Teens, College Students Young Adults Talk Money and Financial Literacy, Panel 3

We are pleased to share Sammy Rabbit’s Teen, College and Young Adult Financial Literacy Discussion Panel 3.

The Discussion Panel provides young people from ages 13 to 30 a platform to talk money, personal finance and financial literacy education.

This month’s Panel features the thinking of:

(1) Danielle Bautista, Marketing Assoicate, Saver’s Life (2) Jed Collins, retired NFL player and CFP® (3) Cameron Rufus, student, Bowling Green State University (4) Parth Asawa, student, Monte Vista High School, California (5) Sidhant Srivastava, student, Livingston High School, New Jersey (6) Michael Damazo, active duty sailor and YouTuber on personal finance (7) Danielys Coriano , student, Valencia College, Florida (8) Alexander Echavarria Suarez, student, Valencia College, Florida (9) Jermaine Hughes, author and founder of As You Love Yourself, LLC.

Our featured guest for Discussion Panel #3 is Derrick Wesley!

Derrick is a middle school teacher in Texas and education entrepreneur. He is the founder of iMar Learning Solutions. iMar’s aim is to work with schools, businesses, and organizations to help improve the financial knowledge and critical thinking skills of their students and employees.  Derrick gained national recognition by becoming the inaugural winner of TD Ameritrade’s Innovation Quest. You can discover more about Derrick in his Sammy Rabbit Childhood Money Memories interview.

We asked Derrick to pose two questions on personal finance for the Panel to respond to. 

Q1. What is your personal money philosophy? Share how you adopted this way of thinking about money.

Q2. What is your favorite quote about money? Share why it has meaning to you and how it relates to your financial goals.

Here is what the Panel shared!

Danielle Bautista

Danielle is the Marketing Associate at SaverLife, a non-profit that helps working families achieve financial wellness. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Maine in 2017 with her BA in International Affairs, and she’s currently pursuing her MA in Diplomacy & International Conflict Management from Norwich University.  

She has worked at non-profits focused on financial empowerment since she graduated college and hopes to earn her AFC certification in the near future.

Q1. What is your personal money philosophy? Share how you adopted this way of thinking about money.

Danielle: My money philosophy is to delegate my dollars to what aligns with my personal values and life goals. It means earning money in order to put others above self. To quote my sorority’s creed, “To lend to those less fortunate a helping hand.”

My value isn’t tied to how much I make; it’s tied to the difference I make in my lifetime. And on that note, I’d rather have a job I’m passionate about and get paid less than have a job where I’m just waiting to go home from the minute I start and get paid exponentially more. 

It’s the $20 “splurge” on participating in a pay it forward challenge at your local fast food drive thru. It’s helping out a friend or family member financially if you can swing it. It’s seeing someone who’s homeless and taking your lunch break to have a warm meal with them. You don’t have to be rich to be charitable. 

My maternal and paternal grandparents were (and still are) all very hard working. They all immigrated from the Philippines to the U.S. to pursue a better quality of life for their families. 

And yet, no matter how little they made when they first got their lives started in a different country, they still managed to donate what they could—be it time or money. 

Q2. What is your favorite quote about money? Share why, what it means to you, and how it relates to your financial goals. 

Danielle: “You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.”

While it doesn’t explicitly mention money, it can be interpreted as so. If one person in a group of five has $100, that single person can go quite far. But if that person donates $10 to the other four in the group, everyone can take a few steps forward.

A life goal of mine is to start an annual scholarship at my alma mater for first generation students pursuing either a trade school or college in honor of my grandparents. A scholarship is a gift that keeps on giving, and education, in whatever form it may be, will allow students to get their footing in this world, pursue their passions, and help those around them along the way. 

Jedidiah “Jed” Collins

Jedidiah Collins CFP® is a former NFL player, Amazon best-selling author, and podcaster who after being cut 12 times became the #1 Fullback in the NFL. He took many principles and behaviors away from the game of football but was also faced with the reality of how unprepared he was for the financial opportunity of professional sports. This dilemma drove him to study for his Certification in Financial Planning while he was still playing in the NFL. The Money Vehicle workshops, best-selling book Your Money Vehicle, and virtual course are on a mission to teach young professionals how to U.S.E. money (Understand, Strategize, Efficient).

Jed is also a husband, father, and a passionate advocate for financial empowerment.

Q1. What is your personal money philosophy?Share how you adopted this way of thinking about money.

Jed: My favorite philosophy around money is the Money Bucket System. It is a cash management system that allows me to easily categorize my paycheck into 5 choices. It doesn’t matter if you make $1,000 or $1,000,000 you have the same 5 choices.

(1) Society Choice – taxes support everything in between what I own and what you own!

(2) Past Choice – anything due before the first of the month; debt and bills.

(3) Present Choice – the hundreds of daily decisions we make and being conscious if they are in this bucket, they can not go into the others.

(4) Future Choice – if you do not care about your future self, no one else will! Pay yourself first!

(5) Compassion Choice – science is showing us this is the ‘Happy’ choice and when we support a person, place, or cause we will have more long term fulfillment It is your choice which bucket you fill and with each decision you are in control of your money, not the other way around.

Q2. What is your favorite quote about money? Share why, what it means to you, and how it relates to your financial goals.

Jed: “Money is not the destination; it is the vehicle that will take you there!”

his is all around changing our perspective of money. For too long we have seen money as a destination, the noun of a sentence. We must begin to see money for what it is, a VERB!

Money is a tool or vehicle when used correctly will take you wherever you want to go.

People mistakenly say ‘I want $1 Million’ when in reality they want the lifestyle the money reflects. That is how you begin a financial plan, seeing what you want money to do for you and then building a strategy to get there.

A plan is only as good as its destination and money is not the destination.

Cameron Rufus

Cameron is going into his senior year at Bowling Green State University where he is majoring in Finance, Insurance and Risk Management. He was the President, and previously Treasurer, of the university’s Financial Management Society and a member of its Financial Investing Club. Cameron’s mission is to positively impact the lives of all the people he meets, whether that’s through a service or friendship. He is a big advocate for teaching the youth financial literacy and education.

Q1. What is your personal money philosophy?Share how you adopted this way of thinking about money.

Cameron: Money is a tool. Just how you can’t fix everything with a hammer, you can’t fix all your problems with money. However, you can leverage money to afford the lifestyle you want for yourself. Some people say “it takes money to make money,” but I think it takes the know-how to make money work for you. If you don’t know how to use a car jack you can’t lift your car, and if you don’t know where and what to put your money in often times you won’t beat inflation, you’ll lose more money than you need to, and you’ll wonder where all your money went. Financial education comes first, then the luxuries money can afford will find you.

Q2. What is your favorite quote about money? Share why, what it means to you, and how it relates to your financial goals.

Cameron: “Time is money.”

I believe this is so true because everyone is searching for ‘financial freedom.’ Meaning they are looking to be fortunate enough to not worry about money and have the money to do the things that would normally be constrained by time (aka being at work). Many people can’t do this because they work their whole life for money, spend it, run out of money, and work for more.

I keep this quote in mind because my financial goals are designed around owning assets that create enough cash flow to cover my expenses and allow me to work at my own pace but have a consistent income. I plan to have enough money to travel for work and my own personal gain anytime I want, without giving up my time for money.

Parth Asawa

Parth is a senior at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California. He is the Director of the Financial Literacy Introduction Program and an Executive Board Member of the Youth Economics Initiative. He’s also involved in a number of clubs, and is the President of the Model UN Club and Math and Science Club at his school.

Q1. What is your personal money philosophy? Share how you adopted this way of thinking about money.

Parth: I take a simple approach to personal finance — don’t spend what you don’t have on what you don’t really want. I adopted it early on once I grew old enough to realize what my parents meant when they explained I couldn’t have a new train even though I asked every time they went shopping!

Impulse buying is probably one of the most prevalent behavioral mistakes that plague financial illiteracy across the nation. Some statistics suggest Americans can spend up to $5400 on average a year on impulse purchases. Personal finance management really isn’t about number crunching, knowing calculus, or having a Ph.D. in Economics. It’s knowing how to control your financial behaviors and optimizing your financial decisions based on risk. 

One of the sets of questions I like to ask myself before making any purchase is: “In 10 days, will I regret buying this item? Will I remember buying this item? What about 10 months?” It helps me check my emotions and consider the ever-so-neglected factor of risk in all my personal finance decisions. 

Q2. What is your favorite quote about money? Share why, what it means to you, and how it relates to your financial goals.

Parth: “Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” -Ayn Rand. 

With the notion of Financial Literacy in mind, I approach it in the sense that money won’t mean as much unless you know how to manage it, drive it in the right direction. It’s a constant reminder you can focus on making money, but you need to make sure you know how to use that money in the most financially prudent way possible. Building off the previous answer, that might mean checking your emotions, carefully reviewing your behaviors, or thinking about the risk in bigger decisions. Regardless, to me it’s actively trying to make the most financially educated choice on the decisions that matter, and really whenever I can.

