance citizens, parolees. So in a lot of ways, when you talk about those that have been involved in a system, we use the word justice involved or justice impacted, because actually, we have 70 million people in the country who have been justice impacted who have records. Currently, right now, 1 in 31 Americans are caught somewhere in the criminal justice system. And even when you get to the black and brown communities, 1 in 13 of our African-American, men are in the criminal justice system.
So it is intentional to recognize that there has been impact from the justice involvement and yet, they’re just like you and me. And, and for whatever reason they are or were, where whatever happened and they need to move on, and they need the opportunity to move on.
Bob Wheeler: [00:03:02] And I wonder, as you’re saying all that, I’m thinking about, you know, in this show, I talk a lot about money, and I wonder how much money, from an early age, in other words, people not having a lot of money or people being disadvantaged, or the system working against them that plays a factor in their incarceration or in all of this stuff that’s happening in the justice system.
Sean Hosman: [00:03:29] Yeah, it does. You know, one of the things I do in one of those companies is build what is called “risk and needs assessments.” Those are predictive tools. They can predict for somebody in the system, maybe what they’ll do later. Like, are they going to commit another crime? And maybe is that a crime of violence?
What are their needs and program needs? The reason I say all of that is because socio-economic status, which is what you’re sort of describing in some ways with the lack or the abundance of money, that is one factor in socio-economic status that is not that heavily correlated in our predictive machines with criminality.
However, something that really is, is a set of factors, many of which I lump under what’s called the “social determinants of health.” And we don’t always think about it that way, right? We don’t think about crime, or health, or put those two together, but people grow up in environments where there are very few social determinants of health, or exposure to trauma and violence. Oftentimes they can be associated with some areas of poverty or criminality or neighborhoods that have been decimated, and together it perpetuates criminal activity. It perpetuates people filling basic needs and survival needs.
Bob Wheeler: [00:04:53] Well, and I think to that point, I think for a lot of people, it is all about survival. It’s not, you know, some of us have the privilege of, of having choice or being able to choose a neighborhood we live in. And then it can be easy to sit here from this seat and say, “Oh my gosh, why don’t they just go get a job? Or why don’t they just do better?” But if you’re actually in their shoes, they’re probably, many of those folks, in survival mode.
They’re just trying to eat. They’re just trying to keep a roof over their head. And so, it’s a little presumptuous, I think, for, for me to sit over here and figure out, why aren’t they behaving the way that I’m behaving when they don’t have access to any of the things that I have access to?
Sean Hosman: [00:05:40] It’s not even now, but I’ll give you two comments. One is, but you’re right. It is presumptuous for us when we think that, and I, we still have biases and we still have sort of, you know, presumptions about certain things and oftentimes we’re wrong, but we can only think about these issues within the context of our experience that we’ve been through, but that’s actually the point to make about them.
They can only think about what is right or wrong, or the thing to do next, to survive or otherwise exist, through the lens of the context in which they’ve grown up or they’ve learned. And in that context, oftentimes, there is no other choices. There aren’t, there haven’t been experiences, there haven’t, they haven’t been articulated.
People don’t discuss them. They haven’t been provided with skills or meaning. So their context, oftentimes, if they’ve been involved almost exclusively in a difficult environment, they don’t have the context with which to form the thought. They’re bright, they’re brilliant, there’s many, it’s not that they’re, it’s not a, an intelligence thing.
It’s a matter of reference for a lot of them. The other thing I’d say is, you know, let’s talk about the pandemic for a second. I’m going to talk about how we were all feeling last April and thinking, you know, what is, how far is this going to go? How’s how much are stores going to be shut down? How many people are going to lose their job? How, and let’s say this goes really bad for the next two years.
Are we going to start seeing gangs are out in the street? And if we do, because they need food, how am I going to react? What am I going to go do to feed my family? So it almost gave us a little bit more insight into, oh, this could be all of us thrust into a difficult, near impossible situation, um, that we would’ve had, we might’ve been forced to make choices about how to survive.
Bob Wheeler: [00:07:31] Yeah, absolutely. And I think probably as you were saying that I, I was thinking a lot of us probably got just a flavor of what some of these folks go through on a regular basis, because it feels like it goes maybe on and on forever. Um, and we only just got a taste of that.
Sean Hosman: [00:07:47] Yeah. We all thought, “What if this goes on for too long?” That, everybody knew that that was a possibility, and that was scary for everybody, right?
Bob Wheeler: [00:07:56] Yeah.
Sean Hosman: [00:07:56] From an economical point of view, from a survival mode point of view.
