In This Article
Are you wondering how you can teach little kids about money? Look no further! In this episode, Sam X Renick (aka Sammy Rabbit) and Tiffany Grant discuss some fun and effective ways to get children excited about financial literacy.
From using transparent jars with a “deposit dance” to reading storybooks, learn the ins and outs of teaching kids to save money and understand financial concepts age-appropriately. With Sam’s extensive background in financial services, you can trust that his advice is reliable – so join us now for some great tips on teaching your kids about money!
About Our Guest
Sam X Renick is an internationally recognized leader and pioneer in financial literacy. He is a source and force of knowledge and joy on great money habits. In 2001, Sam founded the “It’s a Habit!” Company and co-created children’s storybook character Sammy Rabbit to make it easy for anyone to talk to and teach young children about great money habits!
Since then Renick has produced one of the largest libraries in the world of financial literacy resources. It includes stories and songs like Sammy’s Big Dream, Get in the Habit, S.A.V.E. Rainy Day, Lemonade Stand, Anyone Can Be Rich, Show Your Family the Way and more.
Connect with Sammy
LinkedIn: Sam X Renick
Intro/Outro: You know what it is? That’s right. It’s time to talk money with your money nerd and financial coach. Now tighten those purse strings and open those ears. It’s the Money Talk with Tiff podcast.
Tiffany Grant: Today on the show we’re gonna be talking about. Teaching little tiny kids about money and getting them interested, and I have the guru of that Sam X Renick on the line, a k a Sammy Rabbit, which he’ll tell you a little bit about later.
But hey Sammy, how are you today?
Sam X Renick: Sammy, is Sammy terrific? Everything’s Sammy Riff and Sammy Land. Great to be with you. Thank you for having me, Tiffany. And uh, hello to your Audi. Thank you.
Tiffany Grant: Thank you. See, he knows exactly what to do to get you engaged. So with that being said, Sam, let’s dive right into this because I get this.
Question quite a bit. Like, how do I get my little, little kids, um, interested in money and what can I teach them? So what are some things that you found just in what you do that can grab their attention and keep it?
Sam X Renick: Okay. Well, let me just start by saying this. We’re, uh, rabbits and bunnies over here, so we don’t dive, we hop.
So let’s hop into it. You know, uh, that’s a tough question. So, you know, what I recommend to parents is that they use a whole variety of things. So if they’re real little kids, let’s say they’re one, two, or three, shake that bank, you know. So, uh, what you might do is role model, like dropping some pennies or nickels or dimes.
Into a, uh, transparent jar might be the best or cup, and then shake it a little bit and you say the grants we’re savers. Okay. And then, and then do a little deposit dance and bring some joy to the process when they get a little bit older, maybe three years old, four years old. Uh, start reading to them.
Story books. We have a couple. It’s a habit. Sammy Rabbit, Sammy’s Big Dream. Let me say there are a wealth of, uh, story books, uh, out there. Read a page at a time. Read the whole book. Read it at, uh, bedtime. Stop. Animate the reading. Uh, you know, be authentic. Be yourself, but try and bring, uh, some joy to the, the process.
Stop on a page. Uh, you know, uh, have fun with the words. You know, I like to tell kids. As an author, I’m the boss of the words. Who wants to be boss? Or, you know, I might say, uh, for authors, uh, words are like chocolate, you know? Mm-hmm. Things like that, that, you know, just, uh, cap they capture their attention.
So, you know, it isn’t, uh, say a big mystery. If you put effort and energy into something, you’re probably gonna get something out of it. You need to really mix it up. And try and find what appeals to your child. So maybe it’s not story books, maybe it’s songs. We happen to have a lot of songs, maybe it’s activities.
If you can get them involved in the process, that’s going to help. And you wanna throw everything into it. You have, you know, the whole, uh, kitchen and caboodle as they used to say in the old, uh, the old days. So you wanna encourage kids, you wanna incentivize ’em. All appropriately. Whatever you determine, you know, as the mom, the dad, you’re the quarterback.
