One goal of the 1st National Dream Big Read Financial Education and Literacy initiative is to raise awareness on the importance of early age financial literacy. One of the strategies we are executing to achieve the goal is to share the childhood money memories, lessons and insights of industry and community leaders from around the world.
IN THE SAMMY SPOTLIGHT
Today, I am pleased to introduce and share Jennifer Goldman. Jennifer is a Certified Financial Planner who transforms advisory firms so they can help more consumers reach financial freedom. She comes from Buffalo, NY and currently lives in Boston, MA with her two kids and husband. Jennifer started a financial literacy program for middle school students and was past Vice Chair of her town’s Finance Committee.
Sam X Renick: This a question I ask everyone. It is the question I asked myself prior to creating Sammy Rabbit and entering the financial literacy industry. If you could only teach a child one money habit, WHAT money habit would you teach them? Please explain why.
When you visually see your money grow, your mind becomes attracted to saving more. This exercise helps you establish a positive mindset about saving. It is also important to celebrate accomplishments as it teaches you the enjoyment received from saving.
THE LITTLE BROWN BOOK
Renick: What memories do you have related to your first saving experience?
Goldman: I remember my Dad showing me his little brown book, where he tracked his savings every month. And I remember my Mom balancing the checkbook and going to the bank to deposit checks. That led to me opening my first checking account, writing a check to NY Davis Venture Fund to buy my first mutual fund with my babysitting money, and starting my own spreadsheet to track my savings on our family Apple 2E computer. As I write this, I smile, as still today, I have a spreadsheet that I update annually.
MAKING MONEY FOR THE FIRST TIME
Renick: Tell us about your first experience earning money? How old were you? What type of a job was it? How much did you earn? What did you do with the money? What did you learn?
Goldman: I started with babysitting when I was 13. I didn’t love kids, but I did want to make money and I didn’t want to cut lawns with my brother. I don’t remember what I earned, but I know I tried to save every penny. By 16, I added a second job of working at a local pharmacy and delivering medicine to sick people. This is when I learned about income taxes and how your salary is not what you pocket.
A BIG BOO-BOO
Renick: What was your biggest money mistake as a child or teenager?
Goldman: I made my biggest mistake in my early 20s by investing most of my savings into stocks. Most of the stocks took a dive and I lost most of my savings. That is when I learned that my destiny was to be a financial planner and learn all aspects of planning to achieve financial freedom.
A GENIUS DECISION
Renick: What was one of the smartest money decisions you made as a child or a teenager and why?
Goldman: Buying mutual funds as that money was tucked away and not easily accessible.
COLLEGE KNOWLEDGE AND ELIMINATING MYSELF NOT MY SAVINGS
Renick: Did you work while you were in college? Please share a little about how working or not working while attending college affected you, your studies, and personal finance choices including student debt.
Goldman: My college job taught me that I was replaceable and that I also had a knack for streamlining a business. My first college job was working for the campus services company. I did data entry and built more effective operating processes. This work put me and my boss out of a job as the company could run with less people on the processes I built. I learned to always have money saved in case you lose your job. And I switched from an education to a business major, as clearly, I had a knack for business 😊.
CANDY COMES CANDY GOES
Renick: At around what age did you realize “money was money” or that it had a value? Please share the circumstances or how the realization came about.
Goldman: I realized the value of money when I had to hand my hard-earned dollar bills to the cashier in exchange for a candy purchase. To physically receive money and then give it to someone else was an easy lesson to learn.
IF YOU CAN SEE IT, YOU CAN SAVE IT
Renick: Cambridge University research indicates adult money habits are set by age 7. At what age do you believe parents should start teaching kids about money and why?
Goldman: I would start as soon as my child could see a penny on the ground and could be taught to pick it up. The penny jar idea can start at an early age and so can using coins and cash to pay for something.
CASH COMMUNICATIONS THROUGH THE GENERATIONS
Renick: Did your parents talk to and teach you about money as a child? Please share a little about your experience on the topic while growing up.
And, if you have children are you talking to and teaching them about money? Please share a little regarding this.
Goldman: My parents taught me the power of saving and I have passed that along to my kids. They pick up coins on the ground, they save in a jar, they cut lawns for money, and they have a savings account at the bank. If they want candy or a slice of pizza (after they already ate), they use their own cash to pay for it.
LOVE IS THE ANSWER
Renick: Why do you think it is important for kids and young people to learn about personal finance?
Goldman: If you understand personal finance, you have a much better chance of doing something you love instead of being trapped in a job you dislike but that pays more. Also, knowing your personal finances and what you need to live well will cause less anxiety and friction and pave the way for a better life and better relationship with others.
OH YEH! MAKE IT IN THE MIDDLE
Renick: Do you believe personal finance should or should not be taught in schools? Why do you believe there is not more personal finance being taught in schools? Please explain why or why not.
Goldman: I believe it should be taught in middle school for 2 years. My children are lucky to have a class called “AMS Applied Math and Science” and there are personal finance education modules included. It is a start, but the curriculum has a long way to go. And frankly, personal finance starts at home and most parents do not have good financial habits.
To discover more about Jennifer Goldman, CFP ®, visit her website: JenniferGoldmanConsulting.com