Dad Was a Sammyriffic Money Mentor!
Growing up I had a lawn mowing route. My dad helped me establish it. He was my money mentor.
I’ve always enjoyed working. However, I have not enjoyed every job I have had. I can thank my dad for the gifts of a positive work ethic and attitude.
The payoffs have been incalculable.
I grew up in what I now like to describe as “upper” poverty 🙂 That meant we had zero discretionary income, food to eat, a place to sleep and generic clothing. We squeezed seven people into a two bedroom, one bath house. Often, the clothing I wore were my brother or cousin’s hand me downs.
We were not alone, many families did likewise.
This also meant education and work were the path to more financial freedom, security and stability.
Those financial education experiences with my father are how I know financial education works and sticks.
Our childhood money memory, first money experiences and Sammy Spotlight columns are another way I know financial education works and sticks. They confirm many others have had similar experiences that produced equal or greater positive outcomes. Here are a few highlights from some of their stories!
Mike Semmann, Wisconsin Bankers Foundation, Executive Director
I worked three jobs in college… Knowing why you are going to college and staying focused on the “why” is very important.
I remember learning money was money when I was pretty young (4-5). This may be because I had older siblings who were seeking first jobs at the time. It could also be credited to a book I received that had fuzzy money on its inside you could feel with your hands. The color and feel of the money in the book are something that stuck with me for some reason.
My first job was an assistant track coach for our local park and recreation department. I was fortunate to be given this opportunity. But I can’t say I learned much about money in that job. The biggest money lesson I learned was paying for a work permit. Even though I was reimbursed later, it was eye-opening that there could be a “cost” to working.
I worked three jobs in college. I never really learned how to balance school, work, and social life. Knowing why you are going to college and staying focused on the “why” is very important.
Sheryl Garrett | Founder, Garrett Planning Network
I’m so grateful that I started learning these lessons very young.
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.
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.
Brian Dorcy | CEO, Excite Credit Union
I knew from an early age (7 or 8 years old) that earning money was important to be able to get anything beyond the necessities.
I come from a large family (3 brothers and 2 sisters). Even though my father was a military officer, we didn’t have a lot of money. Hearing “we can’t afford that” occurred fairly frequently. I knew from an early age (7 or 8 years old) that earning money was important to be able to get anything beyond the necessities.
I recall that the first job I had was mowing lawns in the neighborhood. I was 13 at the time. One of my brothers and I would spend our weekends mowing 3 to 5 laws for $10 each ($5 for each of us). At the time I didn’t have a goal for the money I earned. So, I’d just spend it on junk food. Over the course of time I realized I didn’t have anything to show for all the hard work I was doing.
Bobbi Olson | Budget Coach & Host of “CentsAble Chat” Podcast
I started babysitting when I was 12 and saved every dime.
I was 9 when my obsession with Duran Duran began – too young to go to their concerts. By the time I was old enough, they’d broken up. But I had faith! One day, they were going to reunite – and when they did, I wanted to have enough money to pay for a concert ticket – I knew what the answer would be if I asked my mom for the money!
So I started babysitting when I was 12 and saved every dime.
I called the concert hotline every day, hoping they’d be listed…a year later, my dream came true! The date was set and I’d saved enough to buy tickets for me and my best friend, with enough left over to buy a t-shirt, program, whatever I wanted!
I don’t remember how much I earned – probably between $50 and $100.
Cedric Turner, Executive Director, Empower Yourself
I have always been a natural hustler… I worked at every fast food restaurant I could.
I have always been a natural hustler. My first job was bagging groceries. I worked at every fast food restaurant I could.
My family was not well off, so my money went mostly toward food and clothes.
In high school I was involved in an afterschool program that provided us summer jobs at major corporations. The organization was called “Brighter Day.” They required everyone who participated in the program to save the money we earned. They had us all open saving accounts. Chris Moore & Jamie Bush (of the Bush Family) were the Director and Assistant Director of the program. My current non-profit for youth, Empower Yourself, models itself after Brighter Day and the lessons I learned there.
Kathleen Lawson, Executive Director, EconomicsArkansas.org
My first money memory was asking my mom if we could set up a yard sale in the front yard.
My first money memory was asking my mom if we could set up a yard sale in the front yard. It was in the middle of the week, middle of the day – certainly not peak time for customers, and on a dead end street at that. But it was summer, and she said yes. I really can’t recall if we sold anything, but I still remember my mom offering suggestions on product pricing, specifically how I had priced a puzzle at $.35 and at yard sales, things sell best by the quarter.
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