To use a football analogy, you, you’ve gotta call the or you’re the coach. You gotta call the play. So if something’s not appropriate for your kid, don’t do it. Okay? It’s that, that, it’s that, that simple. But be doing the do. And the do is consciously talking to your children about money. That aligns with what your values are, what you want them to learn about money, and then also hopefully with the basic core principles of money that work.
Right. Right. So something as parents that they want, wanna be alert and aware to is that kids are learning about money all the time. Mm. So, uh, it isn’t that they’re not being taught, uh, either by the parents or by someone else. That’s, that, that’s almost inevitable. Uh, it, you know, there’s all these conversations, these feelings, oh my goodness, we’re behind on the bills.
Mm-hmm. You know, and kids, they’re little learning machines. So they’re, they’re hearing and they’re watching these things. And then if you think of them, almost like a computer, they’re coding them largely into their feelings and their, at their attitudes. And then they become habits. Uh, Behaviors. Uh, the, the real key is to take charge of and consciously be teaching them what you want them to know and learn not to be, uh, unconsciously or unintentionally sharing with them.
You know, a lot of information, uh, you know, about money now that, now that’s, that’s going to happen. You know, it’s not a perfect world. So you, you just want to try and, uh, you know, do the best you can and win the battle six outta 10 times, you know, and then, then shoot for seven. Just keep incrementally improving a little, uh, you know, every day.
Tiffany Grant: Awesome. And you, you already are dropping so many gems. So there’s a few things that I want to hit on with what you just said. First of all, having the money, dance and the clear jar and stuff. Genius. Um, I have a new baby, so when she gets old enough, I’ll definitely be implementing that. And then also I wanted to hit on, um, what you said about making the books alive.
So we know that there’s a lot of personal finance books out there for little kids, and. Just changing up, you know, how you read to them. Like, I didn’t even think about that. Uh, you know, I’m just like, yeah, and the person went to the store and da, da da, da da. But you know, maybe I can be like, and they went to the store and then what happened?
You know, that type of thing. Um, that is something that I didn’t even think about. You know, when I’m thinking about story time, and so now I’m gonna be more intentional. When it comes to story time, at least with my smallest one, I have a 13, eight, and now a new baby. Um, you know, they’re a little too big for story time now, but uh, when it comes to the new baby, I’ll keep that in mind.
So I’m so glad that you hit on that. And then also why, how you were talking about, we are constantly teaching them whether we realize it or not. Like I’m over here. You know, one of my favorite things to say, and some people will probably relate, is, well, do you have McDonald’s money? Or something of that effect, or, I don’t have money for that.
You know, that type of thing or what have you. Or you know, bills are coming up, I can’t get. That, or, you know, all these different things that we just say and being more cognizant of that and what type of, um, money scripts, like I’m ingraining in them, uh, just from this young age. So I’m not even, I wasn’t even aware of that.
So that’s something that I can definitely start implementing today. Uh, now that I think about it, is being more positive about money versus negative.
Sam X Renick: Absolutely. That’s a great. Uh, gold carrot point. Okay. We love gems, but we really love gold. email@example.com. So you’re, you’re exactly right. What Sammy Rabbit says, Tiffany, is, you can do it now, get to it.
So it it, it’s about to do, don’t strive for perfection. And in fact, what I would say is, is just start off with one positive thing you wanna share with your kids about. Money and celebrate it. Now, what we recommend is the number one money lesson, uh, for parents to, uh, impart with their children is to make saving money a habit.
Because we think saving money, uh, has superpowers, particularly for kids. It’s a springboard for other, uh, lessons on money. And one of the big things that people don’t talk about, Related to teaching kids to save money is it helps them to learn to delay gratification, which may be the mother skill of all success.
Okay? So if you wanna teach your kids. To delay gratification, to have more discipline, get them in the habit of saving and start with the Sammy Rabbit deposit dance.