Bob Wheeler: [00:08:01] Absolutely. And so it makes me wonder, you have all this awareness, you’re, and you’re aware about, like, people’s experience, and we can only come from that place. When you were seven, eight years old, were you saying, “Hey, I’m going to fix the, the justice system and here’s what we’re going to do. And I want to make sure there’s equality.” Like how did you get to this place? What, where, where did you start?
Sean Hosman: [00:08:26] Yeah, that’s good, that’s a good question. Um, as a kid, the only thing I knew as a child in the ages of seven, eight, twelve, thirteen, was I was raised by people that were pretty, um, socially conscious, and so back then we called them hippies. And, uh, so I was raised by some sixties and seventies, pretty grassroot organizing, um, protestors and politicians that really got involved in the system. And I was raised with the idea of the social contract. Right? And so sometimes, religiously, might say, “Oh, but for the grace of God, there go I.” Less religiously, but still very socio-economically, um, there is a tribe. Or that we are a community or we are a country, and there is a recognition I was taught as a kid that there is a social contract as a community, however extended, that there are different responsibilities of different members within that community, and there is a need even to take care of ourselves, by making sure that others are taken care of, or we might not live, we might get harmed.
We might not have the actual opportunities we want. That’s one. Two, I then wanted to be an entrepreneur, then I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. And so I wanted to go do what my parents did; I thought that being a politician would actually be a place where I can go and enact change. So that was always in my blood. I went to law school, I did really well. I went to work for a big law firm, and I got kind of sucked into that legal, um, career path. And then after a few years, I just stopped and one day said, “That’s absurd.” So I quit.
Bob Wheeler: [00:10:03] And, and how did you feel the next day?
Sean Hosman: [00:10:06] Yeah, yeah like, “Oh, what did I do?” Um, no, I really had this entrepreneurial blood, I really believe it. I thought as attorney, “This is great. I’m helping other people redistribute whatever they have. I want to go make something that’s a solution to help solve problems.” I want to sell it, I want to make money, I want to be an entrepreneur, but I really wanted to build, I didn’t want to just redistribute. So different DNA.
Bob Wheeler: [00:10:30] Yeah. So you had hippie parents though, hippie…
Sean Hosman: [00:10:33] Yeah I did.
Bob Wheeler: [00:10:34] Enlightened people.
Sean Hosman: [00:10:36] Yeah.
Bob Wheeler: [00:10:36] And you wanted to be an entrepreneur, which might, to some people, mean, “I want to make money.” Um, or it might be that I just want to create a business. So what was your relationship with money, and how did, the folks that raised you in your environment, uh, feel about money?
Sean Hosman: [00:10:54] Yeah. Um, I was raised at first by a single mom, who, you know, got pregnant at 17 with my older sister. And so, we didn’t have a lot of money. I always like to say I grew up on the other side of the tracks. Um, we had enough. And I had a maternal grandmother who was sort of our family matriarch anyway, who had enough. And so I can’t paint, paint the picture too bleakly, but I had, I’ve had, because of that… so I would call, I would say to Dr. Bob, sort of an unhealthy relationship with money. I saw what it meant not to be able to almost control yourself or be in control of yourself. I saw the lack of money as allowing someone else to steal our time, my mother having to work and me being a latchkey kid. I saw it as, resentful at times about not being able to do that, which, which, what we wanted.
So I grew up with a pretty healthy fear of not having enough. As I started to have enough, that changed to a, kind of a healthy fear of not being able to have enough to do more for other people. And so I do have somewhat of a “never’s enough” with money, but not for me anymore. It’s I want to do as much, I’m trying to do so much to save so many people that I think deserve saving in a way, that I want more to do that with. So I still probably have a fairly unhealthy relationship with money.
Bob Wheeler: [00:12:25] But with a, but with good intention.
Sean Hosman: [00:12:27] It very much is.
Bob Wheeler: [00:12:29] Um, do you remember any childhood memory where, that you looked and said, “Wow, money would really be helpful,” or, “I’m, I’m having lack of,” or, or something you got excluded from that you said, “Yeah, never again.”
Sean Hosman: [00:12:47] I’m sitting in a welfare office waiting for food stamps every other month for about four hours, was enough.
Bob Wheeler: [00:12:54] Yeah.
Sean Hosman: [00:12:55] Yeah. Never again.
Bob Wheeler: [00:12:57] Yeah.
Sean Hosman: [00:12:58] Yep.
Bob Wheeler: [00:12:59] And do you remember, like, I mean, I, yeah. I mean, this is, you know, I’m going to dig a little bit, but, um, when you’re a kid sitting there in a welfare office, you know you’re getting what some people would call a government handout. Right? You know, what goes through your mind? “I’m not enough.” Or like, “What the hell? How did I get here?” Like, like what, what’s the story, that, for you, that when you were sitting there?
