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John Heimsoth, Internal Audit Manager

by Team Sammy


Back Story

We are pleased to introduce you to John.

John is a single 35 year old professional who leads the Internal Audit department at WaterStone Bank.

He received a masters degree in Accounting from UW-Whitewater in 2012 and worked in public accounting and financial services consulting prior to his role.

His favorite hobbies include collecting NBA Top Shot moments, playing softball for various teams in leagues around the Milwaukee area, and watching Chicago Sports in his free time.

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

John Heimsoth: My parents were both Lutheran School teachers and I have realized now that they didn’t earn a lot of money. But I never felt we missed out on anything.

My dad always shared it was important to give first to our Lord and then everything will work out.

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

John Heimsoth: My birthday is Christmas Eve, so if I was going to receive any money gifts it was only at that time. In grade school, I did get an allowance. I had to give 10% to my chapel offering at school, save 40% for a family vacation, and the rest I was able to use on whatever new video game or wrestling figurine I had my eye on.

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Team Sammy: Please share with us an early saving memory.

John Heimsoth: Money that I saved I would use for family vacations in the summer. Additionally, in 6th grade my dad was our teacher at St. Paul’s and he had created a mock economy for the class. We made our own $1,
$5, $10, and $20 bills with the face of the individual who designed the best currency.

We would be “paid” for performing tasks in the class, such as taking the flags down outside, getting the class milk, etc.

Additionally, every Friday we had the chance to bring in items from home or an auction that other kids in the class could bid on. The money could also be used for candy, soda, or no-homework coupons.

I also laugh when I look back at my best friend who never spent any of his money and saved it until the very last day and was stuck with a cheap poster when he could of spent it on no-homework coupons for the majority of the year.

It’s a Sammyriffic way to infuse joy and knowledge in the financial literacy education process. Get in the habit, like Sammy Rabbit, saving money all the time …


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

John Heimsoth: My first job was at the brand new Miller Park, selling programs. It was exciting to be there for Opening Day in 2001.

I don’t remember how much I earned.

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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?

John Heimsoth: Not that I can remember. The only personal finance teaching I can remember in all my education was the 6th grade economy my dad created. It’s why I think it’s the biggest piece of education that is
missing for kids growing up. It’s something that is applicable for every person in the world.

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

John Heimsoth: My parents

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Early Teens

Team Sammy: At what age and how did you come to realize money had a value?

John Heimsoth: I’d say in my early teens when I had my first girlfriend and car. I would save all my money in order to have enough gas for a week and go see a movie on the weekend for a total of $20 a week.

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

John Heimsoth: Yes. Various small part time jobs here and there.

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

John Heimsoth: A smart choice was I bought a Michael Jordan jersey that I wore all the time for many years, it certainly was worth the money I spent.

One mistake I made as a teen was signing up for a credit card in order to get a free ice cream at Coldstone Creamery and before I understood how credit cards worked I had maxed my credit limit out on clothes, video games, and a new TV.


Team Sammy: What piqued your interest in personal finance?

John Heimsoth: I was 6 figures in debt (mainly Credit Card and Personal Loans) and I didn’t realize it until I sat down one day and put together a list of everything I owed. I was only paying the minimum payment for the
last 3 years up to that point and even though I had a well-paying job I had no idea where my $ went every paycheck.

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

John Heimsoth: Give to others first, start saving early and be thankful for all you have.


Team Sammy: Is it important to teach kids about money?

John Heimsoth: Yes because it is a part of life and learning early can help not make mistakes. Parents can start giving an allowance as young as 5.

My parents started an allowance I guess because I always wanted something so once I started getting an allowance the words I would hear from my mom was. “Well, it’s your money?”. Then I would go and ask my dad. Why? At what age should parents start?

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Team Sammy: Should personal finance be taught in schools?

John Heimsoth: Definitely

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Team Sammy: Any thoughts on student debt?

John Heimsoth: Yes, I had no clue how much they could get people in trouble.

Author Sam X Renick shares the secret with kindergartners:
Saving is a great habit!


Team Sammy: Do you have any financial pet peeves?

John Heimsoth: That there is a right and wrong way to be financially responsible. I think the “Personal” part of personal finance gets lost sometimes in that everybody is in a different situation with different resources.

Also I think the psychological aspect of $ and debt is never really touched on as much as it should be. When I was in a lot of credit card debt it felt like I was actually drowning every day and it seemed to always be in the back of my mind no matter what I was doing subconsciously.


Team Sammy: What is your favorite book on personal finance or money management. Does one lesson stand out? If so, what is it?

John Heimsoth: The first one that piqued my interest a few years ago was “I will teach you to be rich” by Ramit Sethi.


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

John Heimsoth: The goal isn’t more money. The goal is living your life on your own terms.

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Team Sammy: Do you have any favorite magazines, websites, resources on personal finance?

John Heimsoth: The /personalfinance and /financialindependence subreddits on Reddit.


Team Sammy: Is there anything else you'd like to share?

John Heimsoth: I’ve been 6 figures in debt and know the mental and psychological struggles that someone has to deal with when they feel like they will never get out of debt.

I also know what it’s like to put a plan together and get out of that kind of overwhelming debt and the freedom and relief you feel when you aren’t constantly feeling like you are drowning in debt daily and able to breathe again.

I used to be embarrassed by my past financial mistakes but by teaching other kids and teens everything I know on financial literacy and trying to reach any that will listen or I can connect to so that they don’t make the same mistakes I have has made the entire journey worth it and I wouldn’t change it for anything. It has felt like this was purpose in life recently.

Discover more about John by visiting his LinkedIn profile: John Heimsoth

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