Financial Literacy

2014 Financial Literacy Awareness Carnival: Money A-has

Financial Literacy Awareness Carnival: Our Great Money A-Ha's

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Financial Literacy Awareness Carnival. These year I am joined by some amazing bloggers who are going to share their Money A-has to help you on your journey to financial literacy. It’s my hope that their stories will inspire you to tackle your debt, talk to your kids about money, set authentic goals and most importantly—believe you deserve and can achieve financial freedom.

The Moment It Clicked for Me

My father started talking to me about money when I turned 13, and it wasn’t until years later that I realized what he did was highly unusual. Money is often a taboo topic in homes, forcing kids to learn by trial and error when they leave home. Unfortunately, many struggle to make good money decisions and create unnecessary debt because they don’t realize the risk debt carries. I feel blessed that my father helped me develop a positive and healthy relationship with money. He taught me that money was a gift that could bring joy into my life and others when used properly. He showed me how to set goals and use those goals to guide my decisions, rather than letting my emotions control me.

My father’s gift of financial literacy led me to become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), and it’s been my honor to help individuals, families and businesses feel more financially confident for the past 23 years. During this time, I began noticing a common thread among clients. Their money hang-ups weren’t acquired as adults, but something they inherited from their parents in most circumstances.

It was then I realized how early kids begin observing their parents, including how they handle their money. How they use it. How they speak about it. How they think about it. Kids began associating money with fear or anger or guilt when they saw their parents argue over money or complain about not having enough or someone having too much. Eventually they grew up to repeat their parents’ money mistakes in front of their own children who then begin to mimic their money habits and beliefs. This cycle needs to stop.

It Begins with You

As a parent, there are so many lessons you need to teach your kids. And sadly, money isn’t on the list for most parents. It should be. Everyone single person handles money. Their ability to make good decisions with their money is critical to their financial well-being. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, if you don’t know how to use your money wisely, you may still struggle to create the life you truly want.

With the lightbulb now clicked on, I was determined to break this cycle. I vowed that I would talk to my future kids about money, just as my father did with me. But I would start earlier, when they were toddlers and free of any bad money habits or beliefs, rather than wait until they were teenagers. Money would never be a taboo topic in our home, and my husband and I would be good financial role models whose words and actions were in alignment.

I kept my promise and today, at ages 8 and 10, my daughters are more financially literate than many adults. They are financially confident kids who will grow into financially confident adults. And it started with me, just as it starts with you. I hope you will give yourself the gift of financial literacy and pass that gift to your children by actively talking to them about money, so they can create the life they want for themselves.

2014 Financial Literacy Awareness Carnival Participants

Thank you to all the participating bloggers for sharing your money a-has. Your stories and blogs are helping change how we look at financial literacy. Together we are making a difference. I read these blogs every day and highly recommend them. Be sure to subscribe to their feeds and follow them on your favorite social media channels. You want them in your community. It’s my hope that our money a-has will inspire some of your own. Grab a coffee or your beverage of choice and happy reading!