Sean Hosman: [00:13:29] You know, I was nine years old. Right? We did that for about a year, I believe. I can’t remember all the facts, but it was, I was nine years old and we would make these trips to, to get food stamps.
And, um, the experience around those was just negative. I felt bad for my mom, right? I, my mom was great. Um, uh, and I felt bad every time we had to go to the store and use them. You know, I noticed sort of attitudes and biases and, uh, and, and treatment of people sort of in that system, others who were in the offices with us needing the same thing.
Um, I, I didn’t. I did not have a positive experience with it. I knew we needed it or, or I knew, and I might’ve even thought my mom had made certain choices that maybe if she had made differently, she wouldn’t be in that position. So that’s probably a pretty, we could probably have some sessions on the couch about that for a few years, but, but…
Bob Wheeler: [00:14:22] Yeah.
Sean Hosman: [00:14:23] But, but I’ve remembered it, it was galvanized and seared into my brain. And it gave me, I guess in some ways, motivation, either not to be there myself, not to grow up and be an adult and put my, any children I might have. I didn’t like it. It was negative.
Bob Wheeler: [00:14:39] Yeah. Well, I think in some ways it reminds me of with the school lunches, where they tag the kids that get the free lunch. And so it’s clear you’re the poor kid and you’re getting, and, and we, we group people and then we stigmatize them. And for a kid who’s really there not by their own doing, um, is the recipient of a lot of negative feedback.
Sean Hosman: [00:15:03] And what it does to kids, I don’t know when you figured out who you were, Bob, but it took me a minute, it takes all of us. You know, men don’t develop their full frontal lobe until they’re 26. You don’t know your identity until you’re well, past 16, 14, 18, 25, depending on who you are.
And so to be identified, and people giving you an identity, superimposing an identity on you, of a delinquent or poor or poverty or not good enough, that’s indelibly imprinted on your identity maker as you’re printing your own labels, right? About who you are. So it’s awful. That’s very harming.
Bob Wheeler: [00:15:44] Yeah.
Sean Hosman: [00:15:44] It’s traumatizing.
Bob Wheeler: [00:15:45] Yeah, absolutely. And I don’t imagine this is the case for you, I don’t know, but, um, I’m going to ask, because like, I know for me and many of my friends, cause I was going to be a lawyer. Um, the accounting thing came secondary. That was just to help my grade point, but I was going to be a lawyer and then I met some lawyers and I went, “I don’t want to be a lawyer,” but, but very driven. So I can, I can say with all honesty, I was very driven. And that I was socialized to believe that I am my accomplishments. Right? So I only have value if I bring something to the table, it doesn’t matter if I’m a good person and have a big heart, I need to actually deliver the goods.
And then after I deliver those goods, I got to deliver more goods. So I can’t even stop and enjoy them, because I got to keep moving before somebody else…
Sean Hosman: [00:16:29] You’re only as good as your last goods, yeah.
Bob Wheeler: [00:16:32] That’s right. And I’m wondering, um, with, with the hippie parents, the social contract, um, but this motivation of “never again,” was there any of that that played in, or at least by the time you got to college and law school? Because there was a lot of that I would imagine at law school.
Sean Hosman: [00:16:50] Oh, yeah, no, and that’s how I even got caught up in the law school machine of be, you know, “be in the top 10%, get the blue stocking, blue ribbon law firm.” Um, and I got really caught up in that when I had gone initially to be, have the skills and the credentials to go make change.
Uh, and then the money and the partnership track, and all of that kind of took hold for a little while until I kind of snapped out of it in a way, nothing against lawyers. The law firm I worked for was just fantastic, great people, all that. But, um, but when, you know, when you were talking about, um, what drives you and your identity, I wanted to say something a little bit different about that, but I think I still have maybe an unhealthy relationship with my identity.
I have three children, and, you know, um, my identity is providing for them, whether that’s wrong or right. I’m not here to second guess it. I’ve, I’ve, I’ve understood very clearly, especially in the last 10, 15 years that my identity with providing for my children and my family is my only value on the globe.
And that sounds, I’m saying that bombastically on purpose. I have lots of value. But what drives me is that I have a job to do and it’s to provide for those close to me. I signed up for it, and I best deliver it. And that is, that’s a huge driver for me.
Bob Wheeler: [00:18:11] And how do you keep yourself, and, and maybe you don’t, but I’m going to assume that you do, how do you keep yourself from projecting how you want your kids to be and letting them be who they want to be?
