Talk Wealth to Me

#068 Why Don't We Learn More About Money When We're Kids? With Andrea Ferrero

January 15, 2021 Felipe Arevalo, Chase Peckham, Andrea Ferrero Season 3 Episode 17
Talk Wealth to Me
#068 Why Don't We Learn More About Money When We're Kids? With Andrea Ferrero
Show Notes Transcript

Bring on 2021! We kick off the new year with the importance of family at the forefront of our minds. Financial education, financial literacy, financial capability or any name we want to put on it is at the heart of Talk wealth to Me. It is what we're passionate about and what we firmly believe people really want and yet most have not received it. Well, we have a treat for you today! Our guest is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Pockets Change, an organization that started with this question, “Why don’t more of us learn about money when we’re kids?”  That led to many more questions and away they went. There is not a more passionate champion for financial education for kids and families than Andrea Ferrero. We talk about the emotions of money and finances in the home and how they start at an early age. How families can communicate and introduce money to their children and so much more. Please enjoy!

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Intro:

[inaudible] Welcome to Talk Wealth To Me, a safe space podcast, where we chat about anything and everything related to personal finance. The information contained in this podcast is for educational and entertainment purposes. Only. It does not constitute as accounting , legal tax or other professional advice.

Chase Peckham:

Hello, 2021! We welcome the new year. The change in the calendar, the change in the calendar brings hope. We hope that there's change . We hope that there is peace. We hope that everyone will soon be able to go out without worrying about catching a virus. One thing that doesn't change, however, is finances. Financial literacy is near and dear to our heart here at Talk Wealth To Me and I have never met anyone who champions financial literacy more than our guest. Andrea Ferrero is the co-founder and executive director of Pockets Change. She grew up on a Navajo and Hopi reservation. She taught there and she touches on how important the foundation of family and talking about finances, Introducing it to our children. You were not going to want to miss this episode. Andrea Ferrero. Other organizations that I've seen that try to push financial , financial literacy. Um, you know, it's funny, I , I love to use the phrase financial financial capability versus financial literacy, but financial literacy just Googled so much better.

Andrea Ferrero:

It's true. It's. I mean, that's been being pushed longer. Yeah, we do the same. We are , like we say, financial resilience, financial capability. We're like beyond the literacy guys, that's like the lowest bar,

Chase Peckham:

That's right.

Andrea Ferrero:

Yeah.

Chase Peckham:

Literacy is knowledge, but it doesn't mean necessarily put it into practice. Right. Which is so important for people when it comes to this whole financial world that we live in, you have to put those principles into practice, like everything else we do in our life. Um, so I , I just can't thank you enough for being here. And, you know, everybody that we talk to part of the equation is understanding where they get their beginning and where they got the passion to do what they do. Uh, and, and so if you don't mind, give us a little background. I had the pleasure of meeting you for the first time on the California jumpstart coalition. And I'm a , I'm a newbie, I'm a rookie on the board , um, and very excited to be there. But , uh , and you've been there for , um, give us an idea of what started making you so passionate about financial literacy or capability or resilience , uh , and how you started what you do now.

Andrea Ferrero:

Yeah, so it started over a decade ago. Um, I started off as a classroom teacher and I was teaching , uh , on the Navajo and Hopi reservation where I grew up and I was teaching second grade. And my first year in the classroom, that's now almost like 18 years ago, deep sigh. I know it goes so fast. All those kids are no longer babies. They're all grown, they have babies. Um, but when I started off teaching second grade, I stepped into my first classroom and I had a $50 budget and no math manipulatives, no art supplies, no science experiments supplies. And just that daunting feeling of like, how am I going to make this stretch? And I've always enjoyed entrepreneurship. I was a big girl scout cookie salesman in my childhood and just love that side of it. So the way that I decided to approach the small budget was to start a classroom store with my kids. And we would sell pickles and pencils after school. And it really grew into something much more than just, you know, a quick activity to see if we could get some more supplies. It became this opportunity to talk about money with the kids and see how engaged they got and how they would bring that topic into other subjects. Um, it was something that I thought I was going to run and the kids within a few months were running themselves. We would have classroom meetings where we'd talk about like, what are we going to do to get new supplies? How are we going to choose to spend the money that we're making, or we're going to invest in another jar of giant pickles , um, and keep that going. And so, while I was doing that, I started to get more interested in financial education. I started asking that question. I think a lot of us is financial educators ask ourselves , like, why didn't I get this when I was a kid? Um, you know , you start seeing stuff in your own life and you're like, Ooh, these tendencies, these habits , um, what did I learn this when I was six, when I was seven , uh , and all those early formative moments. And so I started looking into financial literacy and I actually found California jumpstart. I found an organization that was running summer camps in California, and I applied for a summer job. And that's where I met my co-founder Pamela palette . And she's a Certified Financial Planner. Um , she's worked in wealth management as long as I've been in education. And we were teaching summer camps, both as a part-time job and our twenties. And we were sitting over a roast chicken. We're having this conversation of, you know, why didn't we get this when we were kids? And also, why is this not more accessible in general? Um , why is this still something that's a special extra , uh, and that often is only coming up. If you feel like you already have the resources. So let's have our kids start to have these conversations, why can't we make it more widely available? And that's where this idea for Pockets Change came from. It started off first. It's just going to be a curriculum. And we created the shiny 52 lesson curriculum, which, you know, we still pull some of that from a well over a decade later. But when we, it in front of teachers, we found that a lot of teachers still were having those moments themselves of, you know, why didn't I learn this? Or what does this mean? Or just that , that, that sense of uncertainty and confusion, and that would stop it from actually happening in the classroom. And so that's where we started to evolve as an organization. And now over a decade later, we have our full curriculum of K through 12 and college. We do online workshops and in-person workshops , um , when COVID is not happening.

