You must introduce your kids to finance books at an early age. But it is quite a struggle to find the right book that won’t leave you and your kids baffled. Today, paving the gateway to simplifying investing for your child is Maya Corbic, the author of From Piggy Banks to Stock: The Ultimate Guide for a Young Investor. Maya brings her insights into how she financially educates children and the mistakes most people make when starting to invest. She also shares some tips for people to start doing today to make their New Year’s resolution come to fruition. See how Maya simplifies financial education that a ten-year-old could understand, and learn how to lead your kids toward financial independence. Tune in to this episode today!
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From Piggy Banks To Stocks: Financial Education For Children With Maya Corbic
We have got a special guest. You guys read on one of the previous episodes where we went to a New Orleans and hung out at FinCon. I had a great time. This guest is one of those FinCon experts that I had a chance to meet and do a little research on. I know you are going to love what she shares in this episode. A huge part of our audience is young ones. I don’t have any kids that I know, but there are many of you out there who have children who are looking to educate and teach them about financial concepts.
Our expert has a huge passion for helping people teach kids about financial education comments. She is the author of a new book that’s coming out. We are honored to have you from Canada, Miss Maya Corbic join us here. She has an interesting beginning. You will understand why she has such a passion for helping people with their finances. Maya, how are you doing?
I’m doing well. Thank you so much for having me on your show.
I’m glad to have you here. We had such a great conversation at FinCon and a great event. It’s great to be around like-minded individuals who have a passion for helping people succeed.
I get excited and inspired every time I go to FinCons and meet like-minded people like myself. I came out of there with many great ideas. It’s lots of new friends. I met you for the first time. I’m glad we connected. Thank you for having me on your show.
You are a CPA and a first-generation immigrant. You have got a wealth of experience in overcoming financial challenges. Do you want to share a little bit with that audience and help people understand why you have such a passion?
I am a first-generation immigrant from war-torn Bosnia. I immigrated when I was fifteen with my parents and my brother. We lost everything in the war. We immigrated with two suitcases and $50. We lived in government shelters and government housing. When I was a teenager, I had two part-time jobs to support and buy myself school supplies and bus tickets.
I was familiar with hustling and trying to make ends meet. That prompted me to push further and get a good education. I ended up getting my CPA designation. When I worked as a CPA, I met some clients who were making six-figure incomes, and they were struggling with money. Coming from such a poor background and making ends meet with little money, I couldn’t understand how these people could not do so and how they were stressed about money.
I was 32 years old at that time. My husband and I ended up paying off our mortgage and our $60,000 of debt, which was mostly school loans and car loans. My kids were about 6 and 4 years old at that time. I started thinking about these clients of mine and my kids. I thought, “How can these people end up being irresponsible with their money?” I realized that the issue stems from childhood and nobody ever taught them about money. They didn’t learn it at school, and their parents.
I wanted to find out, “What are my kids going to learn in school?” I started looking at the curriculum. I realized that they weren’t going to learn much. That’s how I started teaching them. This was several years ago. After that, their parents started reaching out to me. I started teaching in schools, and COVID happened. I couldn’t go to school anymore. I started having more of this online social media presence, which has helped me reach people from all over the globe and help them teach kids about money. I have met people like Scott and other influencers who are also teaching financial literacy, not to kids, but to adults. It’s been a great journey so far.
What did your kids think about when you were writing it for them and going back to them? You took time to educate them on a concept before the book was written, but what was the feedback from your kids?
The book was an interesting process because I started writing the book only after I launched my Wealthy Kids Investment Club. It is a membership program that teaches families, not just kids, how to invest or the basics of investing. My kids were going through that program. I realized that I needed something to consolidate all this because the program was mostly videos, quizzes, and worksheets, but I wanted something that would have all the information in there. That was the book. I had my children go through the book as I was writing it, but I also had other families going through the book. These were my tester families. Most of them were teacher parents and some of them were homeschool parents.
I got some interesting feedback, not just from my kids but also from these families. One of the feedback was that some of the kids started going through the book. They freaked out about what the inflation rate does to our money and how it decreases the purchasing power they were eager to start investing. Another feedback that I got was from the parents themselves. They thanked me for writing this book because they said that they finally understood investing and they were not intimidated by the world of investing. Before that, they were. The book is written in such a way it is for kids, but it’s like a dummy series for investing. It can be read by anybody. It’s written in a language that a ten-year-old can understand.