Sean Hosman: [00:18:23] Yeah. I don’t know. You’d probably have to ask them. Um, you know there, there’s a bunch of stuff there. My, my children are very different, like all of ours, and I have children kind of going different trajectories in different ways. And they’re all, uh, I think, um, um, what I told my children as they were growing up every time they’d hit a new age, like 11, 13, 14, 15, um, I did have the ability to stop and say to them, even as they were yelling at me or telling me that I didn’t know what I was talking about anymore, I would just say, “You’re perfect. You’re literally perfect as a, you know, molecule changing 14 year old, who is rapidly trying to figure out their own selves, separate from us physically, metaphysically, metaphorically, and, and your, your hormones are on, on ramp. And you’re just perfect. In this moment, you should be probably telling me you don’t like what I’m saying and what I’m thinking.”
And so all the while that they’ve been growing up, even though I interrupted that dramatically and destructively with my own addiction, um, all the while, there was a complete acceptance for who they are and they’re perfect. They’re, they’re perfectly imperfect. Imperfectly perfect, whatever.
Bob Wheeler: [00:19:37] Yeah. I know what you mean. Um, and do you, did you, have real conversations with them about money? And about how money conserve or how money is in, you know, unfairly or, you know, life’s not fair kind of thing, but like what were those kinds of conversations? What do you, what do you tell your kids?
Sean Hosman: [00:20:00] Yeah, I’ve had many and again, probably a little bit, um, skewed from my perspective, but money, success is not money. Right? That’s one of the, that’s one of the, the, um, the things we’ve talked about a lot, but, and there’s a but there, which almost negates everything you just said, right? But, um, if you want independence to make choices, whether it’s to practice a religion or go to Tahiti, whether it’s to live here or not work today, or whether it’s to, you know, have the security for you and/or your friends, family, money means independence in our world.
And so if you want independence, um, treat your money in a way that you are in control of your own life.
Bob Wheeler: [00:20:46] Yeah. And would you say your kids have a pretty healthy relationship with money from your perspective?
Sean Hosman: [00:20:52] Um, I think they do. I, um, I think they do. I think they do. Um, I can’t, I can’t single any one of them out right now on, on the air, but yeah, I think they do.
Bob Wheeler: [00:21:04] To date, if you look back, can you look and say, “Here’s one thing financially I did right. I’m really, I’m really glad I did it.”
Sean Hosman: [00:21:12] Um, early on when I, okay. Number one, I, I married, uh, an amazing woman who had a phenomenal ability to save and spend and manage. So I did not, I wasn’t raised with that. So when I got married, uh, at the young age of 24, um, she was just, um, like already a money manager.
And so we saved, for example, even as young married couples, we decided to be extremely frugal. We didn’t have a lot. I was in college, so was she. I was going to go into law school, but even at that young age, we made some decisions around how to live well within our budget and never spend more than we had.
So everybody else was buying the cool furniture, married couples. I was in Mormon land. So all the couples were kind of getting married and the same time, it’s almost a marriage machine. And so everybody else was spending all this money. We saved 10 grand, so we wouldn’t have to take out loans to go to law school.
And that was all her. But I learned from her, she was the best teacher of how to manage money. I couldn’t have learned from anybody better.
Bob Wheeler: [00:22:20] And, this will seem like a random question. The car that you currently drive, assuming you currently drive a car. Um, how did you decide to get that car?
Sean Hosman: [00:22:31] Because my friends sat on my couch over here one day and explained to me that the new Tesla Model Y was the new perfect rig. Cause I wasn’t spending 120 grand on a rig ever, don’t care how much money I have. And I didn’t like that puny Model 3. And so I’m driving a Tesla Model Y. A, because I believe in the revolution and I believe that is part of the revolution as a concept and as a, as a, as a virtue, and B, because he found me the perfect band, which was that, you know, in that $60,000 range, that I could still be part of the revolution. So that’s why I bought a Tesla.
Bob Wheeler: [00:23:10] Sometimes being part of the revolution is expensive.
Sean Hosman: [00:23:14] It can cost you dearly.
Bob Wheeler: [00:23:16] It can cost you dearly. What is something that you do not love to spend money on?
Sean Hosman: [00:23:24] Oh my gosh, taxes. I loathe taxes.
Bob Wheeler: [00:23:26] That’s so funny. Cause most people love to pay their taxes. That is so strange that you would say that. I love writing those checks to Uncle Sam and Aunt California.
Sean Hosman: [00:23:36] I have a very unhealthy relationship with taxes. I pay my taxes, I, um, I have several companies. There’s a lot of money coming in different ways. Gotta manage all that. So I’ve gotten very good at that. I had good people that help me, but, um, I have a problem when I pay the taxes I do, and Jeff Bezos pays the taxes he does, and I have a problem with the broken system of it.
