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Shauna Barfuss, Utah Jump$tart Coalition Executive Director Talks Kids and Money with Sammy Rabbit

by Team Sammy

We had a Sammyriffic Childhood Money Memory podcast and discussion recently with Shauna Barfuss, Utah Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy Executive Director!

Below, listen to the audio of the interview! Plus, discover more about Shauna and a list of 13 Sammy Rabbit “Gold Karat” takeaways from the podcast!

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About Shauna

Shauna Barfuss loves her career with Utah’s Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy. She has an awesome board, and gets to work with amazing teachers, students, and coalition partners throughout Utah and the nation!

Shauna started her career as a teacher. She has been a mentor, advocate, Professional Leadership Community Coach, Community Council Consultant, Student Council Advisor, & Community Health Specialist. 

Shauna has passion for empowering healthy individuals, families, and communities. She loves morning walks and cooking from her garden!!!

13 Sammy Rabbit Gold Karat Takeaways from Shauna Barfuss, Executive Director, Utah Jump$tart Coalition

(1) Shauna shares she grew up on a farm in Utah with 100 sheep! One of the wonderful things her dad did each year was allow Shauna and her siblings to take "ownership" of a few of the lambs.

(2) Every summer Shauna had "the goal" of preparing her sheep for the annual county fair.

(3) The "preparation" included taking the lambs on walks, washing them, trimming and grooming them for the fair.

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(4) Most people in late August are preparing for school. But in northern Utah, people are getting ready for the county fair. "It's serious!"

Part of the people preparation - getting yourself ready - included getting special haircuts, something affectionately termed "Fair Hair!"

It was serious yet fun, combined with lots of learning. Young kids were not only taught how to care for their animals but how to present and show their animals.

Shauna's preparation often "paid off" and resulted in her earning and winning blue ribbons. Woohoo!!!

(4) After competing for ribbons an auction was conducted. The livestock show and auction attracted national interest.

It was a great feeling and a wonderful experience. The preparation and bonding with your animals. The competition. And then having people from all over the country take an interest in and purchase the animals you had helped nurture and grow was incredible. It built confidence and esteem knowing the work you had done was valued and contributing to improving the stock of other peoples farms.

(5) Big shout out to 4H and Future Farmers of America for the outstanding work they do helping kids build important skills they can use throughout their lives!

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(6) When her lambs were sold, Shauna might take in a hundred dollars or more. She would take her earnings and deposit in her savings account.

It felt good!

This was a consistent, sustained and multi-faceted financial education experience.

(7) Shauna believes 100 percent in entrepreneurship and a free market society. Both give us the ability to make choices and govern ourselves.

Shauna says it comes down to "autonomy." Autonomy gives us the opportunity to govern ourselves. It gives us freedom.

Speaking of entrepreneurship - a BIG shoutout to one of my favorite enterprises who teaches young people all about entrepreneurship:

LEMONADEDAY.ORG - check them out!

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(8) As a child Shauna saved changed. She still does as an adult.

Shauna has tried a variety of ways of saving and the one she prefers most is saving change in "zip lock" baggies!

When she was little she first saved coins in a cardboard box. It has 3 dividers for saving, spending and giving. She loved it. Again, it was helping her build autonomy and providing her the opportunity to choose where her money would go.

Shauna vividly recalls her grandmother having a "junk drawer!" It had everything in it. Screwdrivers, pencils, paper, change, etc.

As kids, Shauna and her siblings wanted to go through the junk drawer and pick out the change. They knew the coins had value. "A penny saved is a penny earned!"

Fast forward to today and she finds "zip lock" bags very useful for saving anywhere. She shares with her kids to keep them everywhere to store change: in your backpack, in your purse / wallet, and even in your "junk drawer."

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(9) One of the challenges Shauna has identified in teaching kids about money stems from sayings like "money does not grow on trees." The challenge a saying like this presents is it may contribute to constraining a child's belief about money. It could limit their understanding of the magical powers of money when money is saved and invested regularly - it compounds - it grows. Essentially, the saying can just as easily seed a scarcity mindset as it can develop a mindset to value and manage your money.

This can lead to other unhealthy money attitudes not only for the child, but throughout the family.

It is not only important to teach kids to save and delay gratification, to distinguish between wants and needs, but to appreciate the good money can do for oneself, their family and community. It is important kids understand there is nothing inherently bad about having an abundance of wealth, whether it is in the form of money or other areas, qualities, things, etc.

Organize, prioritize, delay gratification will produce greater abundance.

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(10) Shauna makes a point to remind us there are a lot of things we are not able to control, but one thing we can control is our actions, whether be planning, preparing, prioritizing, saving, spending, etc.

(11) If you are only going to teach kids one money habit, Shauna suggests talking to kids about compound interest.

To help kids understand the value and power of compound interest show them how a penny doubles over 30 days. In fact, ask them, would they rather have $100,000 today or the value of a penny a day double for 30 days.

It's a wonderful way to engage kids on the topic. The strategy worked for both Shauna and myself.

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(12) Shauna thinks personal finance should be taught in schools. "Absolutely!"

Utah does require high students to take a personal finance course. They are looking to expand financial education to all grade levels beginning in kindergarten. And, they aim to incorporate personal finance lessons throughout the curriculum.

(13) Shauna states, personal finance is "personal!"

Shauna recalls as a child walking through a store with her father and coming across a pencil box she wanted for school. Shauna believes her dad may have been feeling tight on money at the time and told her he would not get her the pencil box.

Shauna shares her immediate reaction was, "my dad does not love me."

This is something Shauna thinks we need to teach kids, that having or not having money or being able to purchase something has nothing to do with whether one is loved or valued. She thinks many others may misinterpret budgeting choices similarly.

Discover more about Shauna. Visit her at the Utah Jump$tart Coalition website:

Thank you Shauna!!!

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