I’m glad you brought that up because as an ex-banker and financial advisor and now being out of that aspect of it, but having a history, I look back and see how the finance industry likes to keep things on the down low. It’s confusing. They could talk in layman’s terms, but I will give you a great example. I’m sitting as a banker, and I have got a client coming in who’s maybe got a fifth-grade education, but she came into some money.
She wants to invest. The financial advisor comes over and starts spouting off these. She looks lost. She’s like, “What does this all mean?” I’m like, “Never mind.” I kicked the advisor out of the office. I was like, “Get out here. Don’t bring that into my clients.” That is unfortunate. If you are not around it and you are not taught a lot of these concepts as kids from your parents, we end up taking in the same and making the same mistakes that our parents because we don’t know what we don’t know. It’s important. That’s why I love so much about it. A ten-year-old can understand it, but these concepts are not difficult if you understand them and take the time to learn them.
Peter Lynch is one of the most famous investors. He said, “As long as you have completed grade four Math, you should be capable of understanding how investing works.” You mentioned math and some of these investment jargon. People shut down right away. They are like, “I’m not even going to go there. I’m not even going to try understanding this.” It’s simple stuff. My goal with this book was to show people how simple it is that anyone can understand this. This is 101 investing. You can get it. You can change your generational wealth trajectory by educating yourself a little bit about investing by investing on behalf of yourself and your kids.
You probably have many to count on your toes and fingers, but what have been some of the biggest a-ha moments or surprises that you got from having the investment club and the book? Anything stands out from people or teachers besides the fact, “I can understand it because I can read it.” Is there anything else that popped up or any success stories that people are getting started or getting involved with kids?
I don’t even know why this pops up, but there are people out there who are completely not interested in money at all. We all need money to survive. This particular story pops up because these parents are well-educated and smart. They are financially doing okay, but they had a child. He was not interested in money at all. He’s a teenager. They didn’t know how to talk to him about money. Not to mention that he’s not interested in investing. He was not interested in learning about money at all. It was a topic that he didn’t want to talk about.
We tried to figure out, “How can we get this kid engaged?” I said, “What is he interested in? What does he like?” He was part of a band. He loved playing in the band. He loved singing and creating songs. I was like, “This is great. We know what he’s interested in. Is there something else that he wants badly or that he’s interested in?” They were like, “He wanted an electric guitar.” I was like, “Bingo. There we go. This is we are going to tie in the money lessons to something that he wants.”
What we started doing is the parents would give him a bit of an allowance. He was responsible for managing that allowance, but part of it was to save towards this electric guitar. We eventually ended up saving some of that money into term deposits because he wanted to get it in the short term. We were tying in lessons from saving money, investing it, and shopping for the best quality and the least expensive guitar possible. Those were some of the lessons that we created around this.
It is a different time now for young kids than it was when we were young. My parents taught me, “We will give you a little bit of allowance. We are not going to buy you a gaming system. We are not going to buy all of this stuff. If you want something, you have to work for it. You have to save it and learn those concepts in the beginning.” That was one of the most valuable things that I was taught. It’s good if you can identify with kids something that they are passionate about, it makes things a whole lot easier versus getting them book learning without any passion or enjoyment behind it.
These real-life experiences are important when it comes to kids. You don’t need to make up any special learning experiences or worksheets. What is happening in our lives now? Am I negotiating a cell phone bill? My kids should be within earshot. They should be listening to how I’m negotiating this cell phone bill or the cell phone plan. Am I getting an insurance for my car? Let’s talk to my kid. Why do I need an insurance? How can I ensure that I’m getting not too much but enough insurance? Am I reviewing my premiums? How am I doing that? What does this all mean? It’s taking whatever’s happening in our lives and discussing it with our kids.
What do you say are the biggest mistakes that you see people making besides not learning about stuff, but some common things that are missed that people make mistakes when they are getting started learning about investing?