Chase Peckham:

Right.

Andrea Ferrero:

So we come to you now, mostly through Zoom and we also do professional development. And this past year we saw just in the last six months, over a thousand teachers and our curriculum is being used by over 25,000 students.

Chase Peckham:

Wow.

Andrea Ferrero:

So it's been really exciting growth. Um, come a far way from standing in front of a classroom, cupboard going how is, 50 bucks going to work.

Chase Peckham:

You were , uh , uh, you were , uh , BizTown before BizTown was BizTown. That's awesome.

Andrea Ferrero:

I like the tie in there. And I think that that goes to speak to just like how financial education has evolved itself over the last decade. I mean, what you all are doing is amazing too. And I think there's so many of us that are trying to innovate in the space that are trying to make money conversations happen earlier and more often. And just with more openness and I think that's so crucial.

Speaker 2:

So you gave us the little synopsis of how Pocket Change was , uh, founded or formed. Um, take us a little bit deeper in, in the, in how , uh, the journey that it took to get you where you are now.

Andrea Ferrero:

Yeah. I mean, there's so many different directions.

Chase Peckham:

I know huh.

Andrea Ferrero:

That's a little bit asking the questions . I'm digging even further,

Chase Peckham:

That's the point of all of this, right?

Andrea Ferrero:

Um, I think the first thing is just realizing how the emotion that goes into money. And I think oftentimes when we first, if you get the money class, right, that's the big thing. If you get it, oftentimes the first thing is like, we're going to create a budget and we'll look at the line items. We'll look at them. The addition and the subtraction and money is about so much more than the numbers. It's emotional and it's personal. And that's really where my desire as an educator was like, let's, let's change the way this is done. Let's come in here and let's make this fascinating and let's make it attached to the stuff that's personal in our lives. And let's look at our identity and how it shows up with tendencies and money. Let's get creative and thinking about how we express our values with it. And so that's really where we've evolved and where my own interest in finance education has evolved from is that learning is innately emotional. And when we look at finance, we need that. We need that to be mirrored. And too often it's left kind of flat where we're just going to look at the math and we don't get beyond the numbers and we need to do that.

Chase Peckham:

And isn't that what scares most people? I mean, including, I mean, adults, people that actually make a good living, they tend to be scared to death and say, I'm terrible at math. I, I'm not , I'm no good at finances because of this. People are so scared of money for one, for what might find. And for two , the idea that I can't keep track of it, I just, I'm not good at that math. And that's really not the case.

Andrea Ferrero:

Yeah. And I think that the thing is too, is the tracking part feels difficult. And there's also a lot that's been put into making it feel confusing, right. Because who does that benefit? It's confusing and you stop looking at it. Somebody is making some money somewhere. Um, so I think that there's also a big part of it that starts really young, which is the shame and the money stories we tell ourselves and the , the feeling of being alone in it, not finding that common humanity and the experience. And I think that's where, when we , we start in our workshops by having money buddies, you know, coming together and starting to have conversations about money together. Um , that's why we do intergenerational workshops tonight. I'm actually going to be meeting with a group in Wisconsin and it's going to be middle school students and their parents having conversations about money. And it's so important that we create that space to have money buddy conversations, to really combat that sense of shame and that sense of self judgment that comes in with money. And I think that's, it's crazy. It starts so young. Um, we did a workshop almost eight years ago in California, and we were in Santa Barbara and six year old little girl walks in and she's dragging her backpack and she's looking kind of bummed. And as a teacher, I'm like, Oh, you had a bad day. And not getting along with somebody in the group. She comes up to me and she has , this is, this is going to be bad. What's going on? She's like, I'm bad at money. And it wasn't like a, like a soft voice. It was like a strong declarative. Like I am bad at money at six years old. And I was like, let's hold on to this for a second. Let's step into the moment together. Like, I think we can get you beyond, you know, the being bad at money and what it came down to, you know, an hour later, she's going through the activities and, and feeling that she can take these risks and be open and talk to her money buddy, and, and have fun with it is that she felt like she had had a lot of discussions around her about spending money or wasting money , um, how she used her allowance, she was getting an allowance. Um, and that she had already at six years old, kind of embedded that within her, her thoughts around how she was with money. And I think too often, we're collecting all this information of our experiences and our, and our personality and how we engage with money and how money is being talked about and used around us. And we start to personify that as some, like an innate ability we're either good at money or we're bad at money, but really it's just the skill. It's this learning curve that we can, we're all on.

Chase Peckham:

The family dynamic. Um, the idea of , uh , families. It used to be , uh, we don't talk about money. Uh , you don't worry about it. You know, little kiddo over here, mom and dad, or I I'll take care of it. You don't worry your little head about it. Um, and so many people money was just foreign. It just, things appeared. Uh, so many kids just thought things were, especially these days. I think that if you get things you just swipe a plastic card or you put the chip in, how do you go about flipping that script and saying, it's okay to sit and talk to your about money and how it's spent and used in general.

