16 - Full - Jessica Pelletier
[00:00:00] There's still a good portion of the year left. There's still a month and a half to two months of, of school, and they really need to continue to engage those students and, and there's still lots of of content to teach. This is where we love the idea of introducing financial literacy at that kind of K through eight stage and doing it in, in ways that are fun and, and really engaging to both the, the student and the teacher.
And if it translates to the home. Fantastic. Or, or after school or, or really whenever we, we wanted to create a tool that could be done in, in a, a car ride. Up to vacation or, or in after school care.
Hello and welcome to Cents of Responsibility. I'm Alec Lindenauer, a certified financial planning professional, husband and chief allowance officer to two daughters. I'm also the creator of the Cents of Responsibility, tools, and how to instruction. Parents need to raise their children [00:01:00] into financially literate, money savvy adults, even if they don't know much about finance themselves.
I'm Julie Frans, a chef, entrepreneur at heart, wife and mother of two middle school children. I also curate the Cents of Responsibility community, so parents have a forum to ask questions, share success stories, and discuss their journey. As a financial newbie myself, I'm also cultivating our group support system to help carve out my own family's path toward financial literacy.
Welcome back everybody to How to Teach Your Kids about Money. I'm excited today to introduce you to Jessica Pelletier. Jessica's the executive Director of Fit Money, which is a nonprofit dedicated to the financial literacy of children K through 12. Talk about a shared mission. , if you don't know fit money, that's okay cuz we're gonna change that today.
And they might already be in your kid's school so they might know it even if you don't. And amongst a great many other things, fit money creates money learning [00:02:00] coursework for kids and teaches the educator exactly how to implement it. So welcome Jessica. I'm happy to have you here today. Thanks Alec. I love being here and I love what you guys do.
So thanks for, having, having me on. Excellent. All right, so Jessica, I just gave, I just boiled everything that you do down to one sentence, so that was super, super simple. That's it. I'm done. I can go. Alright, thanks for listening everybody. Right. So what do people need to know about Fit Money? And you also, before we dig into a much more robust conversation about both.
Sure. Absolutely, and thank you so much again for giving me this opportunity. Fit Money is a nonprofit. We are serving teachers. Primarily, but also families and youth organizations with K through 12 financial literacy curriculum. So what does that mean? Basically, anyone who is able to teach children about money, responsible behaviors around money decision making [00:03:00] at the earliest stage possible, we would love that to be five and even under.
But at some point in elementary or middle school, we are giving them the tools that they need to teach that if they have a full class, 45, 50 minutes, we have the tools for them. If they've got, you know, five minutes, or they wanna get their kids on what we call parent approved screen time, we have tools for them as well.
So that's fit money. But why? What about you and why is this your life's work? You could do a great deal of many things. Why is it this? Yeah, so you know, I have been with Fit Money for, this is my fourth year. I became introduced to the organization actually through my prior superintendent of my town, who is our board co-chair, one of the founding board members.
I. I'm a mom. I have a 12 and a nine month old, nine month. Oh my gosh. A nine year old. It's like, wow. Well, that's quite a gap. Seriously, 12 and nine years. I'm really dating myself [00:04:00] and you know, I see. How they have had a relationship with money for such a long time. They watch what we do. Kids are obviously sponges at such a young age of learning by watching the grownups in their, the community.
And when I learned that this superintendent and, and some of her colleagues had created an organization specifically to bring financial literacy into schools, I just couldn't say yes fast enough. I do have a experience in a history working in nonprofits. I love the idea of kind of helping people and, and kind of earning your paycheck by really helping people.
And education has always really spoken to me, so this was a, a national, a natural fit for me. So talk us then about the state of financial literacy K through 12. I, and I'm really curious to know, not just where we are, but Fit money is seven years old. Mm-hmm. So what did financial [00:05:00] education in schools look like then?
What does it look like now and what was their role in that evolution? Sure. So we are physically located in Massachusetts, and when we started in 20 16, 20 17, we were really focused here up in Massachusetts. That's also where I live. We do not have a financial literacy requirement in Massachusetts, and there really wasn't a lot of talk about that.
Back when, when Fit Money was founded. What is really exciting? And I don't exactly know why. Okay. I have a lot of guesses. I think the economy, the pandemic, there's been a lot more stress on people's financial health. At home, and so we are seeing a great shift in the conversation. There are 17 states with four, just as recently as last year, that have now created a financial literacy graduation requirement, which is phenomenal.
Because what that means is that those [00:06:00] students in that state cannot graduate without getting some type of financial literacy education. Right. This is high school, to be clear, this is high school. Yes. Right. And here at Fit Money we say, That's actually a little too late in our opinion. If you are just getting this for the very first time in your senior year, Jessica, I think you're being kind and saying it's a little too late.
A lot too late, but you know what? We'll take it. We'll, it's something yes. You know, it's not nothing. Absolutely. When they didn't have it before, we'll take it. We believe that you do need to start as early as kindergarten in your classroom setting, and then a little bit over time every year. You know, it's, it's like riding a bike.
You don't get it the very first time you hop on, or for the very most of us that don't. So we are excited to be part of that conversation. I have a neighbor to the north in New Hampshire and to the south in Rhode Island, who have recently joined that number of 17. And then many other states across the country, Florida, Michigan, et cetera, who are [00:07:00] recognizing the value of setting kids up for financial success.
I don't understand. I. The argument for why we should not do this, because it seems like it should goes to the legislature. Legislature says, yes, it's done. Or why should it even need to come to that? Right? Why don't we just approach the school system of each state and say, Hey, do this. And they say, okay, yeah, great idea.
Let's do this. I mean, Two things. How does the system work? Like why isn't this already in the school? And two, what is the opposition's case? What's their main point? As far as saying, no, let's not do it. You know, Alec, I have actually not seen much opposition, so I think Well, that's good. Good. That's comforting.
Marker: Good for Reel/short video
Good. I mean, you know, you talk about this a lot as well. I'm sure you don't see people that say, oh, that, you know what? That's not really that important. No one says to me, Let's not do this or, or that's not important. In fact, the opposite. Everyone says, I wish I had learned that in school, or if only I had [00:08:00] known this.
Or, or you mean we're not teaching this? I think, and I, and I respect this cuz I, like I said, I'm a parent. I see the, the materials that come home from, from my kids, from their school day. There is already a lot that we are teaching. And so I think teachers are probably some of the busiest professionals on the planet.
They've got a lot that they need to get into their days, and as we saw for the past couple years, they had to do it in a completely different way. Learning how to teach on Zoom or or in this asynchronous world. So I think that's the, that is the barrier is really just time. I don't think there's people out there that say, we shouldn't teach this.
I think everyone agrees that we should. And then secondly, I think what we see is that teachers themselves aren't really familiar with this topic. They didn't necessarily have it in their education, so, If you take your traditional kind of history teacher, chances are he or [00:09:00] she went to school has a history degree or at least a passion for that topic, and then perhaps got their, master's or whatnot in education, but they didn't get a personal finance degree.
They're not CPAs, they're not finance majors. And so they, they feel somewhat with their hands tied behind their back cuz. They now have to teach this and they've never had that topic themselves, so, so that's something we are trying to change, you know, fit money, we provide a lot of professional development to teachers.
There are other phenomenal nonprofits out there doing the same. Because if we can get them comfortable in this topic, then we have a much better chance of actually getting their buy-in and saying, you know what, this is important and, and let's find the time now. Are you teaching them from the standpoint of.
Right. We need to drastically improve your financial education or are you teaching them to be comfortable with what they know? Cuz you really do know enough.
We just have to reframe [00:10:00] that and give you the confidence to talk about how do you make a budget. I mean, you don't have to be a CPA or certified financial planner to make a budget.
You just have to know, oh yeah, okay. I do this, this, and this. Right? I mean, it's the basics. It's really starting at the basics. I mean, needs and wants are really important and I think a lot of teachers could certainly explain that. But maybe they're not so confident in their own decisions, they might not be so thrilled with the way their budgets look.
Some obviously do great at this credit scores and reputations when you're talking about loans. Perhaps they have more loans than they'd like because of their career choice or whatnot. I mean, you never know, obviously. And another thing is financial behavior is somewhat personal. Because it is so different for everyone.
There are those foundational principles that we know spend on your needs before your wants, but not everyone necessarily does that in the same way. So I think it is, it is something that they do need to learn how to teach and also then just build that [00:11:00] confidence that they are the right people to do it.
There is a debate. Is this something that should be taught in the home or is this something that should be taught in the classroom at Fit Money? We believe it's a real marriage of both. To be honest. Parents and caregivers are the ones from day one that are interacting with their children. And then it really needs to move over into the classroom to really ensure the most equitable access to this topic.
I couldn't agree more. I was speaking with Dr. Ashley LeBaron Black. She's a B Y U professor and she's in this, the B Y U professor. In family studies. And she focuses on finances within the family dynamic. Mm-hmm. And she was saying a few things that were super interesting to me. One of which was that children learn.
More about money from their parents than they do from school work experience their peers and media combined. Which in one Cents is shocking, but in the other it makes [00:12:00] total Cents because. They're with their parents for 18 straight years. Of course they're gonna learn. It doesn't matter if you're teaching them or not, they're learning.
Right. So we know that. And then what we really dug into was this study that she completed last year, which was dissecting, okay, well how do money savvy young adults. Learn about money best, like what did their parents do that was the most effective? So lecturing not that effective, modeling effective, but the most was providing experiential learning.
You know, whether it's through allowance or you know, having a money day where you're sitting talk and then they have ownership over money. Like just give providing experiences. The conclusion that she came to was from an educational standpoint in classes to marry those things like you're saying, right?
It's like this Venn diagram. The most effective pieces in the middle that schools would benefit the most by integrating parents into the process. So you're in this, this school world, I'm, I'm kind of like on one end of the, of the Venn diagram, right? And I'm like all about the parents ba a lot [00:13:00] of, because of what she's saying and what she believes.
, and you're operating in, in both spaces, but predominantly in the school. But how do we get those things to combine inside of the, the middle piece of, of that Venn diagram? How do we get parents involved at school and with the teacher? That's such a great question, so we started as a organization that was servicing just those teachers again, because we felt that the most equitable access was in a classroom.
Think about all the parents out there that don't know. Or don't feel confident in their financial literacy skills. You know, whether they're just, they didn't have it themselves or they're immigrants from other countries, or there's the language barrier. There's a thousand reasons why parents don't feel comfortable talking about this at home.
And so we really wanted to equip the teachers. Because they touch all, all students for the most part. What we saw during Covid especially and the pandemic, is that children are learning well [00:14:00] beyond the classroom almost as equally and in in the last couple years, sometimes even, even more often. So what we did is really create those.
Those roadmaps for parents to come in. All of our curriculum that goes to teachers has what we call a family conversation guide, and so this is meant to go home and to actually include that caregiver, that parent saying, here's what we learned today. These are the three questions that we went over.
Here's some conversations that you can continue this learning at home, and then perhaps here's a fun exercise, and that starts all the way in kindergarten, all the way up through high school. We know that not as many things come home once the kids are older, but we still really encourage that. And like I said, during the Pandemic Fit money created a game that's really meant to be played outside of class time.
So, K through six, so kind of five through 12 years old. And we really do encourage parents to get involved A, because it's [00:15:00] fun and we think that learning does extend to them, but then it creates that dialogue and they see, as you said, that experiential learning. I don't wanna say it's easy because I don't in any way wanna belittle this education, but I think sometimes parents make it too difficult thinking, right?
Well, I have to take out my mortgage statement or, or I have to. Show my five-year-old, my checkbook to, to really explain this, the contrary. That's actually not the way you would do it at such a young age. You would talk about those life experiences going to the grocery store, explaining why you choose this over that, or talking about borrowing, borrowing a friend's bicycle, and how are we gonna return it on time.
And in one piece, creating those behavioral aspects. That eventually lead into a much more healthy relationship with money. Remind me the name of the game? It's called the Super Squad. Right? The Super Squad. And that's [00:16:00] available online and it's, it's free for any parent. We are actually now seeing teachers that wanna integrate it into school, which is really exciting for us.
But it was really meant to be kids are learning online. Whether we like it or not, whether they're playing their games or they're actually using tools that their school is providing. So we wanted to meet them where they are. So I played with the game, I went online and I, I had my daughter register and, and I used it.
And I'm glad that you explained it more because what I was interpreting it as was sort of like an iReady. So I don't know if iReady is used nationwide, but basically iReady is this supplemental. It's, I, I, I don't know wanna, I don't really wanna call it a game. It's, It's, I guess, gamified, right?
Learning to some extent. Right. That's it. And it's required, at least here in Florida. Because we have standardized standardized testing, and we wanted to make sure the kids could maintain a certain level. So the teachers would say, okay, for homework, everybody has to do iReady 2.6 to [00:17:00] 2.7, or whatever.
So I thought it was that. So you're saying it's not necessarily integrated into a classroom unless a teacher wants to. It's more for somebody at home. It can be both. It isn't required anywhere. And one of the things, let's get it required, Jessica. I know, I know Helic. I, I agree. I mean, and here bringing us back to the beginning of our conversation about that high school graduation requirement, again, that's a great, I look at that as the, the bronze medal.
But for us to really get to gold, you know, we do need to start talking about this in elementary because that's when your behaviors are, are formed. And so, you know, we, we have to start then. And so this is a really nice way. To have that supplemental education that elementary teachers can use really wherever they need.
You know, in Massachusetts and I believe in, in many states, we have standardized testing. And so for a good portion of the year, teachers are really making sure that they know their math equations, they know their English, they know [00:18:00] their science. But when those are over, certainly here in Massachusetts, which is very early May.
Marker Teaser #3
There's still a good portion of the year left. There's still a month and a half to two months of, of school, and they really need to continue to engage those students and, and there's still lots of of content to teach. This is where we love the idea of introducing financial literacy at that kind of K through eight stage and doing it in, in ways that are fun and, and really engaging to both the, the student and the teacher.
And if it translates to the home. Fantastic. Or, or after school or, or really whenever we, we wanted to create a tool that could be done in, in a, a car ride. Up to vacation or, or in after school care. It's interesting, I. Never read money books to my kids. The Bernstein Bears or Bernstein. Yeah, whatever you say.
Right. They had some sort of money book and I was like, this is not very interesting. My kid's gonna, not gonna like [00:19:00] this. And I kind of did away with it yet, but I was always comfortable talking about money with my kids. Because that's just who I am. You know, a lot of people aren't, but that's who I am.
It was really a financial educator, Rob Felan, on one of these podcast episodes, and he talked about it and he totally reframed it for me where he said, It's. Not necessarily then for you, Alec, but there are parents who aren't comfortable having this conversation and they normalize it now in nursery school and in kindergarten and first grade.
It's a normalized conversation for them. A lot of people need that. And I was like, oh my God. Of course it's doesn't, even if the child isn't learning about money or they are, they aren't. It's so much for the parents and the relationship. So I can certainly see again what you're seeing, what you're saying about this.
It reframes that a little bit for me as well. If somebody can do it together with their child, right, it normalizes that conversation. Right. And if it helps them, I mean they're parent or the teacher or kind of whatever adult is in the life of that child. I look at them sometimes as our, our [00:20:00] secondary beneficiary.
I mean, it's important for all of us to, to get reminded on why we make certain decisions. We think about kind of our, what we call our smart spending module, and it's a lot about advertising, not necessarily a bad thing. You know, I will say fit money really works hard to be very unbiased, right? Even when we just did an A module on kind of buy now, pay later, and we don't wanna come out and say, this is good or this is bad, but we just wanna empower.
Our students with the knowledge of, here's what this is, pross and cons, right? Pros and cons. Here's, this is totally, and before you utilize this product, understand who's making money and when they are. So we do that with, with advertising. You know, why do you need the, have that set of speaker? That sneakers.
Exactly. Those ones. Well, I can tell you why. And it does. It's okay if you still wanna wanna do that. You make that decision, but you should know why you're making that decision. So that's a lot of what we [00:21:00] educate on. And again, starting at the young age, because kids especially are bombarded with advertising.
I mean, you're a parent. It's crazy how many times is your kids say, I need to have this, and you've never even heard of it before. And you're wondering, Where did you learn about this? Well, guess what They learned about it, whether it's on the television, on the iPad, they've got it and now they wanna have it.
Yeah, totally. Going back to what you were saying a moment ago about the curriculum, and you said, you know, the standardized testing. As a parent, and I'm sure you're concerned about this, I mean, I've been concerned about this for a long time. It's like the whole teach to the test. No, just teach my child to be a good human.
Right. To, but they're teaching to the test. So just far too often are, are they doing that? Maybe we need to just change the test if they're not gonna come, come our way, maybe we need to just get a personal finance section on the test so they just start teaching to that. Would, would that be a quicker route?
I would love that. I mean, I, I understand measurement. We're a [00:22:00] nonprofit. We are completely philanthropically funded, so you better believe that the people who give us their hard-earned treasure, whether it's a grant or a donation, ask us. How many people are we impacting? How do you measure success? So I understand measurement, that's part of my job as executive director of a nonprofit.
And so I completely understand why schools have to do the same. They have to measure whether they're efforts are are working, are they actually educating kids? And so I get that. So there actually is some conversation in my state and we are, are hopeful that we can get more of that. Life skills, which I really think this falls into.
There is a lot more being made about even career exploration at a younger age because waiting until that junior, senior year of kind of deciding what path you want to is, is proving late. And we've got a lot of kids in [00:23:00] college now who are incredibly stressed that they don't have the tools. To make these important life decisions.
So I think understanding that we do just need to prepare our students for very strong life skills at a much earlier age. And if that means putting it on a test that then we'll get it in the classroom. I think I'm all for that. All right, so what can parents do? What can we do to further the, cause I know what we could do in our own home.
. I mean, we talk a lot about that, but what can we do at our school or our local level? We get a lot of calls from PTO presidents or, or members. I get emails from just a. Parent who perhaps like you, is more comfortable talking about this at home. And so they wanna make sure that they are, are getting this in the classroom and, and so that more kids have, have access to it if it's not something that the school can do right away.
