Congratulations to SOAR’s Super Saje Squad for winning the first Black 365 Knowledge Bowl! The event was covered by Our Weekly:

“My mom was extremely proud and was talking to everyone on the phone,” Williams laughed. “I wasn’t surprised (when we won). I knew from the beginning we were going to win. I told my team we were going to outwork, out-perform, and outdo everyone. I told them, we have to act like we want it and if we do, we will get our heart’s desire.”

Each of the 15 participants received a copy of financial education book “10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money“. The event was held Saturday at United Christian Fellowship Church.

From Our Weekly:

Despite the forecast for rain and snow, community members, educators, parents and friends of the competitors filled the sanctuary with high energy and support.

Created by local griot, Black history scholar and community leader, Jamaal Brown, 28, the Jeopardy-style quiz game consisted of four rounds of 10 categories in Black history including Egypt, famous firsts, and Africa.

For five weeks, the students studied subjects from ancient Egyptian history to current Black accomplishments.

“My expectations were far, far exceeded,” Brown said. “The event was more spectacular than I imagined it would be. Everything from attendance and crowd participation to the level of excellence and the level of mastery the students displayed.”

I’m proud to support the Black 365 Knowledge Bowl.

Trust Fund

Start 'em young.

Your kid needs a trust fund.

Let me explain. To me, the term “trust fund” does not mean millions of dollars in a Swiss bank account (though that would be nice) it means a bit of money that you have, or are going to, set aside for your future heir. Yep, I said “heir”. Your child will carry your name and be your legacy in this life. Of course, you want to make sure that you are providing monetarily, physically, and emotionally for that child.

It goes without saying that handing your kid a stack of savings bonds, the number to an account, or a pile of exquisite jewelry with no financial education to help them manage it makes no sense (read: buy “10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money“), but not helping them by providing a cushion or nest egg doesn’t make too much sense either. Not convinced? Here are my reasons why your child needs a trust fund:

#1 We need money to live in this world. Making sure that you’re child has a bit of a nest egg only makes sense. Think about how your child’s world will be changed when they have the money to travel, start a business, attend college without taking out loans, etc. Most parents want their children to be better off than they were regardless of if the parents were penniless or wealthy.

#2 Having money that your parents saved for you shows that they care about you. This doesn’t mean that if you don’t have a trust fund for your child you don’t care about it them. It does mean that if you take the time to put aside a few dollars for your child’s future you’re child will know that you cared enough to plan for what’s to come. You’re signaling to your child that they are important.

#3 You’re modeling good financial education habits. I am not assuming that you have a spare $10,000 hanging around in your cellar, so you’ll be saving to get put together this trust fund for your child. You’ll be opening an account with a good interest rate at a stable financial institution (credit union, Treasury, or investment firm) and contributing a small amount regularly (start putting away $50 a month. Assuming a 4% interest rate over 18 years, you’re kid could have $15k and wouldn’t that have been nice when you were their age!) to grow this nest egg. Let your child know what you’re doing. Make them aware of why you’re doing it as well as how you’re doing it.

If you want your kids to have good financial education skills you have to start teaching them, and showing them, when they are young.

Like this article? Download “Teachable Moments That Will Make Your Child a Millionaire” from Shay.

Federal Reserve Bank

I went to The Federal Reserve Bank and all I got was this bag of money! LOL

You’ll never guess what I did today!

Really, you’ll never guess so I’ll have to tell you. I went on a tour of The Federal Reserve Bank in Los Angeles! How did I get so lucky? I have been working with the foundation at SCE Credit Union for a few years now and when they decided to reward Duarte HS students with a trip to “The Fed” I was invited along. Okay, okay … I really invited myself along, but they were gracious enough to agree.