There’s one big problem, which is that everybody wants to get rich quickly. We all do, but I don’t think it’s doable. It can happen once in a blue moon, but the majority of the people who invest in these get-rich-quick schemes end up losing their money. That’s why people are scared of investing. They think of it as gambling, but investing is not gambling. Those are two different things. There are three different types of investing. You have day traders, you have short-term investors, and you have long-term investors.
The majority of us, especially younger people, are long-term investors. We are investing for the long-term because we want to invest for our retirement. If you are investing on behalf of your kids, you are investing when they are younger for their university or college education or maybe to get their first home. You are investing for a period that’s longer than ten years.
That type of investing looks different from this day trading. Day traders don’t keep stocks for longer than 24 hours. They are there to make a quick profit and get out. They also can lose a lot of money. I had a friend in university who was a day trader. I remember, in one day, he made $30,000, but he also, one time, ended up losing $50,000. Some of it was his parents’ money. That’s why people are so afraid of investing because they think of it as gambling.
They don’t understand the fact of that long-term average. One of the most insightful concepts I was taught earlier on as a young adult was the Rule of 72. It’s learning daily compounding and saving and splitting up your investments. You are putting something away in the long-term bank versus being impatient to gobble up. There are things you can go without for better things in the long run.
I know delayed gratification is an issue for most of us. I find it hard for myself. It’s hard for kids. I get comments on my Instagram. I will do this post. Most people are loving it. They are like, “This is great. It inspires me to invest for my kids.” Some people are like, “You want me to start investing $10 a week now for my kid for 18 years? I leave that money in the bank account and my kid can be a millionaire at 65. Who’s going to wait until 65?” I’m like, “What’s the alternative? Not investing there, they won’t be a millionaire.”
There are things that we can do, but people are not interested in those things because the payout is far in the future. They are not willing to wait for it. I will usually tell people, “If you are not willing to wait for it, it’s also good to have some short-term plans, not long-term plans.” Something where you can achieve these goals in the next month, where you feel this sense of accomplishment. It gives you that drive that you can continue saving for these long-term goals because you have accomplished these short-term goals.
What’s important is you have to mix it up. Everybody gets it. We have to save and that’s great. I always say, “Jesus saves, but everybody else has to invest.” It’s a little bit over time that grows if you understand that whole bell curve that goes along with it. You have to see things like $10 or $20 a week may not seem a lot, but it does add up over time.
If you can get your kids started at an early age, understanding that changes their whole outlook on what they are doing through college and what they are growing as young adults. Their spending habits are better. Debt habits are even better for them in the long run when they do decide to take on debt, whether through college loans, car loans, or mortgage payments.
Many people are discouraged. We see that now, especially in the real estate side of things. We can talk a little bit more about the adult side of things like saving for a house or I will never be able to afford a house. I was in an Uber and the guy was from San Diego. He goes, “I moved here from San Diego. San Diego is the most expensive. The only way you can own a house out there is if your parents leave you one.” This is a guy who’s driving a brand-new Tesla. I’m like, “How did you pay for that?” He’s like, “I got finance.” I’m like, “Have you thought about saving because there are great programs or some downpayment?”
Interest rates might seem a little higher now. I laugh as a previous mortgage broker. Rates now were back in 2004 and 2005. It’s not that big a difference. Houses are more expensive, but your income should grow if you keep doing the right thing. As we come into the beginning of the year, people always have New Year’s resolutions. They are like, “I want to save more and start saving for retirement and kid’s education.” What are 1, 2, or 3 things that people could start doing to make their New Year’s resolutions come to fruition versus being something they write down or think about?
It’s figuring out how much can they put aside. I remember the days when I had nothing, but looking back, I could have put away $10 or $20 per week even back then. That money may not seem like it’s a lot, but over a long period, with compound interest, it can amount to significant amounts of money. That’s one thing.
I know people are busy, but it’s figuring out how to make more money. We can only cut down our expenses. We have to live. The second thing is how can I make more money? Is it going back to, not necessarily to school, but acquiring new skills? Is there a side hustle they can do? There are many different side hustles. If I have a home, can I rent out my basement or garage?”
There are many ways to make income, and the internet is full of suggestions. There are lots of blogs about it. Finding different sources of income is helpful. You want to save and invest half and spend the other half to reward yourself. That’s fine. Those would be the two main things I would find helpful if I was starting now.
