What do you do if you want to find a great burger and do not know where to start? Yelp has helped solved that challenge.
What if you are a consumer of a different sort? What if you seek outstanding financial education resources? Where do you go?
The Wisconsin Bankers Foundation aims to solve that challenge for consumers with its new online resource center, MyMazuma.com.
It is a noble and needed endeavor.
Michael Semmann is one of the principal architects of the strategy. Mike is the Executive Director of Wisconsin Bankers Foundation. He is also the Chief Operations Officer for the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA).
In his role as Executive Director of the Foundation, one of Semmann’s primary responsibilities is to promote financial education throughout Wisconsin, including its Teach Children to Save Day and Reading Raises Interest initiatives.
I interviewed Mike to capture more of his thinking and knowledge on the subject as well as discover how the Foundation intends to “Yelp” financial education.
WHO WE ARE: A COALITION OF THE CURIOUS AND WILLING
Sam X Renick: Tell us about the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation? What is the mission? Who is the target audience? And, what makes the enterprise standout?
Michael Semmann: The Wisconsin Bankers Foundation exists to empower financial decisions through education and research. Its target audience is simply those who have questions about money and finances. We are a coalition of the curious and willing. What makes us unique is we try to identify the best in the financial education marketplace and amplify that to consumers.
THE WHY? AMPLIFY WHAT IS GOOD
Renick: What is the organization’s why?
Semmann: There are so many great people teaching financial literacy and so many great resources, it became clear our job was to amplify those people and resources to create a community of learners. We want consumers to be able to have access to those resources and be able to easily answer their money questions.
THE SIGNIFICANCE. FAR REACHING IMPACT
Renick: Why is financial literacy education important?
Semmann: Personal finance and economics impact every aspect of your life.
Financial education and financial literacy are important because a person’s finances and financial health follow their financial decision-making. Nothing else you can learn has as far-reaching an impact as understanding how money and financial trade-offs work.
What financial education does is empower individuals and grow their confidence in their choice making skills by helping them learn how to make trade-offs and good decisions.
At the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation and MyMauzma, we strive to give people information to help them make good financial decisions at every point in their life, knowing the earlier you create a stable foundation, the better a person’s chance to live a purpose-filled life.
THE BIG LESSONS. GOALS. FOCUS. PEOPLE.
Renick: What are a one or two of the biggest lessons you have learned throughout your career in financial education?
Semmann: Set your goals and stay focused on them. Surround yourself with people who believe in the mission of the organization but who will challenge the organization to achieve those goals.
Renick: What is your vision for the Foundation and MyMazuma? What would you like to achieve in the next 3 to 5 years?
Semmann: We want to create a community of Resource Partners and Consumers that takes the best resources in the world and amplifies them so that they are understandable and usable for that community.
Renick: What do you need to turn the vision into a reality?
Semmann: We need to continue to make MyMazuma relatable and usable for Resource Partners and Consumers. We will need to find a research partner who wants to perform a deep dive on consumer behavior that will help create a better experience for our user community. We will also need to raise the funds to achieve those goals.
CAREER ADVICE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
Renick: Do you have any advice for young people just embarking on their careers?
Semmann: Do your homework. Focus on learning the job and seek to take positive risks. Then ask a trusted mentor(s) for advice when you feel it is time to grow.
5 FASCINATING SEMMANN INSIGHTS ON KIDS AND MONEY
In a separate interview for SammyRabbit.com, Mike provided his thoughts on kids and money. He also shared some of his experiences growing up related to finances and what he did and did not learn.
Here are 5 insights from the interview I found fascinating.
- Recognize that you’re always teaching your kids about money, whether you talk about it with them or not.
- Having savings by making saving a priority and habit, empowers you, when you make decisions about how to use your money.
- Saving, giving and spending smart are not mutually exclusive.
- Personal finance and economics impact every aspect of your life. Nothing else you can learn has as far-reaching an impact.
- Learning there could be a “cost” to working was eye-opening.
FINANCIAL LITERACY MONTH
April is financial literacy month throughout the United States. It is a great opportunity to think about your financial wellness and contribute to the knowledge of others, especially the young. As Benjamin Franklin is cited as saying, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
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