I have, I have a problem with the low level people getting the most audits. And I watched my grandmother go through an audit. And a woman to sit at her kitchen table told her not to get an attorney. My grandma didn’t get an attorney. She was very, she wasn’t sophisticated in that way, although she owned her own clothing store. And I saw this take about four years of her life and put her through hell, um, when she was just a single mom, business owner, grandmother.
And so I have a real problem with the way the system is built against those who don’t know how to work the system. And so it’s biased and prejudice and it’s manipulative. So I have a hard time spending money on taxes because of the system, not because of my contribution to society. It’s very different.
Bob Wheeler: [00:24:42] Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And now that you’ve got all these businesses and you’ve joked about not having the healthiest relationship with money, how did you know to find the right people? Or like, there is no, not that I’m aware of, there’s no entrepreneurial college where you just go and learn how to be an entrepreneur. I mean, you can certainly, there are some business schools out there, but like some of it’s intuition, uh, making several mistakes, school of hard knocks. So there’s all kinds of ways. How did you, uh, was it just intuitive? “This is the way I’m going to go?”
Sean Hosman: [00:25:18] A couple of things. One is, I’m a sales guy, kind of, kind of, you know, with charm. And not that I am all of this, but just relationship building, focused on, I focus on people in a pretty intensive way. And when you build relationships, built around paying attention to people, recognizing them and acknowledging them and their needs, that’s very easy then to build relationships and it’s genuine, right? When it’s genuine, people, that resonates. It’s addictive, right? It’s actually, it’s, it’s intoxicating for people to pay attention to you genuinely and want to understand you more. Everybody wants that. Right? And so when it comes to entrepreneurship, I really felt like, in the places that I felt like I could make a difference, I worked very hard at trying to really understand the pain or the needs of that population.
Um, at first the criminal justice system, the security correctional system, and then as so, so it was easy for me to sell or to engage or to get contracts. Um, and I found that just remarkably easy, um, I had to get much better at what entrepreneurs do sometimes poorly, which is managing the scalability of the processes and people and accounting and all of that.
That’s where the entrepreneur usually checks out about chapter three of that business. Plus, we need to bring in a professional manner. And so I brought in a lot of professional managers. They probably wish I would check out so they can manage this thing.
Bob Wheeler: [00:26:54] Like, “Is he going to go yet?” No, I think that’s so true. I think that’s so true though. The, it’s, it’s the creative part, building it, that’s all the fun stuff. Maintaining it, and then doing the same thing over and over, ugh, right? That’s, yeah. Yeah. It’s a, it’s a, it’s a sleeper. Well, now that you’re doing all this stuff and, and a lot of what you’re doing, uh, is about helping other people, would you ever consider going back into politics or is that not really a way to really facilitate change?
We can do more in the private sector. I mean, there’s a reason there’s a lot of people not running for politics because they feel they can do more in the business sector. Would you agree with that? Or what’s, what’s your take on that?
Sean Hosman: [00:27:33] I, I would now, especially more than ever. I don’t know how profound we can talk or how long we would have, because no one even knows what’s happening anymore. With the level of political animosity that has occurred in this country where I don’t care if you’re for Trump or against Trump, you can recognize, um, right now after the last five years, and since Barack Obama. Because of what that started in terms of this political divide, a black man became president of the United States and a lot of the fallout that we’re still dealing with for that, regardless of your political persuasion, the juggernaut, loggerhead, no holds barred, um, uh, juxtaposition where no one gives any ground now seems to me it’s more feudal than ever. So no, I would want nothing to do with that. Had you asked me 15 years ago? I might’ve said, yeah, I’m going to get back into that. But then when I went to jail 12 times, that kind of probably threw a wrinkle in any of that.
And now with the way that it operates, I don’t want anything to do with it. I’m disgusted with the way the system works now. And I do believe public private partnerships, the ingenuity and the need to make capital and keep your business alive, so innovation that comes from the private sector and solutions to complex, even social problems that comes from, that can come from the private sector, I think is more effective.
Bob Wheeler: [00:28:56] Yeah, no, absolutely. And one of the things that I, and I’m curious your take on this, but my experience of you, um, in the couple of times that we’ve talked, cause we were on Round Table together, um, is that you’re very transparent, right? You don’t hide the fact that you were incarcerated, uh, and, and all these things that a lot of people would probably try to hide and present in a certain way and then hope nobody finds it.
Um, I think there’s some freedom in being transparent and just saying, “This is who I am.”
Sean Hosman: [00:29:27] You’re right. That helps. It’s not even like, I was going to say it’s because you want other people who’ve been through that to see themselves in you and know you can make it, but you’re equally right. It’s probably as much not the lazy way out, but it frees me from having to worry about it. I like that. That was smart. That was, you’re right on.