Andrea Ferrero:

Yeah. One of the cool things, isn't it. And I'm thinking back to the , the presentation that we, when you and I were talking to teachers at LA USD, and you had this question you posed to them about, you know, what do you wish you'd known when you were a kid? And often the flipping happens that flipping the script happens by thinking forward together in partnership with one another. What do you hope for your kids? And what do you wish you had known? Right. And in order for that path to happen for us to, to encounter both those things, we have to talk about money. We can't have it be the elephant in the room, because then you, you can't do either of those things if we're not talking about it and learning about it together. So that's kind of the first part and, and having those common goals where it becomes this curiosity. Right? And I think that's like the flipping shame on its head is this develop this like infinite curiosity. Can we just , um, and thinking about , um, what, what is your kid want to do with their future? Like, it becomes this learning about one another and stepping into the learning journey together is so powerful. Um, we've seen it in hundreds of workshops across the country where you have parents come in and they're a little hesitant, like, what is this kid going to ask me in this workshop together? Don't raise your hand. Let's just fill out the worksheet. And then you see them, both, both the kids and the parents start to kind of like have this spark. And they're having these lively conversations because it becomes learning about one another learning and talking about family values and coming together around common goals, or even realizing that your goals are different, but then having some tools and strategies for talking about that is really powerful.

Chase Peckham:

So what are some of those that , that's what was really what I wanted to get, because you had this innate ability to make people feel comfortable with the uncomfortable , uh, and money is so uncomfortable. And that's what at the SDFLC we're trying to teach all the time is that money doesn't have to be uncomfortable. It's learning, you'll be more comfortable. The more, you know, knowledge, the old cliche knowledge is power, right. So how do you go about making that first step and what are some of those tools that you give both the kids and the parents? Because I would imagine a lot of times the parents may be uncomfortable because they're not so sure about money and, or they might be embarrassed because they don't feel like they're far enough along, or they're not successful enough, or they're too successful. And they don't want their kids to be brought up in a way where they just think money grows on trees. There's so many dynamics to all of this. How do you get them all together and go, okay, here are the basics, or do you, do you just individualize it completely?

Andrea Ferrero:

Well, I mean, the answer is, it depends on a bit of both, right ?

Chase Peckham:

Yeah. I knew you're going to say it because that's what I say all the time. I let myself down the wrong, I let myself down my own path.

Andrea Ferrero:

Which is, I mean, there's a reason we all say that it's because, I mean, that is, that is the learning journey, right. There is a certain element of it that becomes customized to yourself. Um , but there's also some like universals. Uh, and so one of the things that we start with is we have a money personality quiz. There's lots of different versions of money, personality, quizzes out there. I mean, of course I have an affinity ours because that's us. Um, but looking at what your tendencies and habits are, and that really just comes back to what's your relationship with money? How are your thoughts and habits around money and the stories that you tell yourself, influencing your decision-making and the conversations that you're having with yourself and with others when it comes to money. So we start there and we encourage, and we do it in rooms together, whether it's a zoom room or physical room, we do the money quiz and we have parents and kids taking it at the same time. And then looking at like where they differ and where they're the same , uh , and talking about, it's not that one is right, and one is wrong and it's not, that one is good. And one is bad. It's like getting like, let's bust down those dichotomies, right? It's, it's thinking about where are our strengths and where are the things that hold us back? And it's not that we're ever going to totally get rid of everything that holds us back when it comes to decision-making, but we can be more aware of it so that we can make decisions and build, you know , habits with those things in mind. Um, like for personal note, I struggle with savings. I've taught finance education for, well, over a decade. I've had a savings account since I was, what, 14 years old. It's still, it's not something that I look forward to. I don't go, Oh, yes, save some money. It's day and in fact, like psychology. When we talk about savings with one another, generally, we mean like I saved money on these shoes, like spent some money on these shoes. I just spent less than I originally thought I was going to spend. Um, so we start to talk about how that's showing up in our language with one another and in our own lives. And that becomes the space then where we can kind of step into these money buddy conversations. That's a big part of letting go of the self judgment . And also some of those things that you were talking about with family dynamics and our own self-identity is recognizing our strengths and recognizing how we show up and then being able to have conversations from that level of understanding. Then we take that into talking about spending because I mean, the reality is spending impacts how much money we have impacts are , you know, what's, what's going on in our life and what's happening in our future. And so we look at spending from this perspective, again, of tapping into our self identity and creating a budget with your own personal values in mind. Um , one of the things that I absolutely love is seeing kids that are just about to go off to college, sit down and do a spending values chart with their parents. And it's this like, oftentimes this like mind blowing moment and parents go into it thinking like, Oh, just will you wait until, you know, how much life costs. For the kids, It's like a lot of times the kids have a sense like life costs. Like we know that. But how am I going to budget with my resources, for the things that value that I value most and how do I prioritize that? And how do I have a tracking system where I can come back and check in with myself and see if I'm aligning my spending to my values. So those are the big things we start with is money personalities and spending values as kind of a universal for digging into all those family dynamics, all the personal stuff that comes up with money. And then it can go in so many directions from there.

Felipe Arevalo:

It's funny that you mentioned like the money personalities, because it's something we like to touch on a lot when we do our budgeting presentations, how the way I interpret budgeting , um, yeah. At the end of the day, you want to make more money than what you're spending and that's what a budget is, but how we get there and what is more important to each individual can be significantly different. And it has so many, so many factors go into play where, you know, two siblings may have been taught money the same way, but they're completely different outlooks, completely different behavior around money. It's just, I know from personal experience, my brother and I almost night and day, and it doesn't mean that my parents were better at teaching him than they were me. I like to think he learned from watching me make mistakes cause he's younger. Um, but you know, I think it also has to do with, he's just a different personality type in general. Uh, so maybe he absorbed it where I repelled it.