Adventures in Frugal: Financial Literacy Taught Me the True Meaning of Freedom
Are Ya Gonna Eat That: My Biggest A-ha Moment
Breadwinning Mama: Baby Smiles and My Financial A-ha Moment
Broke Millennial: I Didn’t Have a Savings Account
Budget and The Beach: Progress, Not Perfection
Budgeting for More: Money, Stuff and The Art of Being Happy
Canadian Budget Binder: The Money Box Inspired My Passion For Finance
Cash Cow Couple: The Importance of Sacrifice
Cents and Sensibility: My Biggest A-ha Moment: Live a Good Life
Color Me Frugal: Compound Interest: Einstein’s Friend (And YOURS!)
DebtBlag: Financial Literacy Gave Me Hope
Debt Roundup: My Biggest A-ha! Moment
Disease Called Debt: My Epic A-ha Moment About Money
Eat Laugh Purr: Shine a Light On Your Money Fears
Enemy of Debt: Communication and Teamwork Are Vital to Success
Eyes on the Dollar: My Financial A-ha Moment
Femme Frugality: Growing Slowly
Financially Blonde: Salary Hostage
Frugal Rules: Where It All Began
Girl Meets Debt: My Debt A-ha Moment
Impersonal Finance: My First Money A-Ha
Living Rich Cheaply: My Journey to Financial Literacy
Luke 1428: How Shopping for Shoes Changed My Financial Life
Modest Money: Realizing the Importance of Side Income
Money Rebound: Why Give the Gift of Financial Literacy?
Monster Piggy Bank: Changing Your Views on Money and Becoming Financially Literate
One Income Life: Becoming Debt-Free
Reach Financial Independence: The Importance of Student Financial Literacy
See Debt Run: Our A-ha Moment
Square Pennies: Is Grit The Most Important Thing for Success
Stacking Benjamins: My Biggest Money “A-Ha”: Discovering the #1 Key to Saving Big Money
The Broke and Beautiful Life: Formative Money Moments
The Frugal Farmer: A-Ha Money Moment
The Random Path: Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner
Thrifty Dad: When I Realized that My Financial Future Was in My Hands
Young Adult Money: When I Realized Ownership and Passive Income are Key to Wealth


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April 16, 2014  •  52 Comments  •  Financial Literacy

