Improving Financial Literacy Begins With Talking Money With Our Children with Dr. Caroline Clerisme

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Competent handling of finances is not easy, especially for doctors working 24/7 on the clock.

But the truth is that we all have to get good at it. Whether because we have a debt to pay, a family to feed, or to survive the incoming recessions.

Our guest today, Dr. Caroline Clerisme specializes in just that with her company Doctors Out Of Debt- helping doctors take a hold of their existing debt and live financially stable lives.

But that’s not all. Caroline is also the author of “Lily and the Talking Piggybank” a children’s book about money.

According to her, we shouldn’t leave the children out of the picture when talking about finances and educate them on the matter as early as possible.

Topics Discussed:

  • How “Lily and the Talking Piggybank” was created.
  • How to instill positive finance habits in your children.
  • How to help them NOT repeat your mistakes.
  • And much more content that we don’t want to spoil you!


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Full Episode Transcript:

Daniel Wrenne: Hey guys, hope you’re having a great day. We’ve been talking about family and finances over the past few episodes, and we’re gonna be wrapping it up today with another great conversation about financial literacy and teaching our children about money.

Daniel Wrenne: But before I get into our conversation today and introduce our guest, I wanted to throw out a quick update.

Daniel Wrenne: Hopefully you’ve already listened to our last two episodes on helping to teach our children about money. If you haven’t yet checked those out.

Daniel Wrenne: Make sure and do that. They were both great conversations. And after those, I felt motivated myself to buy both author’s books and have my children read them. And I wanted to give you a quick update on that.

Daniel Wrenne: So the first book we received was David Delisle book, the Golden Quest, your Journey to a Rich Life. So I read it, my older son read it, and we just finished reading it to my middle son.

Daniel Wrenne: They both completely gobbled it up. My older son read it in one sitting and my middle son who’s seven, and I read it over three or four bedtime stories. He kept wanting to continue reading after one or two chapters, even though it was past his bedtime.

Daniel Wrenne: So it was definitely really engaging for both of them. And I think this is gonna be a fantastic book, especially for children who have never explored money topics. I think the ideal age range is maybe 6 to 10 years old.

Daniel Wrenne: It’s very visual and has an engaging storyline and conveys some really solid money lessons.

Daniel Wrenne: But I think the most important thing to point out is this book does a great job sprinkling in some super important financial principles. Which I think are the foundation of using money as a tool to achieve happiness.

Daniel Wrenne: I think a lot of adults really are missing these principles. And so this book teaches this concept of the fact that less material stuff is more. And to be really aware of spending and view spending decisions from the lens of will I really love and use this material thing.

Daniel Wrenne: It also teaches kids to save first before spending and make sure and put the savings to work by investing. And then one concept I think that’s really missing in society is this concept of giving.

Daniel Wrenne: This book teaches children that giving actually makes them richer. And then the final lesson helps reinforce this idea of saving first by talking about how the real value of having money is its ability to buy you time and freedom to do what’s truly most important.

Daniel Wrenne: Really, I think a lot of adults could benefit from reading this and certainly kids can. So the second book we received was Will Rainey’s book, Grandpa’s Fortune fables, Fun Stories to Teach Kids About Money.

Daniel Wrenne: So I read this and my oldest son is almost done. So this book is a little bit more advanced than The Golden Quest, but not a lot.

Daniel Wrenne: I would say it’s great for probably like maybe seven years old and older. I’ll try reading it with my seven year old son to see. But this book covers all the things that were covered in the Golden Quest and really hits on a lot more topics.

Daniel Wrenne: It’s, it’s a little bit longer of a book. It’s less visual, of course. The Fable format it’s more like written stories and less visual pictures. But, this book covers a lot of topics that weren’t covered in the golden quest, like starting a business, managing debt, taxes, avoiding get rich quick schemes, working smarter, not harder, and the risks of investing.

Daniel Wrenne: So the method of teaching is great. I love the fables as a method and I think that really catches kids’ attention. And of course, like the golden quest, this book sprinkles in some super important concepts as well. Like the difference between being rich and wealthy and how more is not always better.

