Book Giveaway! IS YOUR CHILD A MONEY MASTER OR MONSTER: SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY MOTIVATED KIDSBy
An Interview with Sunny Lee
What do you think the most important takeaway from this book is?
The important takeaway from the book is that Money Masters and Money Monsters are created through what they’re taught. Our children are the most common money monsters and their parents are often their creators. Like most skills in life, when our children are taught money skills early, they can become Money Masters who can take charge of their finances and life. In my book, I will show you the seven simple habits that I taught my sons in order to make them Money Masters. Instead of depending on me to give money to them and tell them what to do, my sons know how to earn, save, give and invest money for their future. It’s like a teaching a man to fish instead of simply giving him a fish. When a man is taught this skill, he can eat for lifetime.
How has your experience as a financial adviser changed the way you look at money?
Money is essential to a safe, comfortable life, and money is good and useful. It is not the root of all evil, but the love of money is. In my profession, I’ve met many generous multi-millionaires who love giving and sharing. However, I’ve also met many people whose ultimate goal in their lives is to make lots of money and get rich. They are willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want, and it’s very dangerous to be in that kind of state of mind. We reap what we sow, whether good or bad, and that’s the law of sowing and reaping.
As a financial adviser, what are the biggest mistakes people make when creating a financial plan, and how would you recommend avoiding it?
The biggest mistake people often make is not making any plans at all for their financial future, and they keep their fingers crossed wishing and hoping that they will be fine. However, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” as Benjamin Franklin said. You can’t be exempt from life being life. Life happens all the time no matter who you are or how well you are prepared. Rain falls on everybody, so you need to have a good financial plan if you want to have a good life.
Another mistake many people often make when they create a financial plan is that they don’t ask for help nor seek advice from financial professionals in the process. Nobody knows everything, but everybody knows something. Creating a financial plan is like building a house – if you don’t lay a solid foundation first, the house will collapse. It’s like a building a house on the sand instead of rock. A good financial plan requires both short-term and long-term goals as well as many detailed action plans to reach those goals. It also requires commitment and persistence until you get the job done. Having a long-term financial plan is like running a marathon. You need to be on the racetrack no matter what happens along the way until you finish the race. In the same way, your financial game is not over until your life is over, so don’t make permanent financial decisions based on temporary events in life, and don’t try to make a right plan but make a plan first and make it right.
What experiences from your own childhood influenced your desire to educate children on financial matters?
My parents taught me many things, but managing money wasn’t one of them. Their parents didn’t teach them about it either, although my grandparents (both sides) were very rich in the past but didn’t know how to teach their children about money, so I was born into a poor family. Being poor wasn’t fun as a little child. My parents didn’t have enough money to buy me any real toys like a Barbie or a dollhouse that many of my friends played with, so I sowed my own stuffed animal toys and played with other kinds of pet animals, like rats and cockroaches. When I was in elementary school, my desperate mom, who needed some immediate cash to pay the bills, took out all of my savings in my bank account without telling me first. I was so angry and disappointed that I stopped saving for a very long time. Because of my challenging childhood experiences, when I became a mom, I wanted to teach my children about money at an early age. I wanted my boys to know that their money is safe no matter what and it grows well, not to mention that their money will be there when they need it in the future. Because of the love for my kids and the desire for their successful financial future, I developed a progressive system when they were 2 years old that taught them many things about basic finance – and it worked! My boys are 11 years old now and they still use the system every day. That’s the beauty of an early education!
As a parent, what difficulties have you encountered when teaching your own children about money skills and financial responsibility, and how did you combat that?
When we teach our children about money skills and financial responsibility, parents need to be their first role model and walk their talk. We can’t say one thing and do something else. In our home, we have a mantra that goes “When mommy makes a promise, mommy keeps it.” It’s a really high expectation and standard to live up to, but I mean what I say, and I understand that unless I keep my promises, my kids will not take what I say seriously. All the reward and incentive programs I created since they were young represent my serious commitment for delivering the sure rewards to them. Another thing that I found difficult at first was communication. Clear communication is key and every time I added a new financial responsibility or taught them a new reward program, I sat down with my boys and explained to them about cause and effect, work and reward, achievement and celebration in their language. When your children see a reward worth more than the work they put in, they will do it. It’s very important that parents do not force their children but inspire them to learn new money skills and take a new financial responsibility.
How do you think an educator could incorporate your book into a classroom setting?
An educator can use many tools that are available from my book and also on my website, www.nomoneymonster.com, to incorporate the concept into a classroom setting. My website will soon have different activity charts ready to use plus a handout for parents and educators. Many more teaching materials will be added to the website and will be available to download soon.