Sarah Salimi, Marketing Executive and Mom

INTRODUCING SARAH SALIMI

We are pleased to introduce you to Sarah Salimi, Vice President of Marketing, Spave.

Back Story – In Her Own Words!

I have lived in many places and have been fortunate enough to have interacted with people from all walks of life. My personal cultural/ethnic background is very diverse. I fashion myself to be a global citizen. One of my favorite pastimes is sharing a good meal with good company.

I am a wife, mom, amateur cultural anthropologist, classic car enthusiast, and lover of all things Halloween.

My decision to land in Houston was very intentional. Initially, it was geographically an affordable large city in the middle of my bi-coastal clients. Houston is a food town and the environment has fostered a cultural symphony fueled by food, gatherings, and celebrations of our likenesses and differences.

I work remotely and travel regularly. I am passionate about making a positive impact. I relish working in the tech space and I recently made a move into FinTech. Every one of us can benefit from financial education.

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WORK HARD. GO TO SCHOOL

Team Sammy: Tell us about what it was like growing up – your family and community?

Sarah Salimi: I grew up in a suburb in Southern California. It was a cookie cutter middle-class community. Both of my parents always worked full-time. When I was younger, my grandparents helped to watch us after school. At 12 my world changed. We moved to another state for a few years and then eventually became expats. We were always told if you work hard and go to school, you can become successful. We didn’t really talk about finances in our home.

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A PROUD DEPOSIT

Team Sammy: What was one of your first money memories?

Sarah Salimi: I remember going to a local credit union with my mom to open my own savings account. I believe I was 11. I proudly deposited the money I had accumulated from birthdays, chores and holidays. Prior to opening my savings account, I had amassed my money in an envelope and piggy bank in my dresser. 

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WAYNE GRETZKY

Team Sammy: What was your first saving experience or memory?

Sarah Salimi: The answer to this question will immediately give away my age; I was hell-bent on buying Wayne Gretzky Rollerblades. I started numerous business ventures to generate funds to make that dream happen. I made and sold jewelry to my elementary school friends. I baked goods and sold lemonade in my neighborhood.

I remember the rollerblades were in high demand and very expensive. The goal seemed unattainable, but I put money aside a bit at a time. I GOT MY ROLLERBLADES; I was elated when Santa gifted me my dream pair of rollerblades a few months into my pursuit. I didn’t end up having to buy them with my own money, but I learned the value of money and a solid work ethic. It felt good to have a little of my own money. This is one of the many reasons that I support and volunteer with Lemonade Day.

(NOTE: Sammy Rabbit loves LemonadeDay.org. Michael Holthouse and the Lemonade Day do awe-inspiring Sammyriffic work teaching kids about entrepreneurship. Check them out!)

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IT WAS A FORTUNE

Team Sammy: What was your first job (formal or informal)? How much did you earn and what you did with the money?

Sarah Salimi: My first informal job was babysitting my neighbor’s three children. I was 12. I was only allowed to do it because my parents were home and were only across the street. I think I was paid $10/hr. It was a fortune!

My first real job (not working for free for my dad) was as a server at a bistro. I wasn’t even old enough to serve the beer/wine. I think I was 18. My base pay was $2.10/hr plus tips. Turns out, I was pretty good at customer service. My tip average was always well above 25% and within a few months I saved up for a solo trip to visit friends in London. I paid for my plane ticket, hotel, meals and entertainment.

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NOT MUCH

Team Sammy: Did your parents talk to you and/or teach you about money / personal finance growing up? What do you remember? What, if anything stuck?

Sarah Salimi: My parents did not talk much about money growing up. Once I started working professionally, they told me to put money in a 401k but that was about it. I do remember my grandfather’s advice to my mom.

(1) Do not to spend money that you don’t have. Don’t live above your means to keep up with the Joneses.

(2) Try to set aside 3 months’ worth of expenses for an emergency.

(3) Pay off your house as soon as you can.

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GRANDPA

Team Sammy: Who was your primary or one your main money mentors as a child or teen?

Sarah Salimi: My grandfather was the most influential financial role model growing up. He worked in a lumber yard most of his life and was the sole income earner for the household once my mom was born. Somehow, he paid off his home before my mom was born, the family went on vacations every year and both my mom and aunt went to private school. I always wondered how he was able to provide for them the way that he did. Grandpa read diligently and educated himself about finance and a plethora of other topics.

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WORKING LIKE SINATRA NIGHT THROUGH SCHOOL – DAY AND NIGHT

Team Sammy: Did you work as a teen and/or in college?

Sarah Salimi: I worked throughout my teen years and in college. When I was working on my Master’s degree, I worked at a marketing agency during the day and at a restaurant at night. The rest of the time was spent in class or working on my coursework. I didn’t have much downtime.

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SMART AND NOT SO SMART CHOICES

Team Sammy: What was one mistake and one smart money choice you made as a kid or teen?

Sarah Salimi: The smartest choice I made as a teen was choosing to go in state to UNM to finish my undergrad studies. I was able to pay off my student loan debt shortly after graduation. I didn’t incur much debt because I worked and paid as much as I could each semester.

The biggest mistake I made was choosing to go to an expensive school for my masters. I worked so hard to pay it off as fast as I could, but the price tag meant I would be paying for many years after graduation despite my efforts to pay it down as fast as I was able. 

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HELP MYSELF AND OTHERS TOO

Team Sammy: What piqued your interest in personal finance?

Sarah Salimi: Many people struggle with personal finance. When I started working in tech, I felt so ignorant. People were throwing around terms that I had never heard before. I began to read to inform myself, but I often found conflicting advice. I still have so much to learn. I feel that many people are in the same boat. As a society, we don’t have enough conversations around finance. School doesn’t prepare you to make simple financial choices let alone huge financial decisions surrounding higher education. I want to learn and help others learn as well.

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THE ONE MONEY HABIT

Team Sammy: One question I ask everyone is: If you could only teach a child one money habit, what would it be and why?

Sarah Salimi: How much you make isn’t as important as what you make of the money that you earn. You must have a plan for your money; bills, recreation, savings AND giving. If you have goals, you can work to achieve them a bit at a time.

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KIDS AND MONEY

Team Sammy: Is it important to teach kids about money? At what age should parents start?

Sarah Salimi: Absolutely! The earlier children are taught the basics, the better foundation he/she has to build upon over time. I started teaching my daughter about money last year (she is 4 now). Financial modeling can be immensely beneficial for someone that does not have someone at home to guide him/her. 

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MONEY AND SCHOOLS

Team Sammy: Should personal finance be taught in schools?

Sarah Salimi: Of course! Basic life skills should be incorporated into the curriculum. I would have benefited significantly from personal finance education.

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FAVORITE QUOTE ON MONEY

Team Sammy: Do you have a favorite quote on money?

Sarah Salimi: “A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.” – Bob Hope

Discover more about Sarah Salimi.

Visit her LinkedIn profile and connect with her.

Share your story and childhood money memories with Sammy Rabbit and his global audience. Receive valuable exposure. Raise awareness for financial literacy education.

Be featured in one of Sammy’s Interview Series on childhood money memories. Be a guest blogger. Have your book or enterprise highlighted.

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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!