Tiffany Grant: You know what, Sammy? That is gold though, because you know, if you think about it, that’s how we get into so much debt and stuff as adults, is that we’re like, Ooh, I really want this, and so let me just put it on a credit card so I can take it home with me right now.
You know, instead of. Like, oh, I’ll just wait and save up and pay cash and then, you know, be done with it. It’s that the delayed gratification skill that we did not, you know, master when we were younger. And so now it’s getting us in trouble. Um, and of course that’s just one piece to a puzzle, but, uh, I feel like it’s a pretty significant one, so I’m glad that you brought that up.
Sam X Renick: Oh, well thank you. It’s the cornerstone. You’re, you know, you’re right. Your analogy, it is a puzzle. There’s. A variety of factors, but the cornerstone and the big piece starts off with saving. Uh, what I found is people who make a habit of saving money, their whole mindset related to money changes, uh, including how they spend it.
Tiffany Grant: Absolutely. And you know, I, I can speak from experience on that cuz when I didn’t have my finances under control, I was just like, Ooh, I wanna do this, I wanna do that, I wanna do this. And just doing everything right. And then I look up and I’m like, oh my gosh, where did all my money go? I know it’s at McDonald’s where it’s, you know, wherever you ate that week.
Sam X Renick: now Oh, ok. You just reminded me of a another, uh, point that, uh, Look, we’re always building someone’s wealth. It’s a question. Are we building our wealth in security or someone else’s like Mickey D
Tiffany Grant: Oh my gosh, forget the point. I was going for that point right there. That point right there, like, That just, I know my audience is probably listening like you are, right?
Like, am I making target rich, Walmart rich, McDonald’s rich, or am I gonna make myself rich? And actually, I just spoke to some college students. I did a little speaking engagement, uh, last week and I told them, I said, Always pay yourself first. And so how do we ingrain that in our kids, you know, when they’re little, like your target demographic, you know, the two to, let’s say five year olds, how do we instill that to make sure that A, they value themselves, and then B, they’re paying themselves first.
Sam X Renick: right. Well that is a super question everyone. I’m gonna encourage you to lean in, put your hands behind your ears, cuz I am going to share this secret with you. What you want them to do, and it’s something I’ve already shared, is, uh, Sammy Rabbit says, saving is a great habit. That’s the secret. So if you think about this, If kids are saving, they’re not, they’re typically not earning money when they’re three, four, or five.
If they’re saving their money and they’re making a habit of it, they’re in a way paying themselves first. So you have them on that track. So get them doing that. So you might have a weekly family deposit. Uh, 10 minutes experience. So you make a family tradition. You’re, you’re gonna whip out the, uh, uh, personal savings jars, make sure your kids had their own savings jars, and then also have a, a family savings jar.
So it becomes part of the, the grant family tradition. This, this is who we are, we’re savers, we’re wealth builders. Then don’t be afraid to use the language. With kids, the big, the big boy, the grown up girl Lang language. Now you wanna do it in a way that they understand it, but you want them to, to hear it so they get familiar with it.
We’re savers. We make a habit of saving. We pay ourselves first. Okay, so you start introducing the language and then when, again, when you determine it’s appropriate, maybe you start giving your kids some opportunities to earn their own money. And I strongly encourage parents to do that. Whether it’s, you know, taking out the trash, more in the lawn, making your bed, whatever it is, make some distinction between, you know, what you think, uh, their chores are that they should do without pay, but then find some things so you can start developing that earning.
Concept And when you, cuz the grants we’re earners also. Okay. So we’re, we’re savers and we’re earners. And when we earn some money, the first thing we do is we start to categorize separate prioritize, organize our money. And the first thing we do is we pay ourself first. Cuz saving is a great habit and so is investing.
And so that’s where we put part of our money. And then part of it maybe we put towards spending, not just spending, but smart spending. Semi rabbit says, give your pennies a purpose. Have a plan for your pennies. If you can manage small things, then you’re probably capable of managing, uh, larger things.
