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Family Finance Lessons: poet Douglas Kearney

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The most important lessons we learn about money don’t come from our accountants or our radios. They come from our family. Each week, we invite someone to tell us about the money tips they inherited from the people they grew up with.

Our guest this week is the poet Douglas Kearney.

Poet Douglas Kearney grew up in the California town of Altadena. He never knew exactly how much money his parents made, but he always felt like his family had enough to get by.

“A lot of our interactions around money were really around more sophisticated concepts than I should have been exposed to at that age,” says Kearney.

For example, his father taught him about interest in fourth grade. “He thaught that would be kind of funny. Nowadays parents give their kids mohawks or whatever, and my dad was like ‘Let me turn this guy into a banker, wouldn’t that be cute?'” says Kearney.

But the future poet might have taken this concept a little too far.

“I would actually go to my school and a kid might say ‘Hey can I borrow fifty cents from you?’ and I would say ‘Yeah, but if you don’t pay me back by Thursday I’m going to double it!’ and I would make these kids sign contracts,” says Kearney.

Kearney says that a lot of kids craving an immediate candy-fix went for the deal.

“One day I told my dad about this and he said, ‘Ok you can’t do that!’ and I said ‘What? They signed a contract!'”

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