We are pleased to share the money memories of Mike Kelly. Mike is a CFP® and a Certified Professional Coach. He is Founder and Principal Advisor of Kelly Financial Planning, LLC, where he helps clients “Strengthen the Core” in the financial area of life. Mike is a member of The Garrett Planning Network, a nationwide network of over 250 independent, Fee-Only financial planners providing advice to people from all walks of life. Mike also owns Right Path Enterprises, LLC, a company focused on individual and organizational performance improvement.
Prior to starting his businesses, Mike gained valuable business experience in multiple industries and functions with organizations such as Macy’s, Inc. and Michelin, Inc. As Vice-President, Mike led the Learning and Development function for the Credit and Customer Services business unit of Macy’s. At Michelin, Mike gained experience in operations, human resources, finance, sales and project management.
He shares his time, knowledge and experience with his community and focuses on making a difference in the lives of others. He serves on several boards. Mike resides in Mason, Ohio with his wife Melinda.
SON OF A HARD-WORKING ENTREPRENEUR
Leslie: Share with us a little bit about growing up – your family and community.
Mike: I grew up in a small town in South Carolina, the oldest of 4 children in the segregated South. My father worked as a janitor and my mother, for the most part, stayed at home to take care of us. However, she was the first entrepreneur that I knew, as there were times she served as a hairdresser and seamstress. Neither of my parents finished high school, but there were many positive lessons I learned through the way they lived their lives.
TRUSTED AS A RESPONSIBLE KID
Leslie: Share with us your first money memories.
Mike: As a very young child, within our family and the community, we were people with very few financial resources. I did receive – I guess you could call it – a small allowance periodically. Another was going to the store for my parents and for older adults in my community. I was trusted, as I had a good reputation and was pretty good at counting money. I was also known as a young responsible kid with integrity, because I always brought back the correct change and took extreme pride in bringing back exactly what was ordered.
SAVING A SMALL PORTION EARLY ON
Leslie: What was your first savings memory?
Mike: My first savings memories are associated with depositing a portion of my small allowance and saving money from jobs worked during the summer while in junior high, high school, and college. A portion of money saved was used during the school year for expenses and to purchase various incidentals and supplies.
A WONDERFUL JOB
Leslie: What was your first job?
Mike: My first formal job was during the summer in junior high school. I worked with one of the town’s garbage men collecting and dumping garbage containers. It may seem strange, but I learned many life-long lessons and set aspirations doing that job. I was glad to be working. It was a memorable experience! It was so long ago, I can’t remember how much money I made; I’m certain that it was very little.
GIVING REMAINS REALLY IMPORTANT
Leslie: If your parents talked to you and taught you about money/personal finance. What do you remember? What, if anything stuck?
Mike: I was taught to be frugal and disciplined with money. Money was hard to come by and ‘easy to get away from you’. I was encouraged to save some, give some and spend some. Giving was really important. I was introduced to tithing a tenth of my earnings at a very young age. These principles remain with me even to this day.
PARENTS PRIMARY MONEY MENTORS
Leslie: Who was your primary or one of your main money mentors as a child or teen?
Mike: My mother, who managed the finances within our household, and she was also the Treasurer for our church. Also, my father who modeled hard work, discipline, and how to earn an honest living.
8 YEARS OLD OR EARLIER
Leslie: At what age and how did you come to realize money had value?
Mike: It was around 8 years old or earlier.
Leslie: Did you work as a teen and/or in college?
Mike: As I mentioned, I worked during the summer of junior high, high school and college. Some of the jobs I held were garbage collector, landscaper, machine operator, and a forklift driver.
ACTING ON CURIOSITY
Leslie: What was one mistake or regret you made as a kid, teen or college student with money. And, what was one smart money choice you made?
Mike: As a kid, purchasing candy and other comfort foods with my money rather than saving even more of it. A smart decision was acting on my curiosity and learning more about how money worked and making the decision to major in business while in college.
DESIRE TO EDUCATE OTHERS
Leslie: What peaked your interest in personal finance?
Mike: Taking trips to the bank with my mother. She helped me establish a strong mathematical foundation. She really wanted me to be well versed in math. As I grew older, I realized money was a challenge for many people and very little was taught on the topic in school and other venues. This caused me to become even more curious about how it worked. I also then developed a desire to educate others as I learned. That desire and mission continue even to this day.
DEVELOP THE HABIT
Leslie: One question, I ask everyone is: If you could only teach a child one money habit, what would it be and why?
Mike: Of the money you earn, develop a habit of saving at least 10%+, giving at least 10%+ and possibly spending the remainder for living expenses et al. Also, think long-term when it comes to money and life. As part of this, I would ensure children understood the Rule of 72.
TAUGHT AS EARLY AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE
Leslie: Is it important to teach kids about money? Why? At what age should parents start?
Mike: Yes. It’s important, because habit development and conditioning begin at an early age. We want children to build positive habits. Also they have the precious gift of time, which can be a great asset to the saver and investor. They should be taught as early as humanly possible.
BANK AT SCHOOL
Leslie: Should personal finance be taught in schools?
Mike: Absolutely. The local high school in my community offered a class when our son was in school. The school also had a bank. That was the first time I ever heard of personal finance being taught in school. It was a class I encouraged him to take. He also worked in the bank. Of note, he also began his professional career in banking.
THOUGHTS FROM MIKE ON A FEW PERSONAL FINANCE TOPICS
Mike: If you cannot avoid it, minimize it and pay it off as soon as you can.
Mike: Avoid if at all possible. If you can’t avoid getting one, manage the credit card rather than allow it to manage you.
FINANCIAL PET PEEVE
Mike: FOMO or KUWTJ – It so important that we exhibit personal leadership. We should have our own mission, focus and standards and not compare ourselves with others. A person should pray and do what they know is right for them, regardless of obstacles or the opinions of others. (FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. KUWTJ – Keep Up With The Jones.)
FAVORITE BOOK ON PERSONAL FINANCE
Mike: The Wealthy Barber, by David Chilton, is the book and simplicity and consistency are the lessons.
Mike: “The habit of saving is itself an education; it fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought, and so broadens the mind.” –T.T. Munger
FAVORITE MAGAZINES, WEBSITES, RESOURCES
Mike: American Association of Individual Investors (AAII). I’m a lifetime member, and I’ve been affiliated with this wonderful non-profit since 1995. They provide tremendous tools and resources, and they partner and collaborate with other organizations focused on providing unbiased financial education to individuals and investors.
Mike: My parents, and Eddie Brown of Brown Capital Management, who was the first African American I saw on television discussing personal finance. He runs his own firm, and he was a regular panelist for 25 years on the nationally televised “Wall Street Week” with Louis Rukeyser. He was inducted into the show’s Hall of Fame. Seeing Eddie Brown gave me hope that, with regard to money, maybe one day I could play a role in educating and making a difference in the lives of others. I also like Warren Buffet’s style and approach to personal finance and investing.
Mike: Keep up the wonderful work Sam X Renick! You are creating a wonderful legacy as you positively impact the lives of children and families. Your work will continue to impact our world for generations to come.
LEARN MORE ABOUT MIKE
To discover more about Mike Kelly visit www. kellyfinancialplanning.com/about