Sidhant Srivastava

Sid is an incoming junior at Livingston High School in New Jersey. He is the Director of Design Thinking for Economics Education Initiative (EEI) and served in the New Jersey Community Service Committee for the Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL).

Q1. What is your personal money philosophy? Share how you adopted this way of thinking about money.

Sid: I think throughout my teenage years, I’ve adopted a financial philosophy that defines money as a tool to better your life.

Money should be used to build a path around you, helping you achieve your endeavors and creating moments of happiness. I think there’s a significant difference between saving money and hoarding it; if you feel purchasing an item or service will help you, by all means go for it. At the same time, it’s important to control your emotions to make rational decisions. I’ve learned to prohibit short-lived eagerness and greed from misguiding me into making  poor purchases. By using money as a catalyst for your ambitions and interests, you can construct a passport to a better future.

Q2. What is your favorite quote about money? Share why, what it means to you, and how it relates to your financial goals.

My favorite money quote is:

Sid: “Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” -Ayn Rand

To me, this quote summarizes some of the most crucial aspects and virtues of money. As mentioned in the previous question, I view money as an instrument that can be used to improve the quality of your life. However, its abilities are limited and can only help you to a certain degree. In the end, it’s ultimately up to you to make the most out of what you have and ensure that the money is well spent. Furthermore, I think most people have heard the saying “money can’t buy happiness”. Although a simple phrase, many still don’t understand this concept and consequently become obsessed over chasing wealth. What’s important is to find a goal and pursue that instead; the money will come along with it eventually.

Michael Damazo

Mike Damazo is an Enlisted Active Duty Sailor, who posts weekly to
YouTube. He is known for his personal finance video for Military
Members, Veterans, and First Responders helping them get the F outta
debt then build wealth. Mike shares his own experience from paying off
$50,000 worth of debt to creating a net worth of $500,000 and
counting. He intends to only bring the best information and full

Q1. What is your personal money philosophy? Share how you adopted this way of thinking about money.

Mike: My personal money philosophy is “It’s not how much you make, but how much you save!”

By this, I mean we can earn as much as we want, but it won’t equate to much if our spending is excessive. 

The value in learning how to save didn’t come automatically for me, especially growing up in a household where money was rarely discussed.
When I was younger I would hear about savings as more of a discount,
associated with a purchase, where money was spent rather than saved.

I’ve adopted my philosophy on money after learning from my
own mistakes when I was younger and since have changed course to increase my savings. 

Q2. What is your favorite quote about money? Share why, what it means to you, and how it relates to your financial goals.

Mike: “An investment in knowledge always pay the best interest.” -Benjamin Franklin

For me, this means to never stop learning, whether it is a new skill or improving your craft.

This is my favorite quote about money because it touches on one’s ability to earn capital. An investment in knowledge aligns with my financial goals of discovering new strategies on building wealth and sharing that journey with others. 

A mission of mine is to help combat veterans experiencing homelessness by
teach service members about getting out of debt and then building

Danielys Coriano

Danielys is from Puerto Rico. She moved to Florida in 2017 and has been living there for 3 years. Currently she is studying at Valencia College and hopes to become a Speech and Language Pathologist. 

Danielys is part of the Coming To America education and author program.

She loves animals, being with my family, singing and playing instruments. And, she is passionate about helping other people and always doing her bit.

Q1. What is your personal money philosophy? Share how you adopted this way of thinking about money.

Danielys: My personal philosophy on money is based on effort, sacrifice, dedication, helping others and saving.

For me it is very important to work hard and fight for your dreams. I think that because if a person does not strive for what they want, nobody will do it for you.

Fun times are important. Dreams and goals are important. Family and those who support you are important. However, within my philosophy, to go far, you have to have balance. That includes knowing sometimes it will be necessary to say “ No”.

This was the thinking my grandfather adopted. He instilled it in all of our  family members. He always worked hard for what he wanted. He always kept his priorities. He kept those priorities in mind and placed them before his own wishes. I decided to adopt his thinking, but modify it a little bit. I think from time to time it is important to fulfill some of our own wishes in addition to priorities. This keeps us motivated and balanced. I know that is the way it works for me.

It is important to know money is not everything in life, but it does have value and importance in every aspect and decision we make. For this reason, I think saving is vital. Spending or wasting money on unnecessary things is not smart. It is better to use money on things you need and that motivate you to keep learning and growing.

In summary, I think it is more important to work hard today and enjoy tomorrow, rather than to enjoy today and have nothing tomorrow.

Q2. What is your favorite quote about money? Share why, what it means to you, and how it relates to your financial goals.