We’re very big on habit firstname.lastname@example.org. So I think that’s one of the ways, uh, You start cultivating this Pay yourself first mindset. It, it’s really interesting that you brought that point up because when I first got into this area over 20 years ago, I spent, I don’t know, maybe six months, thinking to myself, if I was gonna only, uh, teach or talk to or recommend one thing about money to a kid or an adult, what would it be?
And it was pay yourself first. But then when it came to kids, which I wanted to focus on kids and families. I thought to myself, how do I translate that message for kids? And that’s kind of how we came up with the savings. A great habit, slogan, message, philosophy.
Tiffany Grant: I love it. I love it and it takes so much creativity, um, to make sure that these grown up and I’m doing air quotes, concepts, um, get over to the little kids, uh, just so they can understand at least a little bit what’s going on.
So I love how you’re. Framing all of these things, and it actually has me thinking as well on how I can frame these things, maybe even with some of my adult clients that don’t get some of these concepts. So this is super helpful, um, not only for my audience for, but for me as a mom and as someone that sees clients.
So, uh, with that being said, how, and I’m just curious about this myself. How did you get interested or decide that, Hey, I wanna teach little kids about money?
Sam X Renick: Well, I was in my second career in financial services. I was doing a little bit of, uh, Financial consulting, trying to encourage people to, uh, you know, invest and, and, and save and do it, uh, you know, automatically and habitually pay themselves first, that type of a thing.
And one day, uh, a salesperson of mutual funds came into our office and he brought this, uh, bubble blower. And I was like, I wonder what? I wonder what he’s up to. And so he was trying to encourage us to open, uh, College savings accounts for our clients and, you know, take the long-term view and, and that kind of stuff.
And, you know, I was already doing that and I wasn’t really that happy in financial services. One of the things I, I did enjoy was I enjoyed having conversations like this. With everyday kinds of people. I was an average person. I’m still an average person. And, and so, you know, uh, we would talk about what their money choices were.
And what I heard constantly was people sharing their regret and despair for, uh, not learning more about money when they were younger and then implementing it when they were young. Uh, adults, uh, a lot of these people say between 40 and 55, a light bulb might go off on their head and they might say, oh my goodness, uh, you know, I may get to be 61 day I may wanna retire, or this or that.
And, you know, they didn’t have anything, uh, saved and, and, and, and, and, and whatnot. And so, It just got me thinking like, why did I get on this path when I was 21, where I was saving, essentially, and investing a third of what I made, paying myself first. I, I just thought that was like common sense, but it turned out it wasn’t and most people weren’t, uh, doing it.
And what I concluded was that was a pri, there was a variety of factors as you shared earlier, but what it was a primary importance. And I, I think this was just, uh, unbelievable because we, we grew up, we were a family of seven and a one, uh, bath, uh, two bedroom, uh, house living, hovering right at the poverty level.
Mm-hmm. But my mom, uh, and dad and in particular, my dad started talking to us about, you know, making good money choices and working hard. Uh, So we can have a better, uh, life. And a lot of what they shared with us turns out to be, uh, these gems as you put it, that were, you know, on target. And so I was thinking, you know, why am I here?
What’s my purpose? And can I, uh, make a bigger contribution? And, uh, if I was going to make a contribution in this, Area wh where, where, who should I target? And I thought, you know what? If you’re, you gotta target young kids. That’s, that’s like where you’re, uh, programming and putting the software in young kids being, let’s say between birth and age eight.
Now, I talked to kids and adults at all age levels. But I primarily focus on talking to the parents and teachers of kids, say between three and three and 10. And I’ve done a lot of work leading financial education experiences with those kids. Now I’m more for focused on, you know, how do we come up with these money scripts and make it easy for parent, busy parents to implement?
