Financial Literacy – Lessons from 15 Years in the Trenches!

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. Wayne Gretzky

In the Beginning
In 2001, Team Sammy (“It’s a Habit“), started its journey into early age financial education with these beliefs.

1. Habits matter – focus on habits, particularly the habit of saving money. No change in this belief.

It is awe inspiring to see all the financial education initiatives now centered around habits, including Bank of America and the Khan Academy’s Better Money Habits. Habits make a difference!

2. Financial education should start early. No change in this belief.

We are pleased to see others beginning to share this belief and it being supported by research, like the 2013 University of Cambridge study that revealed adult money habits are formed prior to age 7.

3. Financial literacy and life skill products should be educational and entertaining. No change in this belief.

4. Involvement from kids, parents, educators is essential to effectiveness. No change in this belief.

5. Emphasize reading and writing in teaching great money habits. No change in this belief.

6. Support parents, educators, and partners in the execution of the mission. No change in this belief.

7. Primary messages: (1) Saving is a habit – adapted to “saving is a great habit!” (2) From every dollar, save a dime. No change. We have supplemented these messages with a variety of others. Here are just a few:
(i) Dream big
(ii) Show your family the way. Lead by example!
(iii) Make your choices count
(iv) You can do it, now get to it!

8. Revinvest in the community and education. No change in this belief.

Summary of Major Lessons Learned
In September 2013 I wrote three blogs outlining some of the major lessons we had learned while investing over a decade in the trenches of early age financial literacy. Below is a summary of those lessons and links to the blogs.

Blog: Financial Literacy: Lessons Learned in the Trenches, Part 1
1: Financial education is needed womb to tomb
2: The environment is “twisted” and conspires against children-families

Blog: Financial Literacy: Lessons Learned in the Trenches, Part 2, Kill the Messenger
3: The messenger matters, particularly when the topic is as dull, daunting, and taboo as personal finance

Blog: Financial Literacy: Lessons Learned in the Trenches, Part 3, Don’t Teach Money, Teach…
4: Opportunities to teach financial principals and increase the impact of education curriculum exist everywhere

5. Kids minds are like sponges, they absorb and comprehend much more than given credit for!

New Belief
We believe teaching kids to dream big will attract more interest in financial education from all demographics. We further believe teaching kids to dream big will inspire great money and reading habits.

Invitation and Final Thoughts for Now
Our track record is available for review at DreamBigDay.net.  We invite you to join us:
1. Inspiring big dreams
2. Teaching great money and reading habits
3. Changing lives one habit, one dime, and one mind at a time!

Contact us via our website or email at sammy@itsahabit DOT com

Reading and Resources
Sam X Renick:
The future of children! Why financial literacy is tricky
3 reasons to focus on habits
11 Ways Teaching Kids Early to Save Money Pays Off