Bob Wheeler: [00:29:46] Well, it just, it seems to me, at least when it comes to money and I think also with status and job and all that stuff, my experience is, um, people want to present well.
Sean Hosman: [00:29:55] Yeah.
Bob Wheeler: [00:29:56] You know, we, I, I saw somewhere that we have our, our, our public life, our private life, and then our secret life. Right? And, uh, we don’t want people to know our secrets. Uh, we want it to look great on Instagram or Facebook. And for me, there’s something about taking the, like I, it’s too much, I don’t have the time. Uh, and it’s too much pressure to try and like, keep presenting well, it’s like this is it. Like, take it or leave it.
Sean Hosman: [00:30:23] Yeah, I agree with that. You know, Kendrick Lamar, a rapper, says a great line. I don’t know. I can’t quote it verbatim, but basically saying, you know, I don’t want Photoshop, you know, show me stretch marks and, um, and it’s a great line and that’s what you’re talking about. Um, I, you know, you and I are older. I’m probably older than you. Um, by quite a bit, but, um, so it’s harder for us to identify with the, all of the Instagram and a lot of the social media.
I’m very bad at it. Uh, it scares me, et cetera, et cetera. But, um, but I, I do think, um, I am after, and I’ll, I’ll tell, I’ll put this the way that I give it to the folks that were caught up in the system that I work with. Um, I am after the power that I believe is, power that comes from vulnerability. I am convinced and it has proven itself out in, uh, just in a demonstrable way that power comes from authenticity. And vulnerability, actually true power. And I believe that.
Bob Wheeler: [00:31:24] Yeah, absolutely. I, uh, watched Brene Brown multiple times to remind myself, because I tend to agree with her. I deal with the motions, kicking and screaming. “I don’t want to do this.” Um, but I, but I know it’s the way, I know it’s the way. I know that one of your life purposes is to make sure that you take care of your kids. What do you want your footprint to be?
Sean Hosman: [00:31:49] You know, so I, I, uh, I have three things that I say to myself every day. I do manifestations, maybe some other, I mean, lots of folks do, um, mine are three things. One, I choose faith. Two, I take care of me. Three, my family is my legacy. Uh, those are the three things I say out loud to myself.
Um, and, uh, faith has its own funny version. So we’ll leave that alone. I take care of me and my, my subscript to that is, “only so I can take care of those around me.” That’s why I take care of me first. Um, and otherwise I’ll never be available to them. Um, especially as a recovering addict. And then the third one is my family is my legacy.
So I believe that four generations from now, that great, great, great grandchild gets confidence even as they grow up, and their ability to have self advocacy based on their heritage. I think that’s absolutely key. Probably part of my, my Mormon upbringing. Um, uh, even though that’s not my scene, but there’s, uh, that, that legacy for them and theirs and theirs and theirs is what I care the most about.
Now, after that, though, I am interested in, um, I would like to leave behind as well, a community, that, um, we’re building, um, out of those who are caught in the criminal justice system, and those who are marginalized, and those who are disposable, considered disposable. And so there is a lot of work now, and I feel like the song in Hamilton.
Um, you know what, I can’t ever remember lyrics, but, uh, “writing because I’m running out of time,” or, “I’m running out of time.” What is the name of that song? Anyway, I feel like I’m running out of time. There’s so much I want to do, that is a lot of what I’m interested in leaving behind as well.
Bob Wheeler: [00:33:40] That is awesome. And I have no doubt that it will happen. And I’m wondering though, with all like, there’s, when you get into social injustice or social justice, however you want to frame it.
Sean Hosman: [00:33:52] Yeah.
Bob Wheeler: [00:33:52] Um, it can be overwhelming. And I’m wondering if it on occasion feels hopeless. Like there’s so much work to be done. And sometimes, like, I have to say, you know, uh, you’re talking about, uh, Obama being elected president.
I thought, oh, we’ve come so far. Right? And then, uh, having to have the realization of how far we have not come. And, uh, it was quite overwhelming, um…
Sean Hosman: [00:34:16] Yeah, it’s overwhelming.
Bob Wheeler: [00:34:18] Yeah.
Sean Hosman: [00:34:18] How bad it is. How many people that you didn’t know were this hateful. And again, I don’t care what side you’re on. The amount of, of irrational hate that apparently, even though I knew it existed before is, um, as staggering as it is, has, has, it undermines your motivation. It can be overwhelming. And yet, you know, you wake up five minutes later or the next day, and I’ll be damned if, you know, I’m not going to do all I can to build as many people as I can together or join what they’re doing to, um, to overcome it, period.
Bob Wheeler: [00:34:58] Yeah.
Sean Hosman: [00:34:58] Not going to sit idly by.