Danielys: “The only way to get what you want in this world is through hard work.” -Tiana, from the The Princes and the Frog 

Although this quote did not mention money directly, my interpretation of it is, if you try hard, work for what you want, earn money, save and invest it in what is necessary you will be successful. And, there is a good chance you will achieve your dreams, in an honest, fair and gratifying way.

This quote is a great reminder to me that if I want to fulfill my goals and dreams I need to work hard and strive each and every moment to achieve them. If I do, my effort and dedication has a good chance to payoff and will be reflected in my goals and dreams coming true. Furthermore, it is also important to me to have the people I love and support me close by so I always remember what really matters.

Alexander E. Echavarria Suárez

Alexander is originally from Venezuela and is currently a second year student at Valencia College in Florida. He is a participant and author in the Coming To America education program that chronicles the stories of immigrant student’s journeys to the United States. His chapter and memoir in the book is titled: A Long Trip for a New Beginning. His work and contribution to the program have earned him invitations to numerous conferences as a guest speaker.

Q1. What is your personal money philosophy? Share how you adopted this way of thinking about money.

Alexander: My philosophy is money is something very important in our life. However, that does not mean if we do not have tons of it we can not succeed. For example, when I came here my family’s opportunities financially, including myself, were limited. But we were stable to still live and maintain a positive attitude. Nothing bothered me. I was fine and focused on learning. It took years after our relocation, but doors started to open. I realized if you work hard and set goals, money will come, in small and larger amounts.

I think there is a karma about money. If you work hard, are honest, humble, and help others, money will find its way to you.

My financial goals are clear and straightforward. My main goal – I want to to have my own company and make it a franchise like McDonald’s. Another goal, is to help recent immigrants in the United States, similar to how some helped my family and me.

Q2. What is your favorite quote about money? Share why, what it means to you, and how it relates to your financial goals.

Alexander: “I think the best income is the reaction you receive from others from making a positive contribution to their lives.” -Alexander Echavarria

You are not going to find this quote anywhere else. I made it up myself. It is my own philosophy. I love to help and volunteer in anything I can. I feel strongly, if you do good, good things will come to you.

Jermaine Hughes

Jermaine was born and raised in East Oakland. While attending elementary school he saw the level of poverty in Oakland and was heartbroken. Not until high school did he come to an understanding of why things were that way. Learning to perform spoken word poetry with Youth Speaks, he found out he had a gift and has been performing ever since. He’s performed at protests, schools,  companies and churches alike. He released his book of poetry Woke Not Broke in November of 2018. He now owns the company As You Love Yourself, LLC. It supports his work in the community to increase financial literacy in the urban community.

Q1. What is your personal money philosophy? Share how you adopted this way of thinking about money.

My philosophy about money is determining which numbers I need to fight to have in my accounts and then organizing my whole life to help make that happen. This sounds like a simple task when stated like that, however, organizing one’s thoughts, emotions, beliefs and actions around numbers takes a great amount of effort and attention. Every relationship we have is impacted by our personal financial goals, especially family. Especially family who do not do likewise.

I adopted this way of thinking from my experience. I really made a breakthrough in my personal finances when I realized once I had goals, everything else began to make more sense. My goals began to answer the everyday questions life throws at me. For instance, what are we doing this weekend? What should we get for dad for his birthday? What should we do for your birthday? The answers to these questions are all determined by the numbers of my financial goals.

Q2. What is your favorite quote about money? Share why, what it means to you, and how it relates to your financial goals.

Jermaine: My favorite quote about money is:

“The best revenge is your paper.” -Beyoncé.

This is my favorite quote because as an African- American male I cannot separate my financial literacy and financial stability from my struggle for liberation. In this quote, Beyoncé is talking to black people, encouraging them to be successful in whatever they do. For me, however, I understand it’s one thing to have money and another thing to manage it well. Therefore, my money management is my weapon. My money management is my shield. My money management is my defense against economic injustice. It means I have to look at my credit, my assets, my investments and my savings accounts as means to fortify myself and my family. As I continue to learn and grow financially I intend to continually spread the knowledge and encouragement to other people of color.



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Andy Niser: Gen Z Will Pioneer the Future of Money

Jed Collins: 5 Reasons Why Pro Athletes Go Broke!

Woohoo! Let’s End Financial Illiteracy!
Have a Sammyriffic financially literate day!

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About the Author

Sam X Renick is a children's Author, Co-Creator of Sammy Rabbit-SammyRabbit.com, Award Winning Financial Educator & Double Bottom Line Entrepreneur!