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Money Memories with Cedric Turner, Executive Director, Empower Yourself

by Team Sammy


Cedric Turner is a native of New England and a Bostonian. He is a proud alumnus of America’s first high school, English High! He is also a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, where he earned a degree in Economics. Cedric has worked as an educator, a financial services professional, and now as the Executive Director of the youth entrepreneurship nonprofit he founded, Empower Yourself.

Turner has received numerous awards for his commitment to youth, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. He is a former registered financial advisor for the National Football League (NFLPA) and board member of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

Cedric lives in Brockton with his wife of 25 years . They have 3 adult children;


Sam X Renick: This a question I ask everyone. It is the question I asked myself prior to creating Sammy Rabbit and entering the financial literacy industry. If you could only teach a child one money habit, WHAT money habit would you teach them? Please explain why.

Cedric Turner:  Learn the “language of money” as early as you can. In Europe, they see learning financial literacy as a life skill. It is a skill and something everyone needs to know regardless of their job or career.


Renick: What memories do you have related to your first saving experience? 

Turner:  I was never taught how to save and invest. So, when I began working, I did not know how to save or invest. One of the big money mistakes I made was when I stopped working for the city of Boston. I took a 100% distribution of my state retirement. I put the money in a brokerage account and spent it all within a year!  What makes the mistake even worse is I did not need the money at the time. Had I not spent it or left it with the state, I would be able to retire NOW. 


Renick: Tell us about your first experience earning money? How old were you? What type of a job was it? How much did you earn? What did you do with the
money? What did you learn?

Turner:  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.


Renick: What was your biggest money mistake as a child or teenager?

Turner:  My biggest money mistake was the inability to recognize opportunities and take full advantage of them! I did not have any money mentors growing up. It was a real disadvantage. It was extraordinarily difficult to know and recognize things, like opportunity.


Renick: What was one of the smartest money decisions you made as a child or a teenager and why? 

Turner:  I learned the
importance of banking and the institution of banking. So, when I began saving and investing, I was very familiar with the terms. It also really helped me in

Renick: Did you work while you were in college? Please share a little about how working or not working while attending college affected you, your studies, and personal finance choices including student debt.

Turner:  Yes. I worked in college. I had the same internship all 4 years. I saved over $5,000. I graduated from college with about four thousand dollars in loans.  They were waved because I worked for more than 5 years in an urban school district.


Renick: At around what age did you realize "money was money" or that it had a value? Please share the circumstances or how the realization
came about.

Turner:  Unfortunately, it was a very early age and not in a positive manner. In the community I was raised, money was the be all, end all or as the O ’Jays described it in music, “the love of money.”   


Renick: Cambridge University research indicates adult money habits are set by age 7. At what age do you believe parents should start teaching kids
about money and why?

Cedric Turner:  I believe 7 years old, third grade, is the “sweet spot” for teaching financial literacy. I believe teaching kids about money early will help them create a positive mindset and the muscle memory to develop the right money habits they can use all throughout their lives.


Renick: Please share a little about your experience on the topic while growing up. 

Turner:  I always wanted to understand money. I wanted to create a better way of life for myself, my family and my community. I really wanted better! I would listen to Dr. King and other leaders. They talked about economic freedom. So, I wanted it. My thinking about money and experience with money was different from many in my community. I thought money was a means to an end, not the end itself. 


Renick: And, if you have children are you talking to and teaching them about money? Please share a little regarding this.

Turner:  Yes. All my kids had saving and investment accounts since they were babies.  We talked a lot about money at the kitchen table. We talked about saving, investing, spending smart, credit and creating wealth.


Renick: Why do you think it is important for kids and young people to learn about personal finance (and/or economics)?

Turner:  Personal finance and economics is a life skill everyone needs to know, regardless of their career or occupation. The earlier kids understand the subject, the better off they will be. They not only need to learn to be better savers, but better consumers, better wealth builders and better givers. That benefits everyone.


Renick: Do you believe personal finance should or should not be taught in schools? Why do you believe there is not more personal finance being taught in schools? Please explain why or why not.c

Turner:  Yes. I believe if personal finance and financial literacy are taught in schools it would lead to people making better financial and economic choices and having better lives. 


Renick: What is one of your favorite books on personal finance and/or economics? And, is there one lesson that stands out from the book?

Turner:  Shawn Rochester’s Financial Empowerment series. The one lesson that really stands out is his breaking down cash flow and how critical it is for everyone to understand. Not understanding cash flow is one of the big reasons for bad credit and lack of access to capital. 


To discover more about Cedric and Empower Yourself, view: