ABOUT DEVIN THORPE
We are pleased to share the money memories of Devin Thorpe.
Devin Thorpe, candidate for Utah’s 3rd Congressional District, calls himself a champion of social good. As a Forbes Contributor he wrote about eradicating poverty, improving global health and reversing climate change. He has produced over 1,200 episodes of his Your Mark on the World show featuring change agents, including Bill Gates (and yours truly :-).
Devin frequently finds himself on airplanes, and shares he is grateful to be middle-seat-sized. Devin and his wife Gail are “empty nesters.” They love to travel and have visited dozens of countries together. According to Devin, Gail is frugal while he, by nature, is a spendthrift. He describes his wife as “a great partner” who deserves the credit for their solid financial situation.
EARN, SAVE, DONATE
Team Sammy: Share with us a little about growing up – your family and community.
Devin: Growing up in my family as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we were taught from a young age to earn money to be self-reliant, to save money for a two-year proselyting mission and to tithe, that is donate 10% of our money to the church.
A 5 YEAR OLD ENTREPRENEUR
Team Sammy: Share with us one of your first money memories.
Devin: At age five, I discovered that the Green Stamp books at the grocery store were free for the taking. (Green stamps were the 1970’s rewards points and involved pasting stamps issued at the cash register into books you picked up on the way out of the store when you needed one.) One day, I walked a mile trailing my mother’s grocery cart, the sort we associate today with grandmothers, and grabbed about a dozen Green Stamp books from the grocery store. On the way home, going door-to-door, I sold as many as I could for whatever I could get. I made six cents.
DEVIN’S RED CHECKERED SERVICE
Team Sammy: What was your first job ? How much did you earn and what did you do with the money?
Devin: At age 11, I launched “Devin’s Red Checkered Service,” which basically involved me doing whatever the neighbors wanted while wearing a red checkered shirt. My big success that summer came in hosting a community yard sale on consignment. I tithed, saved for my mission and spent the rest of the money.
DIGNITY IN HARD WORK
Team Sammy: Did you work as a teen and/or in college?
Devin: I almost always worked. Doing chores for my allowance morphed into doing yard work and such for the neighbors. As a 15-year-old, I earned good money digging ditches for sprinkler pipes. It was a great experience doing difficult, physical labor. It didn’t so much impress upon me the need for education as to convince me of the dignity of hard work and the value of the money earned from it.
A PIECE OF JUNK AND A LIFE DEFINING SAVING EXPERIENCE
Team Sammy: 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?
Devin: My big mistake was dipping into my mission fund to buy a car, thinking I could eventually sell the car and return the money to the fund. The $600 junker (a Honda 600) I bought ran for 30 days. I sold it later for parts for $100, thankfully avoiding the cost of having it towed to the junkyard.
What I got right was saving money. When I left on my church mission at age 18, I was able to pay for it entirely from my savings. I spent two years in Argentina in the mid-1980’s, having a life-defining experience that taught me a lot about endurance and persistence.
A LIGHT BULB MONEY MANAGEMENT MOMENT
Team Sammy: What peaked your interest in personal finance?
Devin: My interest in personal finance really blossomed during college as I studied corporate finance. I began to see how the principles that guided money management and investing for business could be applied to my personal circumstances.
BE RESPONSIBLE FOR EARNING
Team Sammy: One question, I ask everyone is: If you could only teach a child one money habit, what would it be and why?
Devin: Take responsibility to earn some of your money from someone other than your parents. The earlier you learn how to earn, the more successful you will be.
START EARLY TEACHING KIDS ABOUT MONEY
Team Sammy: Is it important to teach kids about money? Why? At what age should parents start?
Devin: It is vitally important to teach kids about money early. A person’s relationship to money is likely fixed by age eight. To make it a healthy relationship, a kid needs to feel empowered by money. A key lesson, however, is to ensure that kids also learn how doing good with their money makes them feel. Help them choose a cause they care about to support with some of their money.
SCHOOLS CAN AND SHOULD
Team Sammy: Should personal finance be taught in schools?
Devin: Schools can and should teach personal finance skills starting in kindergarten. Kids need to understand how money works. In high school, students need to learn how mortgages and student loans work, how a lifetime of renting an apartment might compare to buying a home. After high school, some people never have anyone in their lives to teach these skills and some never learn them.
THOUGHTS FROM DEVIN ON A FEW PERSONAL FINANCE TOPICS
FINANCIAL PET PEEVE
Devin: Money’s only real value is the good you can do with it. We sometimes focus too much on what we can do for ourselves with money. In fact, the greatest happiness and joy may come from using our money to help other people or to allow us the time to serve other people.
FAVORITE BOOK ON PERSONAL FINANCE
Devin: My personal finance books include: Your Mark on the World; 925 Ideas to Help You Save Money, Get Out of Debt and Retire A Millionaire So You Can Leave Your Mark on the World; Building Wealth for Building the Kingdom .
LEARN MORE ABOUT DEVIN
To discover more about Devin Thorpe visit: https://www.linkedin.com/in/devinthorpe/
Contact Sammy to learn more about his strategic approach to early age and family financial literacy education.
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