"Christian & Daddy Go Shopping" by Stanley Steppes is the first book in a series entitled "Money Smart Kids," which is designed to teach children about topics such as earning, spending, saving and giving. The book provides age-appropriate lessons for understanding money and designing spending plans. It's a much-needed tool for parents seeking ways to groom an entrepreneur.
Carlee McCullough: Tell us about yourself.
Stanley Steppes: I am a wealth advisor and a native of Kalamazoo, Mich., where I still reside with my beautiful wife, Abra, and our two boys, Christian (the featured character in the book) and Carter. I have spent the past 12 years of my life centered on inspiring, motivating, empowering, and educating individuals and families in entrepreneurship, business, and financial planning.
CM: How and when did you begin your career as a wealth advisor and financial educator?
SS: During my junior year at Kalamazoo Central High School, a financial advisor visited my classroom to share details about his work and seek out a student employee. My teacher recommended me and I was immediately hired. After a few years, the partners asked if I was interested in pursuing licensure as a registered representative. My reluctance dissipated once I considered the impact that I could have in the financial services industry, specifically the people that I could serve in the black community. At that time, I was unaware of any black investment professionals in Southwest Michigan. Our client list of over 300 families consisted of one black person. So, I felt compelled to embark on adding a new face to financial planning in my community.
CM: Tell us about "Christian & Daddy Go Shopping."
SS: "Christian & Daddy Go Shopping" is the first book in the series. In this book, Christian, a wide-eyed, inquisitive child learns valuable lessons from his "money smart daddy" during a trip to the store to buy a birthday gift for Mommy. The book provides age-appropriate lessons for understanding money, designing spending plans and making consumer decisions using real-life examples kids can relate to.
CM: What has been your greatest challenge when it comes to educating children about the responsibility of spending money?
SS: In most of the classrooms I have been in, the discussion of wants and needs, budgeting, saving and giving is the first often discussed. However, there is little to no emphasis on educating our youth on financial literacy as it relates to their lives, currently and in the future. High school economics classes are no longer mandatory in many states. Only 13 states require a personal finance class (Council for Economic Education, 2011) and that's just not enough.
If we can't prepare our youth to handle their allowance (and) paychecks when they are young, we are not equipping them for the real world. Ask any adult how they learned about managing finances. The answer more often than not is they taught themselves how to manage everything from bank accounts to student loans and credit cards, with some bumps and bruises along the way
Financial literacy has to begin early as a conversation at home, reinforced at every grade level and practiced through mature financial decisions that last a lifetime. How much better would we be if we had a solid grasp of personal finance at an early age? What we have learned about what not to do should be our motivation to getting the next generation prepared.
CM: How can parents or organizations purchase it?
SS: Parents and organizations can purchase the book in several ways. The book is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and eBook or they can go to www.moneysmartkids.co, where they will find the book and other merchandise available for adults and children.
CM: Any closing remarks?
SS: Has any long-standing social program consistently produced entrepreneurial and money smart African-American kids? Not that I am aware. The need today is crucial and this book actually begins to change that for the positive.
(For additional information about Money Smart Kids: Christian & Daddy Go Shopping, please visit www.moneysmartkids.co.)