Bob Wheeler: [00:35:00] No, absolutely. Absolutely. Um, I love that. I love that. Well, I’m going to switch the energy just a second. I’m going to go into our Fast Five, a little bit lighter.
Sean Hosman: [00:35:10] I feel like it’s a test.
Bob Wheeler: [00:35:10] Huh?
Sean Hosman: [00:35:10] Feel like it’s a test.
Bob Wheeler: [00:35:11] It’s a test. I, you know, if you pass, you get to go into the top 10%. So, uh, you’re back on track. You’re back on track. Uh, can, can money, can money buy happiness?
Sean Hosman: [00:35:27] Oh. Can buy independence. Can buy independence and without independence, that’s tough to be, well, I don’t know. You’re talking philosophy. It buys independence.
Bob Wheeler: [00:35:40] Exactly. It does, it does. What’s the most risky investment you’ve ever made, and did it pay off?
Sean Hosman: [00:35:47] Um, I had a guy convince me to put a hundred grand, a hundred grand into buying, uh, back in 2008, homes in Detroit. And I lost it all.
Bob Wheeler: [00:36:02] Yeah.
Sean Hosman: [00:36:02] Everything.
Bob Wheeler: [00:36:03] I hope you didn’t, what’d you do? Buy high and sold low?
Sean Hosman: [00:36:06] I think he took it, I, he, somehow it just, the whole thing disappeared.
Bob Wheeler: [00:36:10] It just disappeared.
Sean Hosman: [00:36:10] It just all disappeared.
Bob Wheeler: [00:36:12] C’est la vie, ouch. What’s a valuable life lesson you’re learning right now?
Sean Hosman: [00:36:20] Oh my gosh. To be, uh, not to do, not to try to do too much at one time. Um, uh, and by the people around me would say, I’m not learning this yet, but I am starting to come to the realization that although, um, I do have a lot that I’m trying to do at once that, um, I am hurting some of what I’m trying to accomplish by, by spreading myself too thin and really not being able to focus and pay attention, um, and have, uh, enough, completing and really nurturing the things that are most important to me.
And that’s a real problem right now and I’m learning, but I think I’m learning from it. I’m trying to make active, I’m actively going after how to solve that.
Bob Wheeler: [00:37:02] That I, and I’ll just say about my side. That’s a hard thing to do. I’ve got several businesses, and, uh, I have so many friends that will say, you know, two years ago, you said you were going to slow down, and I’m like, no, no, next week, I’m slowing down next week. Totally slowing down in three weeks, I’m going to slow down. So…
Sean Hosman: [00:37:22] Nobody believes us anymore.
Bob Wheeler: [00:37:24] They don’t, it’s very frustrating because I, eventually I will slow down. Um, but it’s, yeah, it’s, it’s a struggle. It’s a struggle. How do you, how did you spend money wisely this week?
Sean Hosman: [00:37:36] Um, I’m gonna say that I spent money, why, oh, hell I don’t know.
Bob Wheeler: [00:37:44] I just spent.
Sean Hosman: [00:37:44] I was going to say something cheeky, actually, that no one’s going to like, but I actually got for the first time, all of our Banyan Labs developers and our Persevere staff together in a little summit down in Phoenix, I just got back from that. And after the COVID and the pandemic, getting everybody together, who’s been virtual and two different companies coming together. These are the instructors that used to teach them inside the facilities. And now these guys are out in regular clothes, buying cars and being with their children, putting them together in the same room was combustibly, uh, powerful and wonderful. That was some of the best money I’ve ever spent.
Bob Wheeler: [00:38:20] That’s super cool. That’s super cool. Um, Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Money often costs too much.” What do you think that means?
Sean Hosman: [00:38:28] Yeah. At the end of the day, right, are you just the fisherman who gets to fish and take people fishing? Or are you the guy that comes up and goes through the whole story of, you know, if you built a bigger business, you could get to this level and then why? Well, so you could fish. Well, yeah, so it probably does cost quite a bit.
Bob Wheeler: [00:38:52] I love that cartoon. It’s very,with the little fisherman. You could be, yeah, I’m having a good life, right? We just want to be happy.
Sean Hosman: [00:39:01] Yeah, for me, I would say it’s cost relationships. It’s cost, you know, my family, my kids would say dad was probably gone too much, worked too hard. They would still say probably gone too much, works too hard. Um, so I think in some ways in that level, there’s probably 1,800 ways to answer that question, but that’s for sure an immediate cost that I can acknowledge.
Bob Wheeler: [00:39:21] Yeah, absolutely. It costs. M & M Moment, Money and Motivation. Our sweet spot. Can you give us a piece of practical financial advice, a tip, or just something that somebody told you that you’ve taken to heart and it effectively works for you?