Chase Peckham:

Or he wanted to absorb it and you wanted to ignore it.

Felipe Arevalo:

Right. And, and, you know , I know you mentioned personality . I know one of my weakness is impulse buying and I always used to validate it with, well , it was on sale. I would have saved more money if I just didn't buy it at all. And it's interesting that that's kind of where you touch on. Do you feel that oftentimes , um, people kind of can tell where their personality traits lie? Or is it sometimes like, wow , I never realized that before.

Andrea Ferrero:

Again, it's a bit of both. I think there's a certain part of it. That's kind of this, like, you feel it in your core a little bit, you know, like Jack was like, yeah, I tend to be a little more reactive. Um, or like my fiance, he loves to plan to plan. Right. So he tends to , to, to be more reactive in certain things then become easier. Certain things become harder. Um, I love what you're saying with like you and your brother. So many, like our personalities are different, so we show up with money differently and, and it's, it's, it's interesting because we, when we look at, as being reactive and proactive and tending to look at more like cashflow versus net worth , um , that's how we kind of break up this like matrix of looking at money personalities. And so if you find yourself being in a position where you tend to be looking at like the money going out, money going in and kind of thinking more on the day to day , um, sometimes, and I really felt you, when you said like impulse buy. Yes! I am the person that's like suddenly at, at 10:00 PM, I'm like on an Amazon app. And I was like, you know, we really could use a minion in the kitchen like that, that's $5 is like it's only $5. And suddenly, you know, you , at the end of the month, you realize that's like $200 in small purchases. And I think that that's really it's real for all the money, personality types. Like we all have some part of that. Um , we tend to call it like the black hole of spending. It's the stuff you kind of don't even realize you're spending on. And there's a certain part of that sometimes is feeding us emotionally through like convenience or maybe it's that , um, we just were looking for like a sense of joy or sense of spontaneity, especially now. Right. And so then it's, it's, it's checking that to see if it's conflicting with other goals that you have for yourself and , and redirecting if , if need be. Um, so I , this is going all sorts of directions with, with what you shared, but I think that's where it comes back with the money personalities is that you do kind of have this innate sense of some of your personal tendencies. And I think for many of us, it shows up in the thing that we're afraid to say like, Oh yeah, like I've recognized that in you, cause I also do that.

Chase Peckham:

Oh, Andrea, I have a 12 year old and a 10 year old from the time they realized what money was and why we used it. Right. We, we, we use it to get something and they couldn't have been, I brought them up exactly the same way. I do this for a living. I teach them the same things and they are unbelievably on the opposite sides of the spectrum. My older one, just from the time he was, he could buy anything and realized that if I use this and then it goes away forever, he did not want to spend it anymore. And it didn't matter. He would, he had patients he'd wait for the holidays or he'd wait for a birthday or he, he just did not want to spend it where my daughter, we go to target and you could lose her. And you knew that it was going to be a knockdown drag them out because she was going to want to buy half the store that even if she couldn't afford it, it's just, it's unbelievable. The different persons. And she owns it. She's like, yeah, I know. So it's amazing how different they are. And yet in this case, both of them just own those personalities. And, and I don't, and I sit down and we talk about money the same, which is where I want to lead this. The most important thing you can do for a household in a family is communicate and especially about money for new couples. Uh, for, for those that are thinking about getting married or they're going to live together or wherever they're gonna go in their relationship together, the importance of discussing your personality, your money habits, your money personalities. How do you recommend that people go about starting that path? Because as we all know, the number one reason for divorce is financial issues. So if you can try to avoid going down that path, life's hard enough. Right? How do you go about , uh, teaching people to start having that conversation?

Andrea Ferrero:

Yeah, well, I think a lot of it is , is coming back to like opening this brave space, right? Because there's a part of talking about money that is very vulnerable. You're, you're sharing your personal, you're sharing. Sometimes things that you felt like were a huge mistake. Maybe it wasn't, maybe it was, you know, but you're, you're sharing yourself in this vulnerable space and that can, you know, it takes some, some thought and , and it really takes creating the space where you're both willing or, you know, to step in and have these conversations around how many shows up for you and what your current financial situation is and the things that got you to that point and where you want to be going. Um, I think that there's something incredibly powerful to like sitting down, whether it's on the couch or like for me and my fiance, it was, it was on a road trip to go visit his sister. And I was like, let's do a money personality quiz together. And he's like, Oh , a what now? Um, and that was one of the first of many conversations.

Felipe Arevalo:

It might be the best place to do it. It's not like he could run away from you.

Andrea Ferrero:

I'm not suggesting it as a strategy.

Chase Peckham:

Hey let's go for a drive.