We are friends with the folks who are the flea market flippers that they call themselves. They were at FinCon. 3 or 4 of their kids are doing that side hustle aspect of anywhere from flipping baseball cards online that they find. They are buying plants at Walmart and the grocery stores. They are flipping it online through eBay and making money or going through all these things. It’s such a flip economy in many different ways.
You said something like, “Renting out your garage.” That’s an up-and-coming side hustle. That’s the new Airbnb of doing that. If you are in inexpensive areas of the country, rent out a room or couch surfing. Whatever you are comfortable with doing can be big, but it can add some significant income on a regular basis if you do it.
My mom lives in downtown Toronto, and it’s expensive. She has a condo there. She doesn’t have a car, but she rents out her parking spot, which is in the prime area. She also rents out her storage space. She’s alone in her condo. She has enough room for herself. That’s additional income for her.
There are starting savings accounts here in the United States. We have educational savings accounts that people can put away $2,000 a year towards, or you have HSAs, Health Savings Accounts here in the United States that can turn into self-directed IRA accounts or self-directed HSA where you can put money aside for and have used that money to invest in small amounts in a lot of cases.
A lot of people get bogged down that they need to have a lot of money to invest in real estate, but there are a lot of people who are getting started with small amounts. They don’t know the side hustles they can do with minimal to no savings in a lot of cases. When you look at investing in stocks on Wall Street, what are some of your favorite investment strategies for young kids? If people get started there, what should they look at?
I only learned about this in my 30s. I wish I learned about it earlier. I love investing in index funds and ETFs. Those are my favorite investment vehicles because you are not only investing in one stock. You are investing in a whole array of stocks. Your portfolio is diversified, especially if you buy different ETFs or index funds. Their fees are low. If you are doing it on your own, you can save a lot of money. I’m nothing against investment advisors. They are great. There are some great ones out there and some not-so-great. You have to be careful who you hire. ETFs and index funds are my favorite.
They have low fees. The accessibility to folks with different types of amounts is a great resource for it.
I will take ETFs as an example. With one share of ETF, you are investing in several different stocks. I’m going to use VOO ETF as an example that follows the S&P 500. It’s the 500 largest US companies. When you buy one share of VOO, you are investing automatically in the 500 largest US companies, such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and so on. Imagine trying to buy each of these stocks on its own. It’s hard. This makes it so much easier.
For those who don’t know, ETF stands for Exchange Traded Fund. You are buying what they call a basket of investments in one in one purchase. This is a controversial subject for a lot of folks out there. If somebody is looking to get started investing, and I always would joke about this, folks that are like, “I’m going to get started. I need to save for my retirement. I need to save for my kids’ education first.” What’s your opinion on what they should focus on?
I am of the opinion that they need to take care of themselves first. It’s like an airplane. You need to put on your oxygen mask first before you can help others. I do believe that they need to take care of their retirement. You don’t want to be a burden for your child later on. Your kids will be fine. If they have to take student loans, they have to take student loans. They are going to be the ones paying them off. They might even be more responsible in terms of paying them off and studying hard because they will realize, “I have these student loans. I better sit down, study, and make sure I do well to get my diploma.”
I speak a little bit from experience because I remember when I was in university, in my first year, I met two ladies. They were good friends at the time. Both of their parents ended up paying for their school. One of them, her parents were divorced. She said that her dad was responsible for her university education and buying books.
In the first year of university, we could take one elective course. My elective was Astronomy because I heard that it was easy and it was not easy. It was interesting because our professor told us, “You don’t need a book as long as you come to class and you take notes. However, if you want the book, there are three different books that you can choose from. Pick one, whichever one you want to buy.”
My friend ended up buying all three books. Why? It’s because she said her dad was paying for them. I didn’t buy any of them because I was paying for stuff. I was paying for my university education. I had to take student loans. Your kids are going to be fine. They will figure it out. We need to take care of ourselves first.
