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.
Today we are pleased to share a few of industry icon Sheryl Garrett’s money memories and moments. As I just shared on a podcast hosted by Females and Finance CEO, Sheryl Brown, Sheryl Garrett is the kind of friend you want to have. She is a real life “Auntie Squirly” – Sammy Rabbit’s “money whisperer;” a financial coach and advisor featured in the storybooks Sammy’s Big Dream and It’s a Habit, Sammy Rabbit. Garrett is filled with financial wisdom and generosity. Her thoughts were recorded in a letter to the editor of the 529 Insider and in an interview with Financial Advisor Magazine. They have been excerpted and summarized below.
THE WORK-REWARD RELATIONSHIP
I grew up in a very typical middle-class household. My father was an entrepreneur and he impressed upon me the work-reward relationship long before I had any idea what was happening. I highly recommend these teachings and share them with others every chance I get. Unfortunately, my father never wrote his lessons down, but you can get a great summary and fantastic supporting materials from my financial cartoon superhero, Sammy Rabbit.
A HEAD START EARNING AND MAKING MONEY
Some of my earliest memories about making my own money were when I was around seven or eight years old. If there was something that I wanted, I’d “negotiate” with my parents to obtain support and ideas or suggestions on ways to earn the money I needed to purchase the item or experience I wanted. As most young children, I had a very short-term goal… every time. I need to raise $27 to buy a skateboard! I did everything from washing windows, polishing shoes, giving backrubs, to selling Christmas cards to raise my $27. As I grew, so did the ambitions, and the corresponding finances needed. I’m so grateful that I started learning these lessons very young.
READING IS A GREAT AND LIFE TRANSFORMING HABIT
By age 19, I was reading Money magazine cover to cover each month. I read personal finance self-help books as a hobby. By age 24, I discovered that people provided personal financial advice for a career. I wanted to know everything they knew. I wanted to help people master their own financial destiny and get paid for it!
TEACHING KIDS ABOUT MONEY AND FINANCIAL STEWARDSHIP
I’ve found that it’s often far easier to teach young people the principles of financial stewardship then adults. This is where my financial superhero, Sammy Rabbit, comes in to play. Have a copy of Sammy’s Big Dream! book in the waiting area. Deliver copies of the book to other professionals’ waiting rooms. I have copies of this book, sponsored by our organization, at the major family dentistry and doctor’s offices in town, CPA’s office, etc. – any place people who have children in their life may frequent.
THE CRAYOLA BOX WAS COMING OUT!
When I first saw the Sammy Rabbit materials, I asked my 5-year-old daughter to join me and give me her young person’s expert opinion. She hopped up on my lap while I reviewed a few of the activities, messages and songs. She requested (begged) that I print out everything, so she could have it. The Crayola box was coming out!
MOM AND DAUGHTER HOPPING AND BOPPING TOGETHER
I played one of the songs and oh my, my daughter and I were hooked. We listened to just one of the songs two times that day and bopped around singing it together. About a month later I overheard her singing that same song to herself! She recalled, “out of every dollar save a dime” one month after hearing the song. Too bad all of us can’t remember to save a dime out of every dollar every time.
Her reaction to the book, the activities and the songs has been awesome. This year we’re delivering this program to all students in her school – pre-K through 12th grade. We’re working with the older students to teach it to the younger students. Through the exercise of teaching they are learning not only the lessons in the books, but we’re having conversations about money, goals, and achievement. The students are sharing this activity with their parents. And, it’s no different than what we do with adults, it’s just a fresh and very playful way of sharing the information.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
My daughter and I became so impressed with the materials I chose to sponsor a special printing of the books and I’ve provided 3 copies to all 200+ members of the Garrett Planning Network. I want each member advisor to have a copy of their own and have a couple to give away. I believe that this resource is one of the best tools in financial literacy in the marketplace today. It’s designed for the 4-7-year-old audience and that’s what makes it so appealing. Adults read the stories to children and perhaps the adults get as much or more out of the experience as the little ones.
(Garrett is also a Sponsor of the October 2019 1st National Dream Big Read).
LEARN MORE ABOUT SHERYL
To learn more about Sheryl and discover why she was named a 2019 industry Icon by Investment News or invited to the White House and quoted by former President Obama, go to her profile at the Garrett Planning Network website.
- Garrett Planning Dream Big Read Kids Camp
- Abby Kovach, CFP and Mom: The Power of Starting the Right Money Habits Early
- Patty Priddy, Keener Financial Planning, CFP(r) on Kids and Money