Top 12 moments from my whirlwind Financial Literacy Month
Five cities, 300-plus books signed, one viral video (with more than 1 million views!). National Financial Literacy Month 2018 comes to a close today, and after a breakneck tour talking money matters with families on the West Coast, East Coast, and Third Coast (that’s the Midwest, to you Atlantic/Pacific denizens), I’m about ready to collapse…and then start planning for next April! In the meantime, let’s break out the projector for a slideshow of my favorite moments from the road.
First stop: Talking allowance in Silicon Valley
Before Financial Literacy Month officially started, I sneaked in an appearance at the Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center in Silicon Valley in late March. There, I met Tracy and Michelle, who were working through their (respectful) disagreements about how to teach good money habits to their 13-year old daughter. And the audience got a sneak preview of something special I was working on…
My collaboration with Kate McKinnon debuts!
Part of the reason I was so excited for #finlitmonth was because I’d been preparing something really cool to share with families. I’m still pinching myself about having Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon (and Ricky, Justine and Jillian) partner with me to get the word out about why we need to talk to kids about money. And that message has resonated with nearly a million viewers and counting.
The kids are all right
My first platform for the video was Yahoo Finance, where Jen Rogers graciously agreed to host me (again). This year, Jen and her producer thought it would be fun to bring together kids and parents in studio to talk financial basics. She was not wrong. One precocious NYC saver told me all about how she’s gathering her nest egg…for a puppy!
Smart takeaways in St. Louis
I next hit the road for St. Louis, where I spoke at the city’s grand Central Library (making up for a planned event during my book tour last year that got postponed by a snowstorm). I was so lucky to meet 8-year-old Shiori (pictured here with Grandma Denise), who was inspired by my talk to start splitting her savings between a bank account and an index fund!
Super savers in St. Charles
The following evening brought me to the St. Charles City-County Library across the Missouri River. Nicole brought her two sons to the talk, asking if they’re ready to start bank accounts with the cash they’ve saved. My answer: Yes, take them to a branch to get started. Elementary school kids should learn that a bank (and if you can find a credit union, even better), is the safest place to put your money.
The room where it happens
Speaking of banks… My next stop was Washington, D.C., where I paid a visit to the founder of our nation’s financial system and the granddaddy of all #finlit nerds, Alexander Hamilton. The Hamilton statue stands proudly on the south patio of the Treasury Building.
A day on Capitol Hill
The Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy has been such an important partner over the years. In 2017, Jump$tart hosted events for my Make Your Kid a Money Genius book tour in a half-dozen states. I was thrilled to join Jump$tart President Laura Levine (center) and Jump$tart Clearinghouse Director Anne Bannister (right) at the organization’s annual Hill Day, hosted at the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill.
A wise council in Georgetown
The 100 audience members at the Spring Speaker Event for the Parents Council of Washington were some of the savviest, coolest moms I’ve met on the road—not surprising, considering a not-insignificant percentage of them hailed from my hometown of Queens, N.Y.! There were great questions about handling allowance, when kids should start paying for their own cell phone bill, and more.
Sweet Home Chicago
Chicago was the next leg —and I got to return to the place where I found out that Money Genius had hit the New York Times bestseller list, the WLS ABC-7 studios in the Loop. Anchor Ravi Baichwal and I talked about his son’s summer job will help him learn about saving his money.
Kicking off Money Smart Week at the Fed
This year I was honored to give the keynote at the Money Smart Week Kickoff Event at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Money Smart Week started in 2002 with a few free personal finance workshops in Chicago, and has since grown into a national initiative serving thousands of people at community centers, schools, and banks across the country. At the Kickoff, in front of an audience of educators, I spoke about bridging the financial education gap between parents and teachers.
The money-smartest kids in Chicagoland
One thing I love about Money Smart Week is the essay contest that engages middle schoolers from throughout the Chicago area by asking them to examine a contemporary issue through the lens of personal finance. And I got a few performance pointers from watching contest winner Sofia hold forth—without notes—on flood insurance, emergency funds, and other financial considerations when preparing for a natural disaster! Plus, a picture with a big check is always fun. Congrats to all the winners!
That’s a wrap on Financial Literacy Month 2018!
Wow! As I look back on the past few weeks, I’m amazed—and so grateful— that the little book I published a little over a year ago has spurred conversations about money for families across the country. See you in your city next Financial Literacy Month?