I was a better student and showed up to class when it was my money or my debt on the line versus somebody else writing a blank check in a lot of cases. I have got friends, and it’s the same thing. Their parents paid for the university. They flunked out of school versus the kid who had to go to school, who had to work side jobs and sign up for grants. They are serious and well-rounded, but in a lot of cases, they are a much better student and scored a whole lot better grades. In a lot of cases, they do better. Let’s talk a little about the empowerment or enabling in some cases that a lot of parents do with kids. What’s your thought about getting kids to do jobs and chores and making sure they are earning their own money at an earlier age versus being given everything?
We are talking about allowance and it’s interesting. Parents are divided on this issue of allowance and whether or not kids should be paid for chores. Over the past several years, as I have been teaching parents how to help kids with money, I have come to realize that there are four different allowance methods that parents can choose from. When parents think of allowance, I always tell them to think of it as a teaching tool that teaches kids how to manage money. It’s not a gift. Usually, we think that if somebody gives us money, it’s a gift. Allowance is a teaching tool.
What allowance does is that it helps our kids make mistakes when dollar values are low and stakes are not high. In terms of the four allowance methods that are out there, the first one is giving allowance for chores. I want to stress this before I go into different allowance methods. There is no right or wrong allowance way to do this with your child. It depends on your family values. You need to pick what works best for you.
Parents who support the chores allowance method believe that they want to teach their kids that money doesn’t grow on trees. You have to work hard for your money. If you don’t do the work, you don’t get paid. Parents who believe in allowance that is not tied to chores believe that these kids should still do the chores out of duty as family members because nobody will pay them to make their bed or set their table for dinner when they are adults. Still, they give allowance regularly every week or bi-weekly to make sure that the child learns how to manage it. If the child doesn’t do the chores, they take away other things like play dates or screen time.
There’s a third allowance method, which is the combination of the first two. What happens, in this case, is these parents give some money to their kids regularly because they want their kids to learn how to manage money. Still, the kids also have opportunities to earn money doing chores or things that the parents would pay somebody else to do. It would be like things like washing the car or shredding the paper.
The last allowance method is not giving allowance at all. Some people do not believe in that. For these parents, I encourage them to at least provide kids with some opportunities to manage money, like having the child involved with their birthday budget or back-to-school shopping. That way, they are responsible for how much money is being spent. Can we find better deals?
Kids sometimes realize, “I need shoes or jeans. I’m going to make sure I’m going to go with a brand that I can afford. I don’t need a pair of Air Jordans every six months. It will cost me a couple of hundred bucks. I will go with not necessarily the worst thing, but the off-brand. It works as well in a lot of cases.” There are four different ways when it comes to that. I knew a couple of them, but there are some crossovers between several of them.
I was lucky enough that my parents gave me a little bit of money for lunch. They were like, “You need the opportunity to work on some stuff. Here’s an opportunity for you to go make some money on the side, whether it’s pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, or going over to the little old lady’s house and helping her clean stuff up.” It’s a different ball game for a lot of folks these days. Are there any surprises from adults who have gone through the book or the classes with any success stories? People are like, “We started doing this. We paid this down.”
A lot of people have started investing for the first time. They don’t feel intimidated by it anymore. The hardest thing was doing the work. A lot of them were excited. They learn it, and they are like, “I’m ready.” In my membership club, I do have one lesson. It talks about how to pick a brokerage. There are many brokers out there. People usually tell me, “Can you tell me what to invest in and who to invest in?” I’m like, “I can’t do that. First of all, I’m not licensed. Even if I was, everybody is different.” They are steps. I lead them through these steps to figure out what is their risk assessment and goals.
It’s making that first step and opening up that brokerage account. A lot of them, it’s that analysis paralysis. It’s like, “I don’t know who to open up an account with.” I tell people, “Stop. Take $10 or $50. Don’t take large amounts of money first. Invest that. Open up a brokerage account with whoever. It could be Fidelity and Vanguard. Invest that much money. Next week or next month, invest the same amount of money.” You are going to start to feel more comfortable. You could have two brokerage accounts. You can see which one you like. You are not investing crazy amounts of money, but that action, doing the thing and investing is what helps people move further ahead.
Pulling the trigger or taking those baby steps takes away a lot of the fear or anxiety that surrounds it. A lot of us people have a fear, but like, “That wasn’t difficult. I can do this.” Repeating those small steps leads to big advances down the road. You have got this amazing club that you are talking about. You are big on Instagram. You have a huge following with 128,000 followers. If you guys want to follow that, I would recommend it. It’s @Teach.Kids.Money. Your vision is to empower every child to become financially independent. After the book, what’s the next step? What’s the next phase for you?