Andrea Ferrero:

Yeah , let's drive around the block It'll be great. But I do think that, you know, bringing some intentionality to it and making sure that both of you are in a space to have the conversation, you know, maybe not right before bed, maybe not when one of you is stressed out and tired , uh , and the same goes for having those conversations with kids, with, you know, with colleagues where you're entering into, if you're in a business relationship, you, you need to know each other's money, tendencies and personalities too . And we talk about this a lot with high schoolers and early college students, you know, one of the big financial decisions we make as we're entering adulthood is who are going to live with, you know, that roommate, that situation that we're getting into. And so also thinking about, you know, what are ways to have many conversations with people outside of your family or outside of your romantic relationships and to open a space where you can come to the table and they'll say, okay, this is how I'm going to show up with my, you know, with my resources. And these are the things that are important to me. And these are my expectations and, and really having a space where you can own that with one another is , is, is really important. Um, yeah, we can go lots and lots of other,

Chase Peckham:

Well, that's the thing about finances, right? And I think that's what we find. There's so many different ways we could go with this, but that's because there's so many different ways we could go with this. There's so many branches on this tree of finance that you can go down from. You mean, if you're going to , we talked about the , having the conversation with your spouse or your partner , uh , and then your kids. But what about having the conversation with yourself and really understanding and finding out what your personality, money personality is looking in the mirror is half the battle, if not 90% of the battle.

Andrea Ferrero:

Yeah. And I it's , I mean, that's a huge part too, and we've done workshops on spending values and starting to budget all over the country, all different ages. And one of the biggest things is that like fear of wanting to look right, and like, where is the money going? Like you're opening this scary dark closet of like things. And, and I think when you're able to like start to adopt this, like infinite curiosity of looking at it and understanding why you make choices and , and being kind to yourself in that and , and saying like, yeah, I spent $300 on ordering in and , and I loved you guys in a previous podcast, talked about like, I'm supporting small business, I've done a lot of that. Um. during COVID. I had to be honest with myself that that also stops me from doing other things that, that might be important to me that might be important to , to myself and my partner. And, and so that is a look in the mirror, right. And saying like, how are these decisions affecting other decisions that I can make? And, and to keep looking and to keep asking questions of myself and to keep showing up with those conversations for myself too.

Chase Peckham:

At what age do you find that you should start introducing money? Because not just money, but money, values, all those kinds of things. At what age do you think kids are ready for it? Cause there's a lot of teachers that we work with that go, at this at this age, they don't really need to know about this stuff, but yet kids are so much sharper and actually less than even the teachers, the parents themselves are just, Oh, they're not, they don't need to know about that yet. Um, yet they can understand a lot more than we give them credit for.

Andrea Ferrero:

Yeah. And I think a lot of that comes from like worrying what questions might be asked. And so we always tell parents and teachers too , you know, if you get a question that totally froze you, it's totally fine to say in response. Well, let me think about that and I'll get back to you. Take some time to check in with yourself and how you want to have that conversation. Or if you want to do some reading or whatever it might be right. To feel like you're, you're ready to share. It's also okay. To set a boundary. If there's something that you're not ready to discuss with your kid and to say, that's such an interesting question. I'm so glad that you're bringing that up. Um, I'm going to think on it and we're going to wait until you're a little older, but we're going to come back to it. And I want you to keep asking money questions. Like all of those things are totally fine to do. Um, as far as age, we, as , as young, as young people, we're like sponges, right? We're just absorbing all these things. And we found in research also backs this up, that we start forming our relationship with money as young as five, six, seven years old, the same time that we're building early literacy skills that are going to help us read and are going to show up in all different ways. We're building our early relationship with money. That's going to show up in our lifelong habits. So I would say start, start early and often.

Felipe Arevalo:

Well , I was gonna say like my second grader in COVID times and him being in the next room in class , uh, I've noticed they had a small little section on money. Uh, and , and they said today we're talking about money in his hand, goes up his hands always up, and I'm always holding my breath to see what he's going to come up with. Uh, but, but he raised his hand and he's like, Oh, I know a lot about money. My parents do money all the time.

Andrea Ferrero:

That's fantastic.

Felipe Arevalo:

Uh , yeah and.

Chase Peckham:

At least he knows that.

Felipe Arevalo:

I was like, Oh man, at, he knows what we do.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah.

Felipe Arevalo:

Uh , I guess that's what happens when he shares an office with two people who work in the financial

Chase Peckham:

Somebody asks my kids at 12 and 10 and they go, Oh, he talks for a living.

Felipe Arevalo:

So aside from the fact that he still mixes up the nickels and the dimes and their values, he feels like he has a good understanding. And they had a , uh, a section where they had to add up coins to make a purchase. And they had to pick different things to purchase. And he picked the cheapest ones. Um, and then the teacher said, can you explain your reasoning? And instead of explaining what she wanted is I picked a quarter and then a dime and then a nickel. He just said, I picked the cheapest ones because that's going to leave me more money for the things I actually want to buy.

Chase Peckham:

Wow .

Andrea Ferrero:

That's really cool .

Felipe Arevalo:

He's actually learning. He's talking about, but he's actually in somewhere in there something clicked and he's learning and it could be that he just doesn't like spending his money. And that's why I encourage it. You know, he finds a coin and instead of hiding it easily , he yells money. Ah , thank you, buddy. I'll go put that away for you. Um, but, but they start to build some sort of understanding at a, at a young age that I think sometimes parents , uh, don't really give it as much. Don't give them , we don't give them as much credit on just what random things they're learning. So with those younger years , um, what might you suggest aside from, I should've taught him how much a dime is and a nickel ?