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  1. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    Shannon...your passion for this issue of financial literacy is incredible. You are challenging people to wake up and commit to change in their lives, especially when it comes to how they impact their children's view of money. Thanks so much for putting this carnival together and being a positive voice in the personal finance space. I can't wait to read what all these great bloggers are sharing.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      Thank you for your kinds and continued support, Brian. I know you are carrying the financial literacy banner at your own blog, in your home and to the students you teach. They are so lucky to have you! I appreciate your participation and helping me spread the word!
  2. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    Shannon, thank you so much for putting this carnival together again this year. Together, we can all make a difference!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      You're welcome, Laurie. And thank YOU for your participation and being such a champion of financial literacy yourself. We are making a difference in people lives!
  3. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    Thanks for hosting this carnival today as Financial Literacy is so important to me. I know many parents who spend their money like water and the children think money grows on trees. Money manipulation by children is even harder on parents when they can't say no to their kids and they continue to give, give,give without teaching their kids how money is earned, saved and spent.
    Have a great day.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      Thank you for your participation, Mr. CBB! It is such an important topic and one that parents and kids need to learn together. So many parents don't realize they need to talk to their kids about money or how their actions may be interpreted. We are helping create awareness and that feels so good.
  4. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    Shannon, thank you so much for putting this together and I'm glad to be a part of it. You're absolutely right. How we think about money from an early age influences our money decisions and our children's later in life and it's time to stop that cycle. Financial literacy is important to me and it should be to all of us. I look forward to reading all the other articles. Thanks again!!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      You're welcome, Anthony and thank YOU for continued participation and support. It means a lot to me! Yes, we play such an important role in our kids lives, especially how they view and handle money.
  5. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    Thanks for the honor of asking me to participate, Shannon - can't wait to check out the other articles!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      You're welcome, Travis and thank YOU for your participation. I truly appreciate it!
  6. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    Thanks for putting together this Carnival, Shannon! I've had a lot of fun the past 20 minutes or so reading other people's posts. I also had fun putting mine together. My post also made me realize just how much influence have on their kid's finances, whether it's intentional or not.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      You're welcome, DC. And thank YOU for your continued participation and support! We really do have a lot of influence on our kids finances, and I know with your passion around entrepreneurship that your children will be little entrepreneurs.
  7. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    I think your Dad is amazing for what he taught you and how it lead to the career you're in. I love your mission in life with your girls and your blog. I have no doubt it will make a difference in many people's lives!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      My father was pretty amazing! I am honored to pass forward the lessons he taught me. Thank you for your support and helping spread financial literacy through your fantastic blog too!
  8. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    Thanks for your passion for this topic and for putting together the carnival again this year. I am honored to be included.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      Thank YOU for your continued participation and support, Kim! I really appreciate it!
  9. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    Shannon, we both know that your dad gave you one of the greatest gifts of your life because you have not only possessed financial literacy yourself and shared it with your children, but you have a passion for sharing it with the masses. What an amazing testament to paying it forward! Thank you so much for organizing this Financial Literacy Carnival and inviting me to participate!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      Thank you for your kind words, Shannon. They mean a lot of to me. It is my privilege to share my passion for financial literacy and I want everyone to truly see how it benefits their lives. I am thrilled you joined us this year and are out there helping others become financially literate too!
  10. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    Thanks for putting the carnival together, it's such an important and interesting topic. I always wanted to make sure that I taught my children about the proper way to handle finances, though I wasn't exactly sure how. I definitely more confident now that I can raise financially confident children. You provide a great resource on your blog for parents and I'm sure you are a great resource for your clients as a financial planner.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      Fantastic! Knowing that you feel confident about raising money smart kids makes me feel great. It's exactly what I hoped would happen when I started my blog. And thank you for your participation and support; I truly appreciate it!
  11. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    Thanks so much for asking me to be a part of this Shannon, I'm honored to be included. Thank you even more for taking on the cause of Financial Literacy, especially amongst children. As I've said before, I believe teaching children about money is one of the most loving things you can do as a parent. Children are sponges and the more we work with them, both in word and action, the better we can prepare them for life.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      Thank YOU for your continued participation, John! It means a lot to me. I agree wholeheartedly - teaching our kids about money is one of the most loving gifts we can give them. They are sponges as it so important we our mindful of their eyes and ears.
  12. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    Thank you for organizing and for inviting me, Shannon. It's absolutely wonderful the example you're setting :)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      You're welcome, Mario! Thank you for your continued participation and support! I appreciate it. :)
  13. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    Shannon, thank you so much for what you do for all of us readers, bloggers, and participants. I am truly in awe of what you do and what you teach to all of us :) Can't wait to read everyone's posts and thanks again for including mine! XO
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      Thank you for your kind words, Mackenzie. They mean so much to me. And thank YOU for your continued participation and support!
  14. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    These are some great blogs and posts you've put together. Thanks for sharing them with us.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      You're welcome!
  15. Girl Meets Debt
    Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    I called you the Queen Bee of Financial Literacy on my post today because you truly do reign with this particular niche in the personal finance community Shannon! :) Thank you for organizing this carnival and bringing awareness to such an important topic. Your papa started a great legacy with you and you are passing along the tradition beautifully.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      LOL! I love it! And appreciate our kind words and support. My father did pass on a powerful legacy to me and it's been my honor to pass it forward. :)
  16. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    Thanks for hosting this, Shannon and helping us all get our stories out there! I really loved the prompt this year, even though my story is a tad embarrassing.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      You're welcome, Erin! LOL - I don't know if story was that embarrassing, although I'm glad you now have your very own savings account! Thanks again for your continued participation and support; It means a lot to me!
  17. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    I can definitely attest to money management starting from home, especially with the concept that buying things = happiness. While I don't necessarily 'shame and blame' my parents since they had a whole set of struggles in order to help pave a better path for me and that I (thankfully) most likely won't have to deal with, I do get that it's important to break that cycle and really work through past errors and create an even stronger financial path for both myself and my hopefully future kids. Thank you so much for bringing this carnival together, Shannon! It's a great reminder about the importance of financial literacy and it's awesome to see how many posts there are all striving for the same purpose!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      And you shouldn't shame or blame your parents. I have no doubt your parents did their very best. In fact, I see so many parents practically doing back-flips to give their children the tools and experiences to be successful and simply don't realize that money needs to be a part of that equation. It's why it ends up being a vicious cycle - we don't know what we don't know. Hopefully through our collective voices we are making money a topic we can talk about with our partners and kids and learn to appreciate the value of financial literacy. Thank you again for your participation and support, Anna!
  18. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    I'm so happy to see others writing on the topic of financial literacy and thank you for this great list!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      You're welcome, Stacy! Enjoy!
  19. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    Thank you for allowing me to be part of this Shannon. I love your mission on the heavy purse, and I'm excited to join you on the crusade of promoting financial literacy in the next generation!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      You're very welcome, Stefanie. I appreciate you participating, even when you're on vacation! I am glad to have you onboard and helping spread the message of financial literacy. :)
  20. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    I am really happy that you put this on Shannon! You do amazing work trying to teach your children the value of money and to be financially literate. Not many parents do the same, but you are teaching them great lessons for life. I am glad that I got my money issues together before my son was born. It allows me to show him what money really can and can't do.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      Thank you, Grayson! I appreciate your kind words and support. I am so glad you solved your money issues too and know that you will do an amazing job teaching your son to be money smart! Thank you again for your continued participation!
  21. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    Shannon, thank you for asking me to take part in this really important carnival. Financial Literacy is something that I didn't have much awareness of until recently. Your blog always inspires me and I think the way that you handle money matters with your children is just brilliant. You inspire me to teach my little girl the correct beliefs about finances as early as possible in her life.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
      You're welcome, Hayley. I am so glad you could join us. Thank you for your kind words and I know you are going to do a brilliant job teaching your daughter how to think about money. :)
  22. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    Thank you for putting this together! It's been fun reading everyone's story! I've also found a bunch of great new blogs! Bravo to you for teaching your children about money early!
    I think its fascinating how some kids pick up their parent's habits and others do a complete 180 degree turn from what they see. My dad was very loose and free with money and I didn't like how that made me feel, so at 8 or 9 I started saving and I've been very conservative with money ever since.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, April 17th, 2014
      You're welcome, Kate! It is fascinating how kids respond to how their parents handle money. I'm not sure why kids respond differently, but I imagine it's similar to what you experienced … your emotional response to what you see drives whether you mimic or do the opposite.
  23. Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    Thank you so much for including me in this wonderful list of finance bloggers. You're absolutely amazing Shannon.

