Buy What You Really Want

Morgan Spurlock, pictured above, shows how far advertisers are willing to go in Pom Wonderful Presents ... The Greatest Movie Ever Sold!

What is marketing?
Commercials on the tv, print advertising in newspapers and banner ads on the internet are all various types of marketing/advertising. Companies that want you to buy something (spend money) or do something (“like” them on Facebook) use marketing and advertising to get you to #1 be aware of their opportunity #2 understand what action they’d like you to take and #3 take that action based on their prompting.

Hire Shay to come speak at your next event

Why does it work?
It works because we have all been indoctrinated to want things from the time we were born. Commercials are not only aimed at adults, they are aimed at children. How many times have you heard a young child tell you what material item they want and instruct you on where and how you can purchase it. The advertising has gotten so slick that more and more movies, music videos, and tv shows are using product placements to advertise to you when you don’t even realize you’re being advertised to.

Check out Pom Wonderful Presents ... The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

What do you not know about it?
Morgan Spurlock created a wonderful documentary about product placement named Pom Wonderful Presents … The Greatest Story Ever Sold. He shows viewers how product placements work by making a movie full of product placements. One of the best parts of the movie is when he goes to a neuro-marketer. The neuro-marketer shows him that the reason he likes Coke so much is that when his brain recognized the product, his brain squirts out a bit of a happy hormone. He tells Morgan that he is basically addicted to Coke.

Not only are advertisers ingenious enough to make us want their products, they don’t even want to know what they are doing because they know that the mystery of it all makes us want those products even more.

Mane and Tail ... .it's not just for people ... Lol

What you should do about it
#1 Become aware of the classic tactics that are used to get you want to things you don’t need and probably didn’t even know existed. I present a great workshop on this topic.
#2 Turn off the tv/radio. I know it’s not popular, but if you don’t put yourself in harm’s way you it’s harder to be effected.
#3 Check to see if your purchases are in line with your values. If you say that your family is really important to you then why do you spend all your money on depreciating items like clothes?

The key is to buy what you want, not what advertisers, your neighbors, or your family and friends tell you that you should want.

Great review of Pom Wonderful
Neuromarketing’s aims

Shay Olivarria and Cynthia Coleman at American Airlines Credit Union Financial Bootcamp event in Dallas, Tx.

Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She has written three books on personal finance, contributes to multiple online media platforms, and is a foster care alumni. She’s been quoted on,, and The Credit Union Times, among others. Visit to find out more about her work.

Join the conversation

Are Women Waiting on Prince Charming?


I keep running into all these websites, blogs, etc. providing specific financial education for women. Many of the articles, posts, what-have-you seem to be focused on explaining to women why they need to plan financially. Are women still caught up in this I-don’t-have-to-be-proactive-about-my-money-because-my-husband/boyfriend/partner-will-do-it-for-me stuff?

As a woman that grew up in the booming 80’s and progressive 90’s it never occurred to me that I should be waiting for anyone to take care of me. All my heroes took care of themselves, both female and male. I grew up knowing that I would graduate from college, helm my destiny, grow my retirement fund, and create happiness for myself. Is this not true of all American women my age? Do we really need to be told that it’s important to be fiscally savvy?

I’m crazy, so maybe this is an area that I’ve overlooked. I put it you: women, what did you think your life would like like as an adult when you were a teen? How have you taken care of financial planning as an adult? Does your life look the way you thought it would?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below

Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She has written three books on personal finance, contributes to multiple online media platforms, and is a foster care alumni. She’s been quoted on,, and The Credit Union Times, among others. Visit to find out more about her work.

Join the discussion

American Airlines Credit Union Financial Bootcamp

Shay standing next to .... Shay at the American Airlines Credit Union Financial Bootcamp event.

Shay Olivarria gave the keynote at Financial Bootcamp Thursday, June 23, 2011. It was amazing! Participants enjoyed hearing how to “Spend to Get the Future You Really Want“. Of course, the presentation was lively and students engaged in conversation about marketing techniques, but sometimes it’s the unspoken lessons that students really take home:

“That small changes make a big impact.”
“If you really want to achieve a certain goal take time to set dates, limitations, etc.”
“Learning about being logical when you spend your money and not by emotions. Start saving money.”
“Not to be fooled by advertising and to spend money wisely.”
“Your mindset right now could potentially change the lifestyle you have at age 50/61 when you retire.”

