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Janine Firpo, Co-Founder Invest for Better Talks Kids and Money with Sammy Rabbit: 15 Sammy Rabbit “Gold Karat” Takeaways

by Team Sammy

We had a Sammyriffic Childhood Money Memory podcast and discussion recently with Janine Firpo, co-Founder, Invest for Better! Woohoo!

Watch the video above or listen to the audio of the interview below!

Below, find a little about Janine and a list of 15 Sammy Rabbit “Gold Karat” takeaways from the podcast!

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About Janine!

Janine Firpo is a seasoned values-aligned investor and social innovator, with a long history of working at the intersection of women and their money.

From the early years of Apple Computer to senior positions with Hewlett-Packard, the World Bank, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Janine has always found herself making an impact.

In 2017 she left a successful 35-year career in technology and international development to focus on how women can create a more just and equitable society through their financial investments.

Her book, Activate Your Money: Invest to Grow Your Wealth and Build a Better World, was a collaborative effort with almost 150 women. 

Janine walks her talk. She is taking action to move all her own assets into investments she feels good about and is watching them grow with market-rate returns.

In 2021, she joined forces with Ellen Remmer to co-found Invest for Better.

Janine is also a lead investor in Next Wave Impact, an impact fund designed to help more women become angel investors. And, she chairs the board of Zebras Unite, an organization that is developing the capital structures, community, and culture that non-unicorn start-up businesses need to thrive.

You can connect with and discover more about Janine at

15 Sammy Rabbit Gold Karat Takeaways from Janine Firpo!

(1) Janine shares, "Money was always a big thing in our family, because both my parents came out of the depression. They grew up really poor and did not have any!"

Hence, teaching Janine and her siblings about the wise use of money was something her parents started at a very early age!

(2) Beginning around age 5, Janine started having jobs around the house. If Janine did her job, she would earn ten cents a week.

That was a "big" deal for Janine. Because, at that time, ten cents was a lot.

Janine always had a "sweet tooth," so she would take the money she had earned to the local store and make a candy selection.

(3) Typically Janine would save half of what she earned. And the other five cents she could and would use to buy something.

Usually she would spend her money on candy. Her favorite candy was called "Necco's."

Earning the money, saving and spending her money was a source of pride. It made Janine feel empowered!

(4) I shared with Janine that research reflects kids today have a significant influence over parental spending and that seems like a problem to me. Janine agreed.

(5) Janine shared she has had a pretty great life and has always been able to enjoy her money and get what she wants.

She attributes this to establishing a "saving" mentality early in life. She's always worked hard. She's always saved. She's always lived under her means and still does!

(6) Janine also attributes her success managing money to "buying into" delayed gratification. She does not have to have everything immediately - now, now, now.

She learned that over time if she waits, saves and "savors" what she wants to get, the getting is more gratifying, more meaningful and more impactful. And, it often results in her being able to buy something better!

Learning to delay gratification helped her not to waste money on things it turned out she really did not want. That also resulted in her having zero buyers remorse after purchases.

The wanting mattered; the delayed gratification mattered; and then when she got what she wanted, she truly treasured it.

(7) When spending, Janine buys quality and finds things that last.

(8) Janine agrees teaching a child to delay gratification is a great gift to give them that will benefit them their entire lives.

Learning to delay gratification has compound advantages. It is a skill that applies and pays off in lots of areas of life.

(9) One of the challenges with our current culture is how instantaneous everything needs to be.

Janine believes that there is something deeply, profoundly meaningful that is lost in instant gratification.

Here! Here! Sammy Rabbit and I could not agree more!!!

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(10) Janine did use a piggy bank to save the money she earned as a child. She distinctly recalls not wanting to break the piggy to open it. What she wanted more and was willing to do, was preserve and conserve her savings.

She also remembers later in life as a college student starting to collect cool, antique piggy banks. It was something she was more able to do at that point in her life and Janine derived lots of joy from it.

(11) Today, Janine really does not save "physical" change because she is almost fully digital in her financial transactions.

However, in her former career in international development, Janine traveled to more than 80 countries. She made it a habit to collect and keep at least one paper bill and coin from every country. It was a blast. It was educational. And, it was colorful. The coins and bills were works of art.

(12) Janine shared some of the knowledge she acquired related to managing money came from working to address poverty alleviation.

I shared with Janine I am always amazed and inspired to read stories about extremely poor people outside the United States who are able to and do save.

Janine shared that in her experience it was often women who were doing the saving and typically it was two reasons. One, they save to feed their kids. Two, they save for education. They want their kids to go to school and are willing to make incredible sacrifices for that to happen.

Janine discovered frequently many of these people were considered illiterate with respect to reading and writing. However, when it came to money, they were incredibly astute!

Janine stated people can figure out how to survive literally on pennies. She has found that women in particular will embrace and endure hardships so their children are able to lead a better life.

She also shared, because things can get so tight, moms are often forced to make the difficult choice of selecting only one child to educate. They then do everything they can to help that child with their learning and getting a good job, generally outside of the village. Then that child will send money home from what they earn.

Interestingly, the women in the these villages also come together in groups, to learn and work as a collective for the betterment of all.

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(13) I shared it seemed like these groups or investment and savings club might work really well here in the United States.

Janine advised that they would.

She said the clubs are great and she has learned an enormous from them. The majority of her experience has been with women groups. She shared women speak differently about money than men and if you add a man to the mix it changes the conversation. It is very valuable to be able to talk about your money in an open way and learn from other people.

She says that although by and large women don't believe they are better investors than men, research shows they are. The women groups help the ladies build their confidence in their abilities.

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(14) If Janine could only teach a child one money habit it would be to save! And once they are a little older, she would teach them to invest.

Budgeting is important, but teaching kids to save and invest is just as important.

(15) Janine believes that personal finance courses should absolutely be mandatory in high school.

Learning to manage money is an incredibly valuable life skill. Having these skills is the difference between going into your adult life and thriving rather than struggling.

Janine asks, "Why do kids or anyone have to learn by mistake? Why do they have to suffer the pain that comes with those mistakes? Why can't we just teach them?"

Thank you Janine!!!

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