Again, we are now providing tools. For parents themselves [00:24:00] to get this into their home afterschool groups. We've seen, especially with the pandemic, children are spending a lot more time at their kind of youth organizations, whether they're the local boys and girls clubs, the Y M Cs, even their, you know, fun activities, girl Scouts, boy Scouts, et cetera.
Those are all great places to learn as well. If I, if I may, we recently formed a phenomenal partnership with the Girl Scouts, which is one of the largest organizations for entrepreneurship, kind of training for young women. And financial literacy is a big part of that. And so we provide great kind of curriculum tools for them to earn financial literacy badges starting as early as kindergarten.
And so the more exposure that we can get to this topic, the more that we can make money not such a scary or a taboo topic. Again, as I've said, we don't have to walk around with our paychecks plastered to our forehead. You know, that's still not gonna [00:25:00] really ever be a appropriate, but we can talk about, you know, what's the importance of a credit score and responsible borrowing and, and spending habits, things like that, that is just so important.
So Jessica, take us into your dining room. What are you doing at home? What does money teaching look like to your 12 and nine year old? Well, it's so funny, so Fit Money spent about a year and a half on this super squad, so you can better believe that I have two very. Very strong pilot users in my, in my living room.
But, you know, it's so funny. I love, I love talking about my kids for a lot of reasons. So both raised in the same home. They're not that far apart in age, but they could not be further apart when it comes to their money behaviors. My older one who's 12. Is the adamant saver. He will save every dollar that he either earns or gets from birthdays and special events for very specific thought out, long-term goals.
And I love that and [00:26:00] I think that's phenomenal. And then I have my nine year old. Who will spend $2 if he earns one. And I don't know where that came from, but he is the person that just gets that gift card and immediately wants to go online and find something, whether he really wants it or not. And you know, both you can see pros and cons for, and you know what's important is let's talk about experiential, cuz I really think there's no better way to learn.
So if I can absolutely. An anecdote. So my younger son got a birthday gift card. And immediately wanted to go on Amazon to find something. And I had a feeling that he was gonna pick something that he didn't really want, cuz there was, you know, nothing that he had kind of been talked about for a long time.
And that's exactly what happened. He found this toy, asked me to buy it. I knew that this was not something that he really was gonna enjoy for a long period of time, but I had to let him go through this. This feeling. So we did, we, we bought it. It [00:27:00] was $15. So I also knew that this was not incredibly detrimental to his kind of long term saving.
And it's exactly what I thought was what happened. It came that excitement of the, the arrival. And then within 48 hours it had just kind of been forgotten about. And I was so proud of him because I think the conversations that we've had, he actually unprompted came to me a week later and said, mom, you know, I really regret buying that because it was not something I wanted.
And there are larger items that I wish I had saved for so, Winning. That's the, that's the kind of thing that you kind of have to let them explore. You know, as parents, we always say, we don't want our kids to fall off the bike, but sometimes we have to let them fall. Yep. And so the same with money, you know, when it's in a kind of that safe environment, we need to let them try a few things out and so that they actually do learn that lesson.
[00:28:00] The equation that I talk about is freedom. Plus ownership equals practice. Right. Give them the freedom to use it. Right. Give them the ownership over that and they're gonna get some practice. Exactly. And what do we know about practice is that it doesn't make you perfect. Right. But it definitely makes you better.
Right. So just, just get better. Just better, better, better, better. Exactly. Exactly. So do you give them allowance? Do they earn money? Do you have set money conversations? What does it look like if we're at your table and having a money conversation, you and your kids? Sure. So we actually don't do allowance.
Not for any particular reason. We just never started it. So mine do earn money around, around the house for certain chores and for certain things that they are responsible for. We also do have chores that are just part of their rent agreement, basically. Right. Because I dont think that, they should have to earn money for everything they do around the house.
Lord knows I don't, but I do want them to understand earning. Because as we know, that's the number one thing about financial [00:29:00] literacy. We can't spend any money if we don't have any to spend and, and I do see the difference. The relationship difference to that $5 that they earned, which almost seems more special than the $20 Target gift card that they got for their birthday.
And I understand that. Look, I, the money I earn is certainly much more important to me. Because I know the hard work that came from it. Sure. And so I do think that's an important lesson. And we've done the, you know, the lemonade stands and I'm really proud that most of the time that we do those, they're actually for charity all on their, you know, suggestion, not on ours.
And so I think that's also really important is to teach your kids about kind of the world around them and how sometimes. Their earning is actually for the benefit of others, which I think is really great and, and very relatable at a young age. So yeah, we do talk a lot about, you know, not every minute.
It's, it's not something of course you kinda beat them over the head [00:30:00] with because then eventually they're tuning out. But I think where certainly when my husband and I have conversations that are more foundational, deciding on a vacation or. Maybe times are tough. We can't do that vacation. We let them know that, look, adults have to make hard decisions sometimes.
And so we don't want kids to think that everything is perfect when they grow up because boy, then they're in for disappointment. Very true. A website that we've found, we, we've really gotten a lot of good use out of is called raise.com. There's a whole bunch of 'em, like it's, it's a gift card exchange.
Mm-hmm. So a couple of months back. My, one of my daughters, I have a 12 year old and a 15 year old, both girls, and she came home and she was given a Starbucks gift card. Mm-hmm. And she said, you know, here daddy, so what am I supposed to do with this? She said, well, it's for $20. Can I have $20? I said, I don't want that.
I said, well, well, I don't really want it either. And I said, well, you love Starbucks, put it in your wallet. She's like, but no, I might not go to Starbucks for a really [00:31:00] long time. Mm-hmm. And I said, no, I get it. So you're saying that. You understand that you want the cash more than you want the card, right?
Right. I said, yes. I said, well, same here. So we went on to raise.com and we plugged in $20 Starbucks, and she could sell it on there for $19. Oh, wow. And so I said, all right, well here you go. This is the going rate. This is what it elsewhere. Would you like to sell it? And she did. And then in that case, I said, you know what?
I'm not gonna make you go through the the paces of that. I said, I'll get a discount. You know what? Fine, I'll give you the $19. And that's what I did. That's great. I gave her $19 for the guard instead of the the 20. I love it. Right. Experiential learning. What a great exercise and, and you let her make that decision and she might have not made that decision, which was also fine as well.
So, no, I love that. I'll have to look that up. Another thing that you know, I think is really important is when. You talk about kind of their future. We did a podcast the other day with a, a wonderful founder of a company that has made giving to 5 [00:32:00] 29 plans from family members and friends a lot easier. And I think that's also really important for, for families that are fortunate enough to be able to save for future education.
Whatever it might look like is to let. Their kids, you know, know that that's happening. We've been fortunate that we've had a few gifts from family members and we've made sure that our kids have thanked them for that, even though that's very intangible in their mind. Mm-hmm. That college is however far away and they never even saw the, the gift trends, cuz all of that is electronic right now.
Sure. So it's, they didn't physically get anything, nor do they see it. But we have explained to them that this is still a gift for you and very important, and so we need to thank your uncle, your grandparent, for this. Very nice. Agreed. I mean, I do have a friend actually who sits down, they're, they three children each of their 13th birthdays.
They [00:33:00] sit down and they go through every detail of their finances, every detail. I was like, that was a little much for me, but I like the idea of sharing. There might be such thing as oversharing, but Right. I'm with that. Exactly. I'm with you on that. Right, right. So look, Jessica, we all struggle with, with parenting also, right?
We do thi there's things we do well, there's things we struggle with, so, With in the context of money, where do you think that you need to improve in teaching both of them. Oh my gosh. I think mine would tell you for me to stop talking, but what would you say? my kids would say the same. I'm sure of it.
They're like, mom, my gosh, I get it. I know what a debit and a credit card is. Stop telling me. You know, that's, so, that's such an interesting question. That's like one of those interview questions. Well, what are your weaknesses? And you're trying to make it sound like it's actually a good thing. You know, I, I don't think I overshare.
I, I hope that we don't, I, I hope that my kids aren't in any way [00:34:00] stressed with financial decisions that, that me and my husband have to make. I do want them to understand that. Money at the end of the day, is a value. It's something that translates into the value that they find most important. We certainly want them to understand the, the kind of time value of money and saving.
We encourage that I could probably do a slightly better job of getting my younger one to save a little bit better, and that's something that we're gonna work on. And my older one. Seems to have that down. But then he does, his most recent pur purchase was AirPods, and that was, my husband was looking at me like, you're letting him do this?
This is $150. I said, yeah, but he's been saving for like eight months. Right. Yep. You know, so also really having him understand that that was a. Big purchase. So just, you know, I think even though they would certainly not, you know, want me to talk more about it, is just continue to keep the lines [00:35:00] of communication open and, and sharing as much as we can with our, our community and getting them to hopefully, Get to their peers.
The value of this, I mean, peer to peer is also really great way to, to engage. We talked about experiential, you know, but when, when kids do stuff that they deem is cool, you know, eventually you've got that groundswell movement and, and so hopefully my kids will be really engaged in this as well. Great.
Well, what about parents? What's something that you feel like, okay, just try this one thing this weekend. What can they do? Just don't be afraid. I think you don't have to be the cpa. You don't have to be someone who is completely understanding of all of the vocabulary that comes along with money, and don't be afraid to just try to look through how you make your decisions when it comes to your, you know, spending, saving, and whatnot.
To just bring your child into [00:36:00] that conversation, because I just don't think that happens enough. I think that it is a parent's job or caregiver, grandparents, you know, whomever is mm-hmm. Is really the, the primary guardian. It is our job to set those behaviors at an early age, and so, As a parent, you're not gonna always make the right decisions.
And so being vulnerable to say this wasn't the right decision, or, you know, maybe we shouldn't have purchased this, or, or whatnot. So really just, just opening the door to those conversations is so important and, and to really, you know, kind of let that guard down a little bit. Cuz I think for so long people have thought that, you know, money is private, it's personal, we don't talk about it.
Then unfortunately, because we don't talk about it, people are just making the same mistakes that their neighbors are making. Yeah. So what's the end goal for Fit Money in terms of Okay, we've really achieved, we're, we're never, our life's work is never done, done. Right, right. [00:37:00] But where we're like, wow, we've really hit that mark that we've been going for.
And I would ask the same about your. You personally, your children? Mm-hmm. When will you know each of your babies, right? Your kids at home and the fit money baby that they've achieved, what it is that you really want them to? Right, right. I mean, we'd love to see, obviously all 50 states with a graduation requirement because that at least guarantees that at some point before you are graduating high school, you've got financial literacy, full K through 12 implementation, all 50 states, and that's gonna be.
A long, long time away. So, you know, we're, we're gonna work towards that. We're gonna continue to, it is really more of a grassroots movement because I do think it is, you find that one teacher, you find that one principal that really believes passionately about this and, and they are just starting to, to move in their own schools and the, and the strategic partnerships that we have, getting all of the Girl Scouts, troops, getting all of the boys and girls clubs, getting these people that, That [00:38:00] reach so many young students' lives engaged in this and confident that they are the appropriate person to start talking about this.
So that's something that, that we're gonna continue to do and, and also create more content. The world is changing. The money universe is changing. There's now cryptocurrency. There's completely intangible money. I mean, I'm curious if in 10 years we're even still teaching nickels and dimes and dollar bills.
You know, who knows if we'll still be there, but. Staying current with the landscape and what we're teaching and, and certainly investing in what that looks like. So that's something that we, Jessica, that sounds so daunting. Know It does. Do you have thousand people know? I mean, how many, how many people do you have working at Fit Money?
We are a very lean team of about six or seven folks. But yeah, you know what I think we're, it's, it's about your passion and that's why partners are so great and coming on on, on shows like yours. Where you're speaking the same language and you're advocates and just getting [00:39:00] it out there, that people are empowered to do this in their homes, in their schools, in their youth centers, and that's all we ask for.
Again, we're not trying to create. 300 million accountants and you don't have to be at that level. That sounds like a nightmare. People have good money help. I know, right? Thank goodness. What would be worse? 300 million lawyers. Right? But, but you know, we just want people to. Just feel empowered. You know, I've talked to some folks that say, we're still gonna make bad decisions.
We're still gonna buy that a thousand dollars iPhone. That really we don't need. But at least you understand the impact that you're having on something else we'd love to see in this economy, which is always gonna be cyclical. There's gonna be good times, there's gonna be bad times. We'd just love to see a little bit more resiliency.
Credit score is a little bit higher. Student loan debt, maybe not continuing to increase credit card debt starting to go down, that's [00:40:00] gonna take some time. But I think with people having the tools to make those decisions, we will start to see that. And so obviously I can't wait for that for my teenagers.
And you're not waiting for that for your kids. Right. That's, you know, potentially even a whole generation. Mm-hmm. Away. So, What will success look like for you in your home, for your kids? I think once my kids are starting to, my son at 12 is only a couple years away from being able to officially work in Massachusetts.
It's 14. You can get your working papers. I encourage him to do so in a responsible way. I mean, certainly not more hours than there is time for school and sports and, and he's still a kid, but, so you're not gonna violate any child labor laws? No. Nothing like that? No, no, no, no. Okay. That's whether whether's what they, it's.
Legal or not, but you know, earning is a huge component, like I said, of financial literacy and, and really understanding the value of that earned dollar. And so that's important to me and my husband. We both worked, I, you know, my parents owned their own business, so I was working [00:41:00] probably even before the, the age of 14.