Andrea Ferrero:

Well, I mean, coins coins are often the way that, I mean, when I was the second grade teacher, that's the way we brought money into, right. It's a, it's a common way to start the conversation. One of the things that I really love though, is to think about like the characters that they're drawn to, whether it's TV shows or movies and books, there's so many great children's books out there that have themes of entrepreneurship or making, spending decisions. Um , like one that was popular, when I was a kid was Alexander and his horrible, no good, very bad day. And they go shoe shopping. And it's the three brothers experience. Like you can have these conversations around personal values and spending decisions. Um , you can have conversations about building businesses or following your dreams. There's this a newer kid's book. That's about , um, I'm trying to remember the exact title. I think it's an , uh , an idea or it might be, I wish , uh, I'll send you the link. The theme of it though, is this idea of following your creative passions and having that be this way that you solve problems in the world and what an amazing entry point to talk about career in the future or, you know, earning. So I think that , um, sharing picture books, sharing children's stories , um, keying into the characters they're watching on TV and having those kind of teachable moment conversations. I really powerful way to Link in family values to think about and ask them like what they're absorbing like your son, right. When you're saying like, you hear this moment of him talking and you're like, Hey, that was cool. Tell me about what you were thinking with that. Like, oftentimes those like lean in moments where you're asking more questions and you're, you're building a relationship together and building this, this relationship, that's going to lead to them, coming to you and asking other money questions or sharing other discoveries. And I think that's really what we want to do is create communities and create family dynamics where we have more money conversations.

Chase Peckham:

So I ran into a , an interesting conundrum for myself. I mean, and , and we do as parents all the time, and you might even doing what I do for a living in and understanding that communicating is so important when you run into a situation, for instance, let's say where, you know, you don't have an endless bottomless checkbook and your kids want to play sports. They want to do, or they want to go do dance and they want to go do lots of different stuff. And yet they don't want to give one of them up. And then you, as a parent, you want to give your child the opportunity to do everything. Right? You want them to be well-rounded, you'd like to do that. But at the bar at the end of the day, is your parents as parents and running our business, our family. Right. I try to think of our family as a business, and if I'm running a business, my goal is to make a profit every month and not go into debt, right? Because that that's a recipe for disaster, for a company eventually. So eventually you have to say no. And instead of just saying no to the child and we had to go Kerri and I back and forth, and how much do we bring her into it? And the amazing thing was, even though we were never, we decided to bring it in and literally show her the dollars of it. And she understood that, Oh, wow, mom and dad really do. They, they, they put a lot of money into the things that my brother and I do. And yet we were like, is that unfair to put that pressure on a 10 year old daughter on a 10 year old kid when they should just be like, yeah, you know, don't, you don't shouldn't have those pressures yet. Um, but I didn't want her to just say, no, you can't, and this is why or, no, you can't, and not give her a this is why . Uh, so how do you recommend that parents handle those situations? I mean, how much do you tell a child? And I guess it depends on the age, but how far do you, you go , uh, in, in, in trying to explain how things are working inside the family dynamic financially.

Andrea Ferrero:

Yeah. I really love this question. The first thing, this is just like a funny aside that comes to my mind is you're sharing that. And like, I love that you're having this powerful conversation and you're bringing your daughter in and having this like open moment, because there's such powerful modeling in that, right. Where you're sharing, how you're prioritizing things, you're sharing that, that her activities are a priority that the kids' activities are a priority, but that there's also this like whole vision that's happening for the family and you're modeling decision-making and you're , you're modeling the care you're putting into that. And the thought that you're putting into that and that you want her to know that. Um, so I think all of those things are really incredible. Um, I was visiting my parents right before COVID and I was looking through an old box of like art projects. And I found a little flip book that I had made in fifth grade. So it was 10 going on 11 and it was called, why won't you buy me a horse? It was a very thoughtful, persuasive essay, through 26 pages about fun facts, about horses, the importance of horses and ending in this amazing culminating moment of why won't you just buy me a horse? I never did get a horse as a kid. And I don't look back on that and fault, my parents in any way, or feel like, in any way I was un-loved or un-cared for, or that my interests or, you know, the things that I wanted to do as hobbies were not valued. Um, so I think that there are those moments where sometimes things that kids bring to the table as an interest, as a hobby might be unobtainable. And I completely recognize the perinatal pressure that, that creates that you want to show up for your kid, that you want to be able to tell them yes to everything, but that it's okay to say no. And, and I love the saying no lovingly and explaining why , um, one of the things that was very present in my family , uh, and I've seen this in many other families is we have these money buddy conversations across the country is no, because there's not enough. And sometimes that like period after enough , um, can create a fear, right? A fear of that, that there's, there's things to worry about. And , and, and, and sometimes that I think is also the reason that as parents might not want to have the conversation, because you don't want that fear to , to be present for your kids. Right. And you don't want to create worry. And so it's, it's, it's juggling those, those emotions as a parent that are showing up. And I feel like that is such a , an individual moment as, as like a parent to decide how you want to engage with your child. So how much you want to share. I don't think that there's a right or wrong answer to how much to share a , I do think that what's really important is to be authentic and to be okay, being vulnerable with your child and by vulnerable, I mean exactly what you were sharing. Here's the decision that we're making. Here's why we're making it. And we love you in that. And that, that in, that allows us modeling to happen where decision-making around money becomes less scary because it's something that my family engages on regularly. Right. It sets this tone that my family, my parents are making money decisions and that someday I'll be making money decisions. And that that's just part of life. And that sometimes we're able to say yes, and sometimes we say no, and both of those things are okay.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah. Think that's why I , I wanted to, to bring them into that part is to understand that not just the financial side of it, but the decision-making side of it, you're going to be making decisions your entire life, and there's going to be wrong decisions and there's going to be right decisions. And it's funny, I, why I have this story, but just again, this morning, my dog had a cough and limp and we had to take him to the vet this morning. And he, and he's a year cancer-free, by the way, he's six years , six years old and dogs, don't usually , uh, not , I'm gonna knock on wood because I don't want them to all of a sudden, but so we go to the vet and the kids are used to being nervous about that. And so the doctor's like, we can't figure out why he's limping. Um , but we're checking, there's no cancer anywhere that we can see. We think, you know, everything's going to be fine. Um, but you know, to be, just to be thorough, let's , uh, let's do these x-rays. And I looked at, we're talking a thousand dollars worth of maybe right, where we don't know what we're going to find. And so I'm on the phone and the kids were like, who are you talking with? I'm like, I'm on the phone with our, our pet insurance and we're gonna , well , okay. And what is it going to be covered and what won't be covered. And then by the way, our new insurance starts on the 24th. And so we had to ultimately make this decision where the kids are like, no, get him checked right now and Kerri. And, but they don't understand that there's the conversation with the vet. And they're like, you know what, it's not a big deal. We can go with an Anti inflammatory, maybe that fixes it. And if it doesn't then in a couple of weeks when our insurance flips and now we're not covering all those decisions, but there's that big part of all of us that just says, forget it, pay the thousand dollars. And let's just for peace of mind, make sure he's okay yet . That's not always available that thousand dollars isn't available to do right now. And yet, you know, we had to weigh , do we go into debt for the time being to do that? Uh, so, but, but for them it was so emotional, right? This is our dog. How can you wait? And we had to sit and explain that you're right. It is emotional, but we have time eminent that he's not in imminent danger. Right. If , if we thought he was, if the doctor thought he was, then we would jump on it. No question. When kids are getting older and you're dealing with, let's say now teenagers, and we all know teenagers, and they only care. Most of the kids, a lot of them care about what's going on right now. Um, how do you go about introducing money to them in saying that, you know, not in the, not too distant future, you're going to be making a lot of money decisions yourself.

