The Authors of “$100 to $1,000,000” on Making Kids Rich

This week, Biz Kid$ crossed a very exciting milestone. The Emmy-winning public television series launched a new platform: print!

HowTo Turn$100Into$1Million_FrontCover
“$100 to $1,000,000: Earn! Save! Invest!”
is a comprehensive guide for kids to the basics of earning, saving, spending, and investing money.

Co-Authors James McKenna and Jeannine Glista, executive producers of the Biz Kid$ series, are entrepreneurs in their own right. Not only have they launched television series that went on to win national Emmy Awards, it turns out they both had paper routes as kids, too!

They sat down for a Q&A to discuss financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and their new book.

Q: What was your first job?

McKenna: My first real job was working at a gas station when I was 15. I had a paper route before that. Although a tough job, working at the gas station was one of the best learning experiences I could have had. For one thing, it taught me how to make change!

Glista: I had a newspaper route when I was 12. I also picked cherries.

Q: What did you think you wanted to be when you were in middle school?

McKenna: I was a nerd in middle school, bullied almost on a daily basis. I could not wait to get out of there. One day a teacher mentioned that there was a new radio station starting at the high school across the street and I could learn to be a DJ. That radio station changed my life! I was introduced to the world of television from there. It’s very hard to know what you’re going to do for the rest of your life when you’re in middle school. Don’t worry. Watch our Biz Kid$ episode on Hidden Careers and you’ll see there is a world of great things to do out there. I hope you find your perfect career, like I did.

Glista: Apparently I told everyone I was going to be an ‘international representative’.

Q: If you could switch jobs with one of the Biz Kids you’ve profiled, which would it be?

McKenna: I have the best job. I get to do stories on Biz Kid$. Although, some of those Biz Kid$ have amazing careers. And I’m sure some of them have made far more money than I have. At a far younger age!

Glista: I’d switch jobs with The Gothard Sisters, who sing and perform Celtic dancing. Their music is so moving, and I love their costumes! And they make money following their passion.

Q: If you made what you do now when you were 12, how would you have spent/saved/invested it?

McKenna: Good question. Turns out, no matter how much money you make, there are only three things you can do with it: SPEND, SAVE and SHARE. Spending money is easy! Learning to save it? That would be the hardest thing to do if I was 12 years old and making the billions and billions of dollars that I do now. Okay, maybe not billions of dollars, but you get the idea. Even when I was young, I knew how great it felt to have money in a savings account. It gives you some power when you want to buy something and your folks tell you they won’t pay for it.  Next, I’d talk to a real financial adviser about moving some of that money into good quality investments. I said a real financial adviser. Not your Uncle Ralph, with his “oil well deal that can’t lose!” I’m talking a real professional who does this for a living. Last, I’d SHARE, or donate some money to those less fortunate. So, maybe I’d spend 20% of it, save 60% of it and share 30%. Wait, that’s 110%. Hmm, I must adjust…

Glista: I would have saved most of it, and bought a property in Vancouver, BC (hindsight is 20/20).

Q: What’s the biggest reason kids don’t follow through with the savings/investing goals?

Glista: Kids don’t understand the power of compound interest and how it works. That needs to be brought to their attention because small amounts saved now can make a huge difference later. And these days, kids are more interested in their electronics than getting out there and making some money.

Q: You’ve just launched a gorgeous book, “How to Turn $100 into $1,000,000.” What can readers expect? Will Biz Kid$ viewers see any familiar elements?

Glista: The book is written in a very entertaining tone and style that stands out from other books in the same category. The content reflects various episodes that have been produced, and includes some stories of young entrepreneurs. What really differentiates the book from the TV series is that it the offers a very structured, sequential roadmap for kids to follow that leads them to financial independence. The series covers all these topics but not in a sequential order.

Q: If you had to choose a single tip from the book to impart to kids, which would it be?

Glista: Save early and save often. That number one thing will make all the difference in your life.


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