    And I love your post. It really reminded me that I need to start incorporating my daughter in conversations about money. She's only 6, so she doesn't quite grasp the concept of money. I try to avoid phrases like "we can't afford it" or "it's too expensive." I do try to explain that if she wants this, it costs this and simple concepts like that. Thanks for the reminder. I want to instill the understanding early on.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, April 17th, 2014
      You're welcome, Corinne! And thank YOU for your participation and support. She's at a great age to start the conversations. She won't understand everything, of course, but I am constantly surprised by what kids do grasp and remember. I'm glad you avoid the "we can't afford it" phrase too as I believe there is a better way to explain it too. I'm glad you want to instill good money habits and beliefs in your daughter. :)
  24. Thursday, April 17th, 2014
    There are some really epic posts in that list - thanks so much for putting everything together Shannon. Hopefully it helps to change people's lives for the better.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, April 17th, 2014
      There were so phenomenal posts, Glen. You're welcome and thank YOU for your participation and support.
  25. Monday, April 21st, 2014
    Thanks for including us and for putting together this effort, Shannon. You know we are big fans of yours!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, April 21st, 2014
      You're welcome, Jacob! And thank YOU and Vanessa for your participation and support!
  26. Monday, April 21st, 2014
    I agree that your financial habits start being developed when you are little. I remember creating my first college budget in crayon when I was in 1st or 2nd grade. I also remember being excited to start working my first part-time job so I'd be able to earn my way through my next goals like college. I got the drive for money and the ability to save it from my parents...
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
      Wow - you were definitely ahead of the curve, Crystal. Not too many kids in 1st or 2nd grade have their college budgets created! Earning money can definitely be addictive, I know my girls really feel empowered by the money they earn. It sounds like you had great parents who taught you have to think about and handle your money very well!
  • Meet Shannon

    "As a Certified Financial Planner, it is my passion to help individuals and families build a healthy relationship with money. I look forward to helping you raise financially confident kids.” - Shannon Ryan