Uh, ideas, say while they’re washing the dishes or driving the car, you gotta just break it down. Here’s one sentence, let’s go over it. And then, you know, as you were saying earlier, like about reading, you know, it’s all just practice. That’s what I, what I, I found, I, I, you know, I’m a pretty good reader because I’ve had a lot of reading experience.
Mm-hmm. And then also, I’m not afraid to try. Different things. So one thing I wanna do for everybody, for you and, and all the people in the audience, is I wanna give them permission to be a little bit goofy, which means I love that. Which means, which means to try things. Be yourself. Everyone responds to authenticity, but expand and, and grow yourself.
Change the pace when you’re reading, change your voice. Uh, pretend you’re, you know, one of the characters. Whatever works, your kids are
Tiffany Grant: worth it. I love that. Thank you so much that like you dropped so many gems, um, over this entire episode and it definitely has me thinking about things differently as it relates.
To my kids, but even myself and even the clients that I work with. Um, this has been super helpful. I know we were talking about little kids, but I mean, I think it encompasses everything and it’s, it’s so good to hear how you got started and you know how that became your passion. So while we’re on that same vein, if people were interested in learning more about Sammy Rabbit, uh, how could they do so?
Sam X Renick: They should come to Sammy, s a m m y Rabbit, r a. B bt.com. There’s a lot of information there. And sign up for the Sammy Rabbit Money School.
Tiffany Grant: Yes, absolutely. And I will have that link in the show notes. And I will also mention, so Sam is very, very active on LinkedIn. That’s how I actually, you know, came abreast of everything that he has going on.
So if you are a parent, And you are listening. Check him out on LinkedIn cuz he posts some really good stuff. So thank you so much, Sam, for coming on the show
Sam X Renick: today. Oh, thank you Tiffany. It’s been a great Sammy. Terrific pleasure,
Tiffany Grant: Sammy.
Intro/Outro: Thank you for listening, joining and being a part of the Money Talk with Tiff podcast this week. You can check Tiff out every Thursday for a New Money Talk podcast, but if you just can’t wait until next week, you can listen to previous podcast episodes at Money Talk with t.com or follow tiff on all social media platforms at Money Talk with T until next time.
Spend wise by spending less than you make a word to the money wise is always sufficient. It.
It’s never too early to start teaching kids about money, and this episode of Money Talk With Tiff offers practical strategies for making financial literacy fun and engaging. Host Tiffany Grant sat down with Sam X Renick (aka Sammy Rabbit), a financial services veteran, to explore innovative techniques for introducing financial concepts to young children. Read on for the essential takeaways from their enlightening conversation.
Make Saving A Celebration: The Deposit Dance
- Sam suggests using transparent jars to allow kids to visibly track their savings as they grow.
- Combine this method with a lively and exciting “deposit dance” to make saving both engaging and enjoyable.
- Celebrating each deposit can help nurture a lifelong habit of saving.
Get the Kids Hooked on Financial Literacy: Storybooks & Animations
- Reading storybooks about money can captivate children and introduce valuable financial lessons.
- Engaging youngsters with animations and excitement can help retain their interest and foster healthy financial habits.
- Choose age-appropriate resources to ensure kids internalize the information at their own pace.
Money Lessons Aren’t Taught At Schools: Be a Role Model
- Kids learn financial behavior by observing adults around them.
- Emphasize the importance of parents and guardians serving as active and conscious role models.
- Encourage open conversations and use age-appropriate language to discuss financial matters with children.
The Power of Delayed Gratification
- Teaching kids to save money and delay gratification can empower them to make informed financial decisions in the future.
- Instill the values of planning and patience, which will benefit children as they grow and face more significant financial choices.
A Philanthropic Purpose: Sam X Renick’s Background
- Sam shares his extensive background in financial services and his passion for educating kids about money.
- Tiffany Grant, a mom and financial coach, expresses her appreciation for Sam’s insights and strategies.
Take the first step in introducing financial literacy to the kids in your life by implementing these age-appropriate strategies from Sam X Renick and Tiffany Grant.