James Morris Jr. is a husband, father of three, an economist and author of the book A Trip to the Building. Mr. Morris is passionate about financial literacy as a pathway to generational wealth and believes in teaching children to “mind their cents." The Woodson Children’s Department will be hosting Mr. Morris for a special read aloud and workshop for children 3 to 13 and their families for an online event on Saturday, November 21. He shared his thoughts about financial literacy before the event.
Question: What does an economist do?
James Morris Jr: I have been a labor economist for the federal government for 22 years. As a labor economist, I study the supply and demand for labor and how much people are paid for it.
Question: What inspired you to become a children's book author?
James Morris Jr: My inspiration is my children and the need to create a series of books where the characters reflect them. I discovered my 5 year old daughter’s classroom did not have any books on the shelf where the characters looked like her, so I donated a few books to the school. However, my long term goal is to create a series of books that are educational, reflect diversity, and offer a lesson for my children...It is their blueprint to financial independence.
Question: How early should caregivers start teaching children about money?
James Morris Jr: An introduction to financial literacy should begin at an early age. It is important to teach your children about the power of investing. Children need to know how not to be wasteful or not to overindulge just because it is within their reach. They should be taught how to create a budget, given an allowance, and learn the difference between an asset versus a liability. Teach children the difference between a “want” and a “need." Do you understand the difference?
Question: What is generational wealth?
James Morris Jr: Generational wealth represents assets passed down from one generation to the next. If you can leave behind a notable inheritance (whether knowledge or finances) to your descendants, that constitutes generational wealth. These assets can include real estate, stock market investments, a business, or anything else which contains monetary value.
Question: What are some ways caregivers can start building generational wealth?
James Morris Jr: Begin planting financial literacy seeds at an early age. It is important that children are taught how to create a budget, balance a checkbook, understand the power of compound interest and begin molding their minds to create a business.
The Fiscally Fit Families Holiday Money Management program with James Morris Jr. will be held Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 1 PM. Register and join us for more answers about money for your family.