I would love to write a couple more books. I’m not done yet. The next book on investing is almost like part two. The next book would go more into explaining how ETFs and index funds work, but I want to explain it in a language that a ten-year-old can understand. I have a free cheat sheet as to what index funds and ETFs are. The link for that is in my Instagram bio. It’s free. Anybody can get it. That explains it. I do want to have another book that goes more in-depth because I feel that this is something that everybody should be doing and everybody can do. It’s not difficult to learn.
The third book that I’d like to write would be the one for parents. I’m giving them different tools and options because I believe that there’s no one-fits-all approach when it comes to teaching kids about money management. My approach and my workshops are always that I give parents different tools and techniques that they can choose from to teach kids about money that aligns with their family values and beliefs.
It’s like what I have done with the allowance. There are four methods. Pick one that works for you. Even if you pick that one and it doesn’t work, pick another one. Keep picking different ways to teach them budgeting and saving until you figure out what works for you. You make your teaching kids about the money model.
When we see here in the United States a big push for more financial education at the high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools taking place, I’m friends with Sharon Lechter, who’s the co-author of Rich Dad Poor Dad. She was able to get a big thing in Arizona and other parts of the country. I would imagine you have some opportunity to share your book and what you have taught with some of those. Are you doing anything along those lines in different states or areas across the country?
The book is new. I’m planning to do that. I’m not there yet. I offer bulk discounts. I’m happy to provide some free copies for impoverished communities. That’s on the panel going forward.
As we get into the holidays, you need a stock-themed stuffer for your kids or a gift to give to your family. A gift of giving or saving is important to do. You will want to take advantage and check out the book. It’s From Piggy Banks to Stocks: The Ultimate Guy to a Young Investor. You can get it on Amazon. I have pulled it up on Walmart here.
It’s a great book for you to use. Easy to read, easy to understand, and most importantly, easy to implement. That’s what separates those doers from the readers. Read and get educated, but take action and make your new year a whole different success story when it comes to saving and investing. Maya, what’s the best way for our readers and followers to connect with you? Is it on Instagram? Is there another way?
It’s Instagram. It’s @Teach.Kids.Money. I do have a blue check mark next to my name. There are a lot of scammers out there. Please be careful that you follow the right account. Otherwise, they are going to come after you and try to sell you crypto and all these other things that can help you get rich quickly.
Thank you so much. It’s been such a pleasure having you here. I look forward to continued talking and continuing the conversation at a later date for you. Congratulations on the book launch. It’s exciting. I know that you were excited about it when we were speaking about it at FinCon. I’m looking forward to your continued success for you.
Thank you so much for having me on. It’s been a true pleasure and I had a lot of fun.
Guys and gals, go out, take some action, pick up her book now. You won’t be disappointed. It’s a great way to start those good money conversations. Get your kids off on the right foot. Maybe you are an adult, or you need some adults that need that book or some teenager. Get started. That’s the one thing that we need to realize. It does not need to be complicated. You can start with little steps, and little steps lead to long-term success. Go out, take some action, everybody, and we will see you at the top.
- Maya Corbic
- Wealthy Kids Investment Club
- @Teach.Kids.Money – Instagram
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
- From Piggy Banks to Stocks: The Ultimate Guy to a Young Investor
About Maya Corbic
From challenging beginnings in shelters and government housing, Maya Corbic, is a first-generation immigrant and CPA, who draws from her experience of overcoming financial challenges and simplifies money matters to inspire children to pursue financial success.
Maya is the author of a kids’ book “From Piggy Banks to Stocks: The Ultimate Guide for a Young Investor” which simplifies investing concepts and equips children with essential investing skills while keeping them engaged.
She is the founder of the Wealthy Kids Investment Club and has a popular Instagram account @teach.kids.money that has 128K+ subscribers through which she inspires parents to raise financially independent kids.
By the time she was 32 years old, she and her husband paid off $60,000 of debt, in addition to their mortgage.
Her vision is to empower every child to become a financially independent adult.
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