If you’d like to bring Shay in to speak at your youth event, call (323) 596-1843 or visit

Shay Olivarria and Cynthia Coleman at American Airlines Credit Union Financial Bootcamp event in Dallas, Tx.

Shay Olivarria delivering the keynote at American Airlines Credit Union Financial Bootcamp event.

Financial Bootcamp team at American Airlines Credit Union.

Invest in Yourself

Read Shay's new weekly personal finance column on Black Voice News.

Starting this week the most dynamic financial education speaker working today has a weekly column on personal finance at Black Voice News! You can read her pithy insights and personal views on all things money in the physical paper and online. Check out this excerpt from her first article “Invest in Yourself” and leave a comment on

Every day we make decisions about how we will spend our money. Most of the time we spend our money investing in things that will not increase the value of ourselves, our families, and our communities. In 2010 African-American buying power was valued at $836 Billion by the U.S. Census. How much of that money went into purchasing things that increases the net worth of African-American households?

There is an idea that you’ve had for a while now about generating more income. It could be starting a business. It could be furthering your education. It could be cutting unnecessary costs to create, or add to, your emergency account or retirement account.

What’s stopping you from investing in yourself? I bet you invest ….

Read the entire article here.

HEART Talk Interview

Shay talks about her time in foster care.

I just had a wonderful interview with Evelyn Polk of For a Child’s H.E.A.R.T. We talked about my experience in foster care, the things that Bigger Than Your Block, LLC is doing to educate youth about personal finance, my new book “All My Mistakes: Money tips for kids in care”, and the no-cost webinar this Saturday, “Money Tips for Foster Youth“, to celebrate Financial Education Month.

In case you missed it, click here and you’ll hear the whole thing.


Free books

I’m so excited about Financial Education Month that I’ve decided to give away 25 copies of 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money. I’ll provide the link to order your free copy tomorrow, but my email list will get the link an hour earlier.

Sign up for the Bigger Than Your Block, LLC mailing list so you don’t miss valuable promotions like this.

Free Webinar Series

Shay Olivarria offers 4 no-cost webinars for Financial Education Month!

April is Financial Education Month!

As much as I do to help educate folks about personal finance (speak/write books) I know that I can do more. To that end, this year I’ve decided to present 4 no-cost webinars on financial education:

Monday, April 4th
1pm Teaching Financial Literacy (for Afterschool Staff)

Saturday, April 9th
10:30am Teachable Moments That Will Make Your Child a Millionaire

Saturday, April 16th
11am Money Tips for Teens in Foster Care

Saturday, April 19th
10am 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money

All webinars are no-cost to participants. The PowerPoint and voice recordings will be emailed to all participants to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Sign up now to secure your place on the webinar!

Happy Financial Education Month!

Latina Financial Educators

Latina financial education speaker and author Shay Olivarria at book signing in San Diego, CA.

This morning as I was reading my way through the blogosphere, I read this post on “The Importance of Money Education for Latina Women“. I was surprised to see that the sites that were noted were about couponing and tips for new moms. Where were the sites for the high school students? The college students? The average professional that wanted a few tips on retirement, opening an account at a credit union, or growing their emergency fund?

This prompted me to try and find a Latina financial educator on the web. Guess what? I found nada. When you talk about female financial educators the usual suspects come up. There’s Suze Orman, of course. Some might mention Michelle Singletary from the Washington Post. If pressed, someone might mention Debra Owens. It’s great there are a few women with national recognition, however did you notice that none of these women are Latinas?

I wonder if there are women out there other than financial education speaker and author Shay Olivarria doing this work? I’m not sure, but I wanted to make sure that when someone did a Google search for “Latina financial educator” at least one name would come up. So, feel free to share this post with others. I’d love to be aware of more Latina speakers and authors that are working to provide financial education to our community. If you know of someone, please share their name and website.



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.

5 Most Common Mistakes College Students Make

As students get ready to go back for the fall semester of college, I thought it would be a great time to take a moment and share some tips for saving a few dollars and getting started on the right financial foot. This is an article that I wrote for HBCU Digest.