Sean Hosman: [00:39:37] Put your money to work.
Don’t ever let your, don’t, never let your money sit idle. And I have a high tolerance for risk. Not everybody has to have a high tolerance for risk, but I would never, say I’m talking to a 14 year old or a 10 year old or 21 year old. Know now, the power of really trying to make what you have grow into something for later and understand the value of time. That time’s going to transpire, while you’re walking the spinning globe, put your money to work.
Bob Wheeler: [00:40:07] Yeah, no, absolutely. I think that’s, it’s so important. I mean, obviously we have the gift of hindsight. When I was younger, it didn’t, none of that made sense, always. Yeah. But, you know, I think one of the things that like, I’ve really taken away from what you’re talking about today is you’re, you’re talking about social consciousness. Like your parents, you know, your family, well, I won’t say parents, but the people that raised you, you know, really instilled this social contract, um, in you and to have this awareness that a lot of people don’t have, right?
That we were all limited by our experiences, whatever they may be. Um, and, and so to just this, this place of keeping, keeping it open. It sounds like there’s a place for some curiosity and openness and a willing to just even when it feels overwhelming, uh, to do it anyway.
Sean Hosman: [00:40:57] Yeah. I love that. Yeah, that’s really nice. Yeah.
Bob Wheeler: [00:41:00] You know? And I, and I love that you also were aware that you were on that track, because it is seductive. And for a lot of people, that’s perfect to be on that track to be the lawyer, be the partner. Um, I get caught up with that sometimes with our friends and I’m like, oh, I can, I can do this. Like, no, no, no. Whoa, whoa, whoa.
I’m not, I don’t want to do that, but it’s seductive for me, because I want to, like, I tie back to that, “My worth is in my accomplishment. Let me show you what I can accomplish.” And I, I can still sometimes get seduced to that, but I, I so appreciate that you’re on a track that’s actually looking to improve social justice to actually help correct a lot of the inequities that have continued to happen in this country and, and, you know, in the world, but specifically here, where there’s a system that has been systematically working against certain parts of the population.
Sean Hosman: [00:41:53] Yep. Systematically, and it’s, and it’s on the verge of possibly getting worse. Right? We’re dealing with huge tectonic forces right now that are scary, but, um, it just makes it, so I don’t, I don’t feel like I work. I mean, when people say this, it sounds cheeky, but, um, I know what I’m, I know what I’m here to do now. And, uh, I know my mission and my purpose and working within that system, you know, I’ve been doing this for over 23 years.
And so there’s a little bit of, um, I acknowledge that with the experience I have and some others that it’s almost our obligation to work at this, with the experience and the knowledge and the skills and the relationships and the perspective that we have. I feel obligated and not resentfully. I feel obligated to work at this.
Bob Wheeler: [00:42:38] Yeah, I think that’s awesome. Um, yeah, no accidents.
Sean Hosman: [00:42:43] No.
Bob Wheeler: [00:42:43] In a way, no accidents. Where can people find you on social media, online? How can people find out about what you’re doing, and how can they support?
Sean Hosman: [00:42:51] You know, it’s hard to say, cause I just speak so fast and I don’t know if they’ll get it all, but I put it in that little chat window too, but one easy one is just to go to www.perseverenow.org. And I don’t know if anybody’s going to pick that up from the audio, but perseverenow.org is kind of the main place to maybe go take a look. Um, #PersevereNow is, uh, Twitter. We’re not real social media, um, savvy. Um, they can certainly send me an email if they wanted to ask any questions. Can even, but if I say that it’s too long of a word to say on camera, so I don’t know.
Bob Wheeler: [00:43:28] Yep. Well, we’ll put all that in the description. We’ll put it in the link. We’ll make sure that people like me who can’t hear things and write them down so quickly, cause I’m, it goes too fast. We’ll make sure that, uh, people like me can get all that information.
So, I so appreciate that. We will definitely send people your way. Um, I want to say to our audience, I want to say, please, don’t forget to share the love, like, follow, and share on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, search for Money you Should Ask, all one word. Follow this podcast on your favorite podcast player, or visit Spotify and search for Money You Should Ask, or click on the link in the description.
If you’re watching this episode on YouTube, don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe. For more tips, tools, and to learn how to have a healthy relationship with money. Visit themoneynerve.com. That’s nerve not nerd. Sean, thank you so much. This has been…
Sean Hosman: [00:44:13] Dude, you are delightful, brother.
Bob Wheeler: [00:44:15] I could talk to you for hours, and I, I so appreciate what you’re doing. Um, having worked a little bit in the justice system, I, I have a real appreciation for what you do.
Sean Hosman: [00:44:25] Thank you.