Andrea Ferrero:

Yeah. So I think this is also comes, comes like full circle to when we were first starting off and chatting in this idea of how finance education has changed over the last 15, over the last 10 years. Um, a lot of finance education for kids has historically been , um, let's, let's blow your socks off, right? Like, we're going to show you what the real world is like, and , and we're going to do it through a simulation and math. And then we're going to tell you why it's important to listen. And, and, and as we all fall asleep, and then we wonder why they lean back and they're like sure.

Chase Peckham:

We call it the glazed donut look.

Andrea Ferrero:

Yeah, exactly. And , and I think what so many of us have found success in is through making meaningful connection , right? Money is showing up in all of our lives. It's showing up in teenagers lives, it's impacting the decisions that they're making, and they're about to be making these big decisions. So when it comes to teens, when we're doing workshops, we do ask the teens in the room. What are some of the big questions you have about money? What are some of the big decisions that, you know, you have coming up that you're making around money and that's going to look different and we've even broken workshops into small groups based on that interest where we have one pod that are really interested in getting their first car and another group that has no intention of that. Cause they're using public transport and the idea of them having to sit through 45 minutes to learn how a car loan works when they don't plan on like, even fathoming that for the next five to eight years. That's like, I think timely education is so important when it comes to that. Right. That's tied to, to your, to your values and your personal interests . So we talk about things like getting your first place. Um, what does college cost , what's that gonna look like with your resources? Um, getting a job and earning while you're in school , um , what does that look like for you? Um, all of these different things, right. And really customizing small groups and customizing the experience based on the decision making that's coming up for, for teens. Um, I think that a one size fits all model or trying to explain to , to anyone really, but like teenagers, especially like this is important because I said he's so like, no, like it's asking them what's important. And then let's go into that. Let's, let's have a conversation about that. Let's bring together some resources and some tools and some strategies around that. Um, especially during COVID, we've had incredibly insightful conversations with teens all over the country. Um, we, during the summer were meeting with a group of, it was about 150 teens here in New York city. Um , my team is based in Brooklyn and we do work all across the country. Um, but we're , we're meeting with these teenagers and some of the questions that were coming up where we're seeing so many problems in the world and we really feel called to be part of solving them. How can I look for my first job with that in mind? And it became this idea of how do you put together your, your, your interview tools, your, your resume as a team to go after that first job and this idea of wanting to be part of problem solving. So I think it's so, so important to really be timely and to really be relevant by connecting to the values that are present in the room, not by trying to dictate what those are. We often say that our curriculum is , is not prescriptive , um, that it's, it's really about showing up and creating community and space for conversations together.

Chase Peckham:

So that's, ah , that's brilliant. How do you go about when you're working with teachers or you're working with classes a lot of times, they're so busy, how do you , and , and Hey , can you come in and talk financial literacy? Right. And as we mentioned, there's a lot of branches on that tree , uh , a lot of leaves. Um, so how do you have that conversation with the teachers? And if you only get a chance to be with a class one or two days, do you start off with just the conversations and then kind of tie it into budgeting or do you even get to that part?