Daniel Wrenne: It also teaches this really important lesson that anybody can become wealthy even if they come from a tough upbringing. Every chapter also ends with this lesson learned and throws out some simple questions to consider.

Daniel Wrenne: So I think this book would be a great book for a child that has already shown some interest in money. And I think there’s gonna be a ton of takeaways and questions that they raise after reading.

Daniel Wrenne: So since reading these, my sons have brought up saving, giving and have asked questions about investing. And they’ve asked how to make money or what to do with the money. I’ve set them up since then on projects to make money. And my older son, we’ve set him up to actually sell some of our old stuff that we’re not using on eBay.

Daniel Wrenne: And he’s gonna be making like a 30% cut on it. And so he’s kind of like starting his own little tiny business on it.

Daniel Wrenne: But in general, they’ve brought up money and some of these concepts like investing more than they ever have before. And I think a lot of it’s been prompted by these books.

Daniel Wrenne: So this is really effective stuff. I would definitely recommend both books if you have kids in this age range.

Daniel Wrenne: By the way, I’m not accepting commissions for recommending these books in case you’re wanting. I just genuinely think they’re great and I’m really excited to be able to share those with you.

Daniel Wrenne: So, I’m excited also to get into today’s show. So let’s jump into that now. So my guest today is a mom. A wife. She’s a dentist. She’s a fellow personal finance geek. She’s an entrepreneur and a coach, so she’s got a lot going on. She’s also an author of a children’s book on Money. That’s three guest authors in a row who have written children’s books on, which is crazy cuz I didn’t know there was really any.

Daniel Wrenne: And I’m so excited to be able to find some really good content, not only for adults, but also for kids. So along the way of becoming a dentist and as she started to pay off some of this massive student loan that she had, our guests today realized that many in medicine don’t have a solid foundation and need help.

Daniel Wrenne: This motivated her to start doctors out of debt. To help coach other doctors on how to tackle debt and gain financial freedom. She found through this experience that many doctors have never really absorbed or been taught some of these basic personal finance concepts. And that really where the issue is, is in childhood.

Daniel Wrenne: So in seeing all this, it motivated her to take the initiative to write and publish a children’s book designed to help parents begin talking about money with their kiddos. So my guest today is Dr. Caroline Clerisme.

Daniel Wrenne: We had a great conversation and so we talked about a lot of different things. We talked about how she paid off $250,000 in four years. That’s a pretty impressive feat in itself. We talked about why financial literacy is one of the greatest gifts we can pass on to our children. We talked about how and when we can bring up this topic with our children. And then we talked about why a book like hers is such a great catalyst for the conversation.

Daniel Wrenne: As I mentioned, great conversation. I think, I really think you’re gonna enjoy this one, and let’s jump right into it.

Daniel Wrenne: Caroline, welcome to the podcast.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Thank you so much for having me.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah, I’m excited for our conversation today. I know you got lots of good nuggets to share. And you have a lot of different things going on with your, of course with your dental practice, but also with your business and helping people pay off debt. And you’ve even written a children’s book and there’s all kinds of good stuff you got going on that I think will be great to talk about.

Daniel Wrenne: Maybe before we get into some of that, I would love it if you could kind of share a little bit about how you got into helping doctors to pay off debt. I think that’s such an interesting business in itself, but how did you get to this point of helping other people pay off debt?