Read the full article here.

Love my articles? Don’t forget to come out and see me as I drive cross country to spread simple financial literacy tips in a 1994 Ford Aspire.


What are you doing Tuesday, August 4th? I’ll be delivering a webinar entitled “Need help getting your financial literacy program in schools?”

Learn effective ways to get your program in front of the students who need it!

Do you ever struggle to “get your foot in the school door” to provide your much-needed financial literacy program to students? If so, you’re not alone and now there’s a webinar addressing this important topic.

Join us on August 4 for “Best Practices: How to Get Your Financial Literacy Program into Schools,” the third-quarter webinar from the California & Nevada Youth Involvement Network (CNYIN).
In this webinar, you will:

* Learn ways other credit union professionals have successfully entered into schools.
* Understand the time and effort needed to implement a successful financial literacy program.
* Discover how to make your financial literacy program appealing to schools.

The webinar will be presented by Shay Olivarria, a consultant, speaker, and author on finance; Michelle Lawrence, education coordinator, American First CU; and Dhara Sanchez, COO, Inland Empire CU.
Who Should Attend:

* CNYIN members
* Branch managers
* Marketing & Business Development professionals
* Operations professionals
* Training professionalsM
* In-school education CU staff

Meet the presenter, Shay Olivarria:
Olivarria is a consultant, speaker, and author of Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook and 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money. You’ve seen her in Redbook and read her articles in The South L.A. Report,, and HBCU Digest, among others. She’s appeared on domestic and international radio shows and worked with high schools, colleges, and community organizations. For more information on Shay, go to

FREE for all CNYIN members
$50.00 for non-CNYIN members

Sign up for the webinar here.

Teens Want It

According a study conducted by Charles Schwab, “nearly 9 in 10 say they want to learn how to make their money grow (89 percent). Two-thirds (65 percent) believe learning about money management is ‘interesting,’ and 60 percent say that learning about money management is one of their top priorities.” Do you know what that means? Young people want to learn about spending plans, acquiring appreciating assets, and creating emergency funds.

Order 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money on Amazon. Click the photo for more information.

The key to guiding students is making all the tried and true information about personal finance apply to every day life. It’s not that there are any new ideas about money management under the sun. Oh, there are folks that will try to tell you there are. Those folks are liars. The same old strategies work the best:

Don’t spend more than you earn.
Put your money into appreciating assets.
Invest for retirement as early as you can.

The challenge is getting these stogy old ideas to the younger generations in a fresh way. You’ve told your students/children/relatives to set goals for themselves, right? Have you every put it in the context of rapper 50 Cent’s career? You’ve talked to them about creating a budget, but you explained the merits of spending plans? Sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it. You think they’re not listening, but they are. You think they don’t see your behaviors, but they do. Teens want to know more about financial literacy. Meet them half way.

Shay on African Speak

I’m excited to be featured Saturday, July 10th on African Speak “Honoring Powerful Black Women in our Community”. As usual I’ll share some financial literacy tips, but I’ll also be talking about my journey from foster care to professional speaker and author in the personal finance arena. Along with me will be:
Jewel Carter – Community Activist / President Urban De’Version
Zekita Tucker – Author / CEO Zeniam Publications
Shanquil Merriwether – Community Activist / Milwaukee Chapter Pres. Action Network.

Join us every Saturday at 6:00pm (Central) for our Live Radio Show. We are dedicated to a rise in awareness of Afrikan people World-wide. We will cover topics that concern our Nation. Come share your views in our Chat Room with individuals of like mind. Call in your questions: (646) 381-4162 / Email your questions at or Text us at 414-379-7969

As a special treat I’ll be providing a discount code to purchase 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money and Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook. Listen in online or by phone Saturday 4pm PST and 6pm CST.

African Speak

Enter to Win


Answer 4 questions for your chance to win one of 10 copies!


Anyone that knows me, knows that July is my favorite month of the year. To that end, I’m giving away 10 copies of 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money during a month long contest starting July 1! Just take the 4 question survey for your chance to win! The giveaway will only be available from July 1 to July 31.

Winners will be notified by email Monday, August 2nd.

Click here to take the survey.