But, you know, so that, that's something that we wanna instill in our kids is that earning is, is on them. We will provide for their needs. For a long time, but wants eventually translate into their, their universe. And then there's a lot of products out there that are now kind of marketing to their age group.
The kind of debit cards for kids and investing Yes. For kids. And we want them to be responsible and certainly once they start to transition out of this very safe space, which is in our house into that, now all of a sudden it's their credit report and their, you know, credit score. Really having them not make.
Bad decisions that can really drastically affect their life. Yeah. Our starter course is really about parents sitting down working with kids K through seven, so, I'm very much looking forward to the next one, which is really okay. Now that they're in middle school, what is that conversation like at the dining room table?
So yes, there's all of [00:42:00] these different debit cards, but mm-hmm They do a very poor job of, okay, this is how to use it responsibly. When you're at the dinner table and you're funding it, what do you say to your child? How, what are guidelines? How much should you give? Why? What do they do with that? So I'm very much looking forward to that because I think that guidance is really, really lacking out there right now.
We've actually had some conversations with a lot of the, the providers out there and I'm very excited to say that they are very interested in that financial education component. I think when they were just kind of getting off the ground, that kind of might have been to check the box to say, we're gonna give you this card, but we also care about education.
But I actually now am really seeing it in action that's comforting their organizations that are creating their own, you know, whether it's. Through short videos or games or puzzles or what, whatever it is. Mm-hmm. Because as you know, Alec, just having a card in your wallet doesn't make you financially literate.
You could still make a lot of really bad choices. It makes you financially dangerous. [00:43:00] Exactly. That's a good, yeah, that's, that's a really good way to look at it. And so we also at Fit Money have had some conversations with, with some providers about providing it from our ourselves tied to some reward system, if you will.
If you. Do these quizzes or, or, or get these assessments, you know, maybe you get some extra points or get a discount at your favorite store or whatnot. And, and that's great cuz incentivizing education is just as important So. The one thing I say about financial literacy and personal finance, this is something that actually kids wanna learn.
This is not something that they do. You're really having to shove down their throat. Sure. You know the kind of kids that don't like science, that don't wanna learn science, or the kids that don't like in reading, that don't wanna read. We have yet to really find a lot of kids out there that aren't asking for this already.
So to, to get this out there and put this in their hands, I think is something that is gonna be a no-brainer for them cuz they're actually looking for it. So where can people go to find out more about fit money? It's pretty easy. We'd love [00:44:00] them to come to our website fit money.org, and we are on a lot of different social channels, Twitter and Instagram and whatnot, and that's Learn Fit money and engage with us.
We've got a newsletter. We'd love to have people sign up. We are doing a podcast and trying to also be on others like yours. And really it's just about getting the word out there. It's not scary, it's not taboo. This is expected. We need to start talking about this. Agreed. All right. Last question is, so what words of wisdom would you give to a parent who has not yet taken the plunge into teaching their child about money?
So there are tools and they're free. Don't expect that you have to pay for some massive amounts of education. It's little bit at a time. It's bite size. It's not all in one night, all in one weekend. It's not that immersive course. And there are great tools out there. We certainly offer some if you're a new parent too.
Like I said, that kind of K through six age person. Have [00:45:00] them play the super squad. That would be fun for them and for the parent to look over their shoulder. If the kids are already a little older, there are tools. Bring them to a bank. Open a savings account if you haven't already, or even savings account online.
One of the most important things that we can teach a young person is the time value of money. Save early, early. I mean, we talk about retirement, how much better we'd all be if we started a retirement account the minute that we we could do so. So I think that's really important and that's a real legacy that parents can leave for their children.
Is to really think about not them just right now as seven year olds, but them as 70 year olds. And, and how do we wanna make sure that they can do things that, you know, perhaps their, their parents are really stressed and worried about today. A wonderful message, Jessica, thanks for explaining Fit Money, for taking us into your living room.
I really appreciate it. Thank you so much, Alec. Anytime. And thank you [00:46:00] everybody for listening. I would remind you that as far as Cents of Responsibility goes, the best place to find out about our resources is Cents of Responsibility.com. Of course, that's with C E N Ts Cents of Responsibility.com/resources.
That's where you'll find the blog or podcast, links to the courses, all sorts of stuff. And of course, wherever you're listening, wherever you're watching, make sure you hit the little subscribe button. Leave us feedback. That always helps with the algorithm. They say the algorithm, I don't understand what the algorithm, but they say it helps.
So if you could do that, that would be great and, leave us some feedback. And with that, everybody teach sensibly. We'll see you next time.