AOA 012: An Early Savings Habit Leads to More Money-Smart Skills

With Youth Financial Literacy Pioneer Sam Renick

“Great habits give all kids a better and brighter future.”

Sam Renick

In this episode, I talk to Sam Renick, the award-winning financial educator who created Sammy Rabbit to help kids get in the savings habit. Sam is a true pioneer in youth financial literacy who has spent two decades writing, speaking and performing for kids everywhere. He was named the 2016 National Financial Educators Council Financial Educator of the Year and earned the 2015 New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education Lifetime Achievement Award. More importantly, Sam is a totally engaging guy who has done a lot of deep thinking about how to move the financial literacy needle forward for families everywhere, and our conversation is chock full of great, useful information from start to finish.

Here are just a few of the interesting topics we discuss:

  • Sam’s father inspired him to develop a lifelong savings habit.
  • His love of reading led him to create his first storybook to teach kids about money. Sammy Rabbit was born!
  • We discuss my grandfather’s and his dad’s Midwestern wisdom: the importance of living beneath your means, developing a savings habit and understanding or simply respecting the power of compound interest.
  • We chat about our shared belief that creating an early association between money and saving is important. Learning by doing is key.
  • Sam considers saving a leading behavior that develops investing and other money-smart skills.
  • I really like Sam’s idea that you can turn a store into a school.
  • We discuss the importance of incentives to build money behaviors.
  • Sam says the habit of saving is powerful without interest. He might call this wisdom “Sammyriffic”.
  • Financial literacy is now plentiful, so there’s no excuse for any of us to get started. Vetting sources becomes paramount and requires critical thinking.
  • We chat about how Shake Shack vs. In-N-Out became a financial literacy lesson.
  • The idea of joining groups interested in certain key monetary concepts can be powerful. This is a time-honored concept–remember The Beardstown Ladies.
  • Sam is a big reader. Here are his top book recommendations:
  • We also discussed Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues.

If you liked this episode, then I think you might like my discussions with Bill Dwight and Tom Henske.

Please subscribe to our show to allow me to have additional conversations with parents and discover new ideas to help us all raise money-smart, money-empowered kids. You can find out more about our movement at as well as download a sample or get a copy of my new book, The Art of Allowance. You might also want to check out The Money Mammals, our program to get your children excited about money smarts when they’re young. Until next time, I wish you and your family well as you journey forth. Thanks for listening.