Young Money Finances
Dondrea Brown and Young Money Finances are determined to prepare the next generation for a life of healthy financial decision-making. Tune into this week’s episode of Money, I’m Home as Lynne chats with Dondrea about the work Young Money Finances is doing in our community and how Consumers will be working to support their mission.
0:00:07.1 Lynne Jarman-Johnson (LJJ): Money, I’m home. Welcome in. I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson with Consumers Credit Union. Hey, from finance to fitness, we have it all. And today, we have a very special guest that’s going to help us learn a little bit about, get this, guys, Young Money Finances. But when I met Dondrea Brown, who is the founder and owner of Young Money Finances, let me tell you that everything that you’re teaching people, Dondrea, is really for all ages, it’s just such a great, great business that you’ve started.
0:00:37.7 Dondrea Brown (DB): Yeah, thank you. I’m happy to be here first and foremost, and like you said, Lynne, when I started thinking about financial education and how to impact our communities, no matter if I was teaching kids or adults, they all said, everyone should want to learn and know about financial education, so that’s what we’ve been on the path to do.
0:00:56.8 LJJ: Now, what I have seen from your website and also with the honor of meeting you and seeing you in action, this really is focusing on helping, especially a certain age group right now, that is focusing on look at life is coming at you fast, but there’s ways that not only can you learn about saving, but the thing that I love about what you’re doing, Dondrea, is the investing too.
0:01:19.7 DB: Yeah. So, our primary target group are kids ages 10 to 17, of course, we serve kids as well as adults around those ages. But the reason why we picked that age group was because we had a consistent theme of students around those ages also yearning to learn about those finances or being in spaces where they’re either starting to do chores, they’re starting to earn a little money, or they’re transitioning from a job to a longer term job, so that’s what we’ve really been on the route to do, is really focus on how do we start to take some of the theory behind money and make it practical.
0:01:56.7 LJJ: Well, and the really neat part is the practicality for the age group, because I’ve seen you in action and what you do is really talk to kids in exactly where they are. You know what I mean? It’s so interesting because in education, you always hear that, well, there’s not really any financial education classes that are out there that aren’t the same old same old of, “Okay, here’s we’re going to teach you how to budget,” and all of a sudden the room goes just as quiet as it can be, but not with you.
0:02:30.1 DB: Yeah. No, not at all. One of the things that we set out to do was make finances fun. When we think about budgeting, it could be boring, it could feel like a task that you just don’t feel like doing, but also even a budget feels like you’re taking away money or taking away your ability to spend. We wanted to get rid of that notion and first and foremost make money fun and that brings about energy, laughter, some transparency, understanding we’re all having shared experiences about managing money, and we can all learn from each other, whether it’s kids teaching me like, what are some of the cool things to say regarding money these days, or me helping them understand the long-term advantages of some of the behavior that they can shift now that can really help them accomplish some of their goals in the future.
0:03:20.4 DB: So again, we want to make sure that we have fun. That’s why we have kits, we have flash cards, even our colors, I always call our program “For Kids By Kids.” My kids helped me start our program, because one thing they said was like, “Dad, we don’t want this to be boring.”
0:03:36.3 LJJ: Okay, let’s dig into that because I think that’s what is the real foundation of all of this is the passion that you brought to this, because you’re raising kids today and you’re saying, “Look, we need the foundation for them.” And how did this all begin? I know that I met you actually through United Way, which is… This is the whole component of community partnerships, meeting new people, finding out what people are doing out there. When you first started, was it in your kitchen?
0:04:06.5 DB: So yeah, it was actually in, not only my kitchen, but in my daughter’s mind, my 10-year-old daughter… What I did was I started to talk to other people about money and managing money, and my daughter, she’s high energy, high motor, she loves to take control of the room, and I was like, “Listen, I’m going to give you five minutes to talk to the audience or the students and participants about anything you want to, and then after that, I need my time.” That’s usually our agreement. She was like, “Okay, Daddy, no problem.” So, I got the okay from the students and participants, and then she started talking about managing money, so for me, it blew my mind because…
0:04:46.8 LJJ: 10 years old.
0:04:48.9 DB: Yeah, 10 years old, yeah. She was like, “This is how you save, and this is how you budget.” And I’m like, “Where is this coming from?” So, after the session, I was like, “So where did you get that from?” And she was like, “You.” And I was not directly teaching her money management, she was just observing and listening to when I would present to people, when I would be working at home, so she was picking those things up, so that became, for me, confirmation to teach it to kids because they’re already in those spaces where they could just pick it up. And like anything, if you teach something to a child early, it becomes a habit.
0:05:22.1 DB: So I started talking to all my kids, my oldest daughter is 15, and I was like, “I want to start an organization. What do y’all think?” And that’s when they said, “It can’t be boring,” so I was like, “What color should I use?” I picked their brains on everything, the designs, the colors, they helped me create the money manager kits, everything, because I wanted to make sure that I was age-appropriate, but more importantly, it was communal-based, so that’s one thing I do appreciate about our organization. We are open to different ideas, we’re open to different insights, we’re open to different programming, because we want to be relevant in that way.
0:05:53.4 LJJ: As you are listening, I just want to say, go to the website because there are money manager kits and investor kits that are just so cool that you can get for your kids if you’d like to, but the other component on it, Dondrea, is you’re looking for partners, partners in the community, and perhaps it’s those that want to volunteer, but also those that need the financial education in their maybe organization or school.
0:06:18.0 DB: Our goal is partnering for impact, we know that in order to enter the spaces where financial literacy typically isn’t provided, we have to partner with those organizations that are asking those same questions, “Why isn’t financial education here?” Or if you know an organization where your child or someone you know is going there and you know financial education isn’t provided, definitely go to our website www.ymfgr.org, and/or we’ll have contact information on the website, or you can email me at D-B-R-O-W-N @ymfgr.org, and just let us know where some of those places are, but also again, for organizations, we want to know, we’re not just going to go in and say, “This is what your students need to learn.”
0:07:04.9 DB: We want to partner with your organization to see what some of your needs are, what are some of your outcomes regarding what do you think they should learn, and then we want to talk to some of your students or participants to see what they want to learn. We see it as a, not a microwave method, but a crock pot method, where we’re sitting together co-collaborating and trying to build some outcomes.
0:07:22.3 LJJ: Oh, and I like that, that simmers up into a great meal.
0:07:27.4 LJJ: Number one, thank you, Consumers can’t thank you enough. We’ve had some wonderful conversations and are really looking forward to helping you spread the word about Young Money Finances. We are very excited to partner with you to do that, and cannot thank you enough for your time today.
0:07:41.6 DB: Yes, and I just want to say, as we know it is Financial Literacy Month, this April, we have a financial literacy calendar that you can find on our website where we each day give you a small challenge that we believe that you can accomplish, but all those challenges add up to some great financial behavior. So, it’s not too late to go check that out on our website, but yeah, again, if you ever are interested in our organization, just go check us out.
0:08:09.1 LJJ: That is awesome. We’ll share that on our social media too, Dondrea. Because, you know what? Even if it’s not April, every day it’s important to learn a new budgeting step or a new financial savings step, so thank you.
0:08:20.8 DB: That’s true. Thank you.
0:08:21.9 LJJ: Listen, thank you for joining us today. If you have any ideas that you’d like to share of people just like Dondrea, he’s so talented, let us know and we’ll absolutely want to chat with them. Thank you so much, Jake Esselink for your production skills. We hope everybody has a safe financially fun week.
0:08:38.1 DB: Thank you.