I went with the CEO of SCE Credit Union, the COO of SCE Credit Union, the Mayor of Duarte, several other high level VPs and C-level execs (just another day at the office), and 30 of the most awesome students ever! We learned about the history of The Fed (did you know there was a $10,000 note at one time?), we learned about how The Treasury, not the The Fed, prints money (on paper from Crane Paper Company that’s 75% cotton and 25% linen), we saw “The Vault” that’s as big as a football field with “straps” of $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 bills, and we heard a wonderful presentation about behavioral economics after having lunch.

All in all, it was a good day.

Find out about all the great things SCE Credit Union is doing to partner with community members by adding them on Facebook. All this goodness and social media savvy too? Yep! They’re awesome like that. =)

Interview w/ CU Broadcast

I just finished my first interview with Mike Lawson at CU Broadcast. We talked my work teaching financial education to youth, my partnerships with credit unions around the country, and how the credit union industry can continue to grow and reach out to more members. We even talked about why I named my company Bigger Than Your Block and why I wrote “10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money” and “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”.

I had a wonderful time being interviewed and I’m looking forward to seeing the interview posted on Until then, take a look at the other interviews Mike has conducted with credit union industry professionals across the country.

Black 365 Knowledge Bowl

I’m thrilled to announce that Bigger Than Your Block, LLC is a sponsor of the first Black 365 Knowledge Bowl!

See the bigger picture

I first heard about the event while reading Our Weekly.

African history lecturer Jamaal Brown, 28, who some recognize as the local griot, or oral historian, is getting ready to introduce the area to a more fun and competitive way of learning and appreciating Black history.

Brown is the creator of the Black365.US Calendar that highlights a day in Black history every day of the year. With his creation, he is launching the AV’s first Black365 Knowledge Bowl, a Jeopardy-style history competition between high school students from all backgrounds.

Teams from Antelope Valley High School, William J. Pete Knight High School and Students on the Academic Rise (SOAR) are hard at work, studying Black history in ten areas: Africa, Egypt, famous quotes, Civil Rights Era, athletics, famous firsts, noteworthy women, Haiti, “Who Am I?” (photo category), and from August in the Black365.US Calendar.

It will be held Saturday, February 19th in Antelope Valley.

Good luck to the sixteen contestants!

College is Overemphasized

What's your ROI?

I’m sure I’m not the only person that remembers all the “a mind is a terrible thing to waste” commercials promoting college attendance in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Many a young person attended college and maybe even grad school in hope of graduating and starting a wonderful career that would provide for them financially. That’s a wonderful possibility, but we need to understand that it’s only one possible outcome. Some people graduate from college and can’t find a job or find a low paying job and struggle to pay back student loans.

I just read an article about America’s overemphasis on promoting college as the only pathway to success. There are certainly careers that require a college degree. There are also careers that require master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, and various types of training. I’m not for or against attending, and graduating, from college. I do want people to know that there are several paths to success. Don’t do things because you think you’re supposed to. Understand the return on investment (ROI) that you’re going to get from different career paths. Most high net worth individuals are business owners, corporate executives, and doctors/dentists. If you’re planning on one of those careers paths, you need to think long and hard about what skills you need to achieve your career goals and what the best way might be to get/grow those skills.

(Time + cost (fees, books, loans, etc.))/ expected yearly income = return on investment.

Would you spend $40,000 to earn $32,000 a year? That’s just what some of us were trained to believe we should do. Whatever you choose, make sure that it’s a choice that you’re making. Don’t choose not to attend an educational program (community college, trade school, university, etc.) or choose to attend one based on the influence of people that may have something to gain from selling you an educational experience. Figure out what you want and choose the path that you believe will help you get there.


Financial Impact Factor Radio Show

Image Shay on Financial Impact Factor Radio Show

I just completed a wonderful interview with Paul Petillo (managing editor of and and co-hosts and founders of Dave Kittredge and Dave Ng (both of whom have extensive backgrounds in the world of financial services) of the Financial Impact Factor Radio Show.

We talked about financial education for students, 401k options for recent grads, the awesomeness of credit unions, and why those for-profit colleges aren’t what they are cracked up to be. Listen to the show here.

I am opinionated aren’t I? LOL Enjoy!