Financial literacy and the business of life in the network

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Husband and wife team, Don and Marie Hall, founded BeMoneySmartUSA to offer financial literacy training and employment opportunities for youth.

CyberParenting Topics Tuesdays on TheFish103.9FM

This Tuesday, our guest will be Marie Hall, Executive Director of BeMoneySmartUSA, a non-profit in Carmichael that offers free financial literacy training for youth and employment opportunities through their Farmer’s Markets. Their “Head start to finance” trainings start Feb 9 and continue every Saturday through May 25 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Marie Hall is a mom of two older teens (17 and 19), an educator, and entrepreneur who recognized the need to help youth experience financial literacy and employment. She observed that our cyber-powered lifestyles condition kids to experience money as a “scroll, tap and send experience.”  The ease of spending is hyped and the conditioning for the relationship with money is hyper focused on the here and now and does not necessarily encourage long term thinking for retirement planning or saving.

And as texting is the main artery of communication, digital natives are less prepared for face -to-face conversations which are important to get and perform a job.

So Hall and her husband Don founded BeMoneySmartUSA, to train youth (and parents – optional) about the fundamentals of financial literacy including budgeting, investments for retirement and wise use of credit. BMSUSA also runs a number of Farmer’s Markets in the Sacramento region to provide employment opportunities essential to apply financial management skills.

Locations and dates of BMSUSA Farmer’s Markets

BeMoneySmartUSA Farmer’s Markets in the Sacramento region are run by teens who graduate from the financial literacy training. (Photo: courtesy)


“Each year we look to improve the information offered in the programs to include the life and business career skills young teens will need to understand as they prepare to enter the workforce and engage with the public to make an income,” Hall said.

Hall’s dedication to the mission of preparing kids for the business of life skills includes introducing the students to assignments and employment that allows them to apply in real life the concepts taught in the workshop.

“In order to really teach the skills of personal finance, we knew we had to teach students how to actually make an income to have money to manage,” Hall said.  “Unless they are engaged with the information and it is relevant, they will not apply it.”

According to Hall all their programs include lessons on resume’ writing, business etiquette, the art of standing, the importance of following up and following through and personal accountability.

“Head start to finance” begins with the end in mind

In addition, BMSUSA training focuses on the value of time as it relates to the power of compounding interest, and more. “Time is also a factor in long term planning,” Hall said.  “We always start with the end game in mind: funding retirement.

Marie Hall, Executive Director BeMoneySmartUSA
(Photo: courtesy)

According to Hall, most students from 10 to 20 years of age are not even thinking about retirement.

“Retirement is not on their radar,” Hall said.  “But when we show them how they will live to 85-90 years of age and if they plan to retire at 65 they will have 20 more years of life that they will have to pay for, they recognize quickly that by starting young they have the absolute ability to have what they need to retire on if they begin the habit of saving early.”

Hall encourages the students to think about if they start saving now, by the time their lives are in full swing adult responsibility mode, they have had at least 15 years of saving power (10-25 years).

“The math doesn’t lie,” Hall said.  “This type of thinking helps students to go beyond the money, but also consider lifestyle choices, vocations and level of education to consider when planning their future.”

According to Hall their financial literacy and employment program encourages kids to pursue their dreams and passions. “We spin that with a little more substance and a dash of reality.  It is extremely empowering,” Hall said.

BeMoneySmartUSA “Financial Head Start” workshops and camps will start on Saturday Feb 9 through May 25.  They are on Saturdays, 9-2 pm.  Attendance is free but students have to register: or the website home page at .






Joanna Jullien
(Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien is an author and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM, Tuesdays.



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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna ( and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.