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This is Capitalism: Up Close, Inspired, Explained

May 4, 2022

Patricia O’Connell interviews Mac Gardner, CFP®, Founder and Chief Education Officer at FinLit Tech about teaching children financial literacy to help eliminate the wealth gap. Mac shares his vision of financial literacy for elementary school students, and how parents can teach it in the home. He describes new technology parents can use with their children. Mac shares what he learned growing up with a father with an MBA in Finance.


Listen in to learn more about the link between financial literacy and financial wellness.

Key Takeaways:


[:25] April is Financial Literacy Month in the United States. Fewer than half the states require any economics or financial literacy. According to Mac Gardner, we are missing a huge opportunity to help close the wealth gap.

[:45] Patricia O’Connell introduces Mac Gardner, CFP®, Founder and Chief Education Officer at FinLit Tech. Mac joins the podcast to talk about why financial literacy matters, how to increase awareness in children about the power of money, and the relationship between financial knowledge and financial wellness.

[:56] Patricia welcomes Mac to the podcast.
[1:11] Financial literacy plus financial capability the tools equals financial wellness.

[1:50] Mac founded FinLit Tech to build a bridge between financial literacy and financial technology. Financial technology tools allow people to utilize financial education to achieve financial wellness.

[2:23] Florida has just announced a requirement for a half-credit in economics or financial literacy for high school seniors to graduate.

[3:29] There are 23 states that offer or require a class in financial literacy by the senior year in high school. According to a Cambridge study, a child’s connectivity with money starts as early as age seven. That leaves ten years without teaching financial literacy.

[4:24] If a child has no access to financial literacy technology, most of their financial education comes from what they observe among their family members and peers.

[4:42] If parents never learned financial literacy, how do they teach their children to use money? This is why Mac wrote the book, The Four Money Bears. Mac teaches about three “Rs” of money: First, you realize what money is; second, you recognize the function of money in your life; and third, you rationalize how to use this tool in your life.

[5:34] If your only awareness of the function of money is about spending and saving, you’re limited in what you believe it can do for you. The idea behind The Four Money Bears is to open up the minds of young people that you have four options: you can spend it, save it, invest it, or give it away.

[6:16] Children often identify with one type of Money Bear, more spending, saving, or giving than investing. Mac tells about an Investing Bear kid. If we start kids thinking about investing and growing their money long-term, we can see good things happen.

[8:18] Will children resonate more with their parents’ behaviors with money or with what they read in The Four Money Bears? Mac gives his thoughts on the new Berryville app. It uses the TAT method to teach, analyze, and track.
[9:03] Financial wellness is developed over time by things you do regularly. Most young people absorb how their parents talk about money. They see how they shop at the grocery store. Are they looking for the better price?

[10:04] Our society shies away from talking about finances. You need to be intentional about having the conversation. We live in one of the strongest economies. We need to teach our children how to use the tools that got us here.

[10:38] Mac addresses parents who have different money personas. One may be a Spender Bear but the other is a Saver Bear. The important principle of The Four Money Bears is making young people aware they have options. When you invest, your money works for you. Giving harnesses the power of altruism.

[12:04] The four rules of The Four Money Bears are Spend Cautiously, Save Diligently, Invest Wisely, and Give Generously. Mac explains. The big issue in our country is overspending!

[13:14] Do parents have to agree in terms of teaching their children about money? Who teaches children about money? Why isn’t financial literacy talked about in society?

[14:58] How do you teach young people about money in a digital world where they may not even hold physical money? Most elementary school children still get money, because they don’t have credit. Mac’s older children use a Greenlight account for their allowance, debit card spending, and more.

[16:00] It’s so important to start the educational process early. If you have a debit card instead of cash, you’d better know how to use it! With the technology, young people can even buy fractional shares of stocks.

[17:39] Mac talks about FinLit Tech’s Berryville app in development. It will provide an on-ramp to a child’s ongoing financial education journey into the four options they have with money. What if we could get children to start investing at age seven?

[19:37] Mac shares what he learned about money at home. Mac grew up in Antigua. His grandmother didn’t have a lot but she was able to make the dollar stretch. His dad had an MBA in Finance and taught him young about assets, liabilities, and balance sheets.
[20:51] Where’s the Earning Bear? Mac hears that question a lot. The Berryville app teaches both sides of the personal finance fence, including how to earn money and run a business. Look at to learn more about the mission to teach kids money. You can download the demo of the app from Apple or Android.

[22:03] Patricia thanks Mac for joining This is Capitalism, the podcast, during Financial Literacy Month.


Mentioned in This Episode:

National Financial Literacy Month

FinLit Tech

Mac Gardner

The Four Money Bears