Andrea Ferrero:

Yeah. Um, so I think one of the amazing things that we found in the last six months is just the , the power of technology to kind of extend our learning and those learning relationships that happen in that first workshop. Um, so if we're only together for an hour in zoom, if we're only together for 90 minutes , um, we're gonna definitely dig into money personalities. We're going to look at spending values. We're gonna look at, we call savings the yes. Box being able to say yes to future opportunities yes. To your future self. Um , so we look at those core kind of like universal, like financial foundations, right? And then we look at how do you connect that to the things that are important to you in your life that you're moving towards. Um, and, and we're able to leverage technology. We actually have an online learning platform so that , um , kids and parents and teachers that are a part of our workshops can go on and continue to look through videos and audio and in tools and our interactives continue their asynchronous and journey, right. To continue those, those, those activities. And we have facilitators that engage in that platform and answer questions actively and are showing up for that continued dialogue.

Chase Peckham:

Like in a chat atmosphere?

Andrea Ferrero:

Yeah.

Chase Peckham:

Oh, that's really cool. That's phenomenal. So they get to continue the conversation, they get to continue the dialogue . So this is the question that Felipe, I know has been wanting to know since I told him that we were going to interview you for this podcast is how does hip hop and music, how does that tie in to personal finance?

Andrea Ferrero:

Yeah. That's the heart of it. So I love that question. Thank you. Um, it's, it's what, it's, what brings it to life. I mean, it's everything that we've just been talking about. It hip-hop pedagogy as a practice, as a, as a learning methodology. Um, it encompasses all the things that we've been discussing , um, self-identity and understanding yourself at a deep level, being able to empathize with yourself, being able to own your story , um, then being able to take that into relationship and advocate for yourself , uh, and to, to ask questions and to engage in dialogue and to really create, like, create the cipher to , to use the hip hop term, which is this, the circle, this community where learning is ongoing and learning is communal. And from that point of learning, being communal, being able to take action at making a better world, and that could be through entrepreneurship. It could be for advocating for better rights when it comes to credit reporting, it's all these different things. Um, so hip hop pedagogy for us, we always tell our teachers, especially, don't worry, we're not going to expect you to come and , and do like a compound interest rap. Like it , that's not what we're, what we're doing. Um, if some of the kids are into that, we will teach them to beatbox. We have teaching artists that have the skills to get them there. Um, but it's really about the, the methodology and the practice of hip-hop pedagogy, which is understanding ourselves connecting and , and being able to communicate in meaningful ways and then building community where we can have this, this whole circle take action together. And, and that shows up in all the activities and all the different things that we've been talking about, whether it's spending values, whether it's knowing your money, personality , um, whether it's looking at your relationship with a bank and how do you, you know, how do you navigate that? How do you manage that? Um, and we really bring in the hip hop pedagogy into our workshops by looking at finance creatively. Uh, and we found that, you know, kids just really respond to real conversation. I mean, that's, what's so wonderful about us chatting today, right? We're all, we're all really enjoying, just digging into things that we love talking about. And that's what hip hop pedagogy allows us to do with kids of all ages and with parents and with teachers is to have these real conversations and to look at the world of finance, with curiosity and with creativity and to not feel held back by feeling alone or feeling scared or feeling confused. Um, as far as the songwriting elements, the artistic styles that go into the five elements of hip hop and hip hop culture. Um , we actually do have an event coming up if I can plug an event.

Chase Peckham:

Absolutely.

Andrea Ferrero:

Um , that's free for the public. Uh , we're doing a Hip Hop Financial Fest in partnership with , um , Florida Prosperity Partners, FPP, which is a national nonprofit . And we're going to be having a contest where high schoolers can create their own financial songs. We'll have tools to help them in songwriting , a toolkit online for songwriting and for financial lessons and really supporting kids and teachers and having these dialogues and this creative exploration of money. Um, so we really do bring that heart into, to all of our learning, whether, you know, whether you're a poet or whether you're a writer or whether you really love the numbers side of it, but it's, it's looking at it and really embracing yourself fully and , and owning your money story is where the hip hop pedagogy takes us.

Chase Peckham:

Wow. That is amazing. And you really have it broken down here into the steps step-by-step on how you do it. That's, it's really neat. Uh, and just go to pockets, pocketschange.com, that's pockets with an S change.com and forward slash hip-hop finance. Um, it really is an amazing, amazing work. I who, who had the idea who gets, who gets the pat on the back for bringing that together?

Andrea Ferrero:

So it was a few years into Pockets Change being and , um , Daylekt who is our, our Director of Pedagogy. Um, and at the time he was really helping Pam and I, and , and creating a curriculum and laying it out. And he's an emcee and hip hop performer and a teaching artist. And, you know, we were doing this job prep workshop, and we were like, we're just, we're, we're feeling a little stuck. And he came in and brought in these elements of hip hop pedagogy, and it just all clicked. It was all the things that we were really leaning into and trying to, to, to embody within what we were creating this and talking about personal values and understanding yourself and money and , and building community and not having it be a zero sum game. It was all of that. And that we did this workshop, it was in Northern California and the director of the program came up after us and said, don't come back without him. And they're like, we won't. So flash forward a decade later and thousands of workshops and, and he's, he's really brought so much just amazing, amazing educational learning in through hip hop pedagogy,

Chase Peckham:

Phil and I can't thank you enough for being here today. It's been an incredibly great conversation. All the work that you do, it's a pleasure to serve with you on the, on the board, even though it's been a short time for me. Uh , and I've , I've just that one day I just blew my socks off , uh , in how natural you were. So , uh , thank you again for everything. And we'll talk to you soon. Good luck with your endeavor. [inaudible] .