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Absolutely. Again, so I’m a general dentist in New Hampshire. And I’m sure you guys can hear an accent. And yes, I’m from Haiti. But I’m in New Hampshire where it’s very, very cold right now. Yeah. But anyway, General Dentist in New Hampshire. I’m also a wife. Model to a toddler. And I am a co-author of an amazing, amazing book.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Lily and the Talking Piggybank: Let’s learn about Money and I’m also the founder and CEO of Doctors Out of Debt where I help doctors to create generational wealth and get out of debt at the same time. And the reason all that happened is that when I graduated from dental school, long time ago, or like 11 years ago, , I had a lot of debt.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: I had about $250,000 of student loans. And coming from the Caribbean where growing up I didn’t really have any exposure to credit, student loans or any of that, and I’m like $250,000 of student loans. It’s a big number. But by applying a bunch of debt paying strategies, I was able to pay everything off in four years with a starting salary of less than six figures.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: And shortly after, I was able to go from one stream of income to seven streams of income, and I just really started talking to doctors about what I’ve been doing.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: And before I know it, I’m the founder of Doctors Out of Debt, where I’m really showing doctors how I was able to do that. To be able to get out of there quickly and study creating wealth at the same time. And from that, Lily and the Talking Piggybank was pretty much born because I realized that after talking to so many doctors that a lot of money habits were learned from early on.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: But when they were kids, , the sooner the better. That they can’t talk about that, that their parents can’t talk about that, meaning children, the better. So that’s why the book has been a success. Everybody loves it. Loves it. Because they get to talk about something that has been so taboo.

Daniel Wrenne: So a lot of the doctors you have been working with, have you noticed that a lot of them maybe haven’t had some of these foundational money lessons even as an adult?

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Absolutely. And I must say that money is still taboo, and that’s something that we use every single day. And we still don’t like talking about it.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Kind of weird, isn’t it?

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yes. And I must say, growing up, our parents talk to us openly about money. And here I am thinking with everybody talks about money openly, and then we’re like,” Oh, we don’t do that here.” So even in college and dental school, even after dental school, I realized that we don’t talk about money.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: It’s like, “Shh, don’t talk about it.”

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: And of course that’s a problem because if we don’t talk about it, if we don’t know your numbers, if you don’t know how to improve your numbers, if you don’t talk about investing or getting out of debt, you’ll still feel like you’re in a bubble.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: You don’t know how to pretty much get to the other side.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah, I would have to hope that people went the direction of not talking about money with good intentions. I think people worry about hurting other people’s feelings about talking about their money. And they don’t want to come across as greedy or whatever. But the problem with not talking about money is it usually, they just don’t talk about it at all. So they don’t even talk about any part of it.

Daniel Wrenne: Of course it’s not super respected, I don’t think to brag about how much money you make. I mean that part about talking about money maybe doesn’t help. But like, we don’t have to not talk about it at all.

Daniel Wrenne: And I think that’s the problem with this whole money as taboo is you see lots of adults, I see it as a financial planner all the time people have said that I’m, finishing up training to be a doctor and I’m in my thirties and I’ve never really been taught anything about money. That’s just a interesting. It’s kind of sad that’s playing out because it does p put people at a disadvantage.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Absolutely. And it can always say two things that we have to talk about, whether or not we want to. Two things that are gonna affect us is health and money. At some point he might have some health issues.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: At some point he might have some money issues. Or regardless, like you use money like I said every single day in some way, you are using money. So you have to know about it. You need to understand the psychology behind it. How to use it. How to multiply it. You need to understand those things.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yeah. And if you were not exposed to that or talked to about from your parents, you might feel a little bit lost or even frustrated.

Daniel Wrenne: Or you can’t talk to anybody about it because your parents didn’t talk to you about it, so you just don’t talk about it.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yes. But what I have learned is sometimes our parents don’t talk to us about money, but we still see how they handle money. And then we make our own decision as far as how to handle money when it comes to that time when we have a job. So a lot of time, even though we are not having a direct conversation with our parents about money or we, they still have that, we still pretty much notice how they handled money. And we tend to do the same thing.

Daniel Wrenne: Right. It’s like their actions still speak louder than their words. Especially if they’re not saying anything about it.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yes, absolutely. But sometimes it becomes so secretive you’re like, it’s still so much easier if you just talk about it.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah.

Daniel Wrenne: For example, in the book we talk about franchising, we talk about retirement, real estate investing, all those things that you should start talking about early on so that you don’t want to be in your forties and fifties and be like, “Oh, I decided to start thinking about retirement.” No. Start talking about those things early on.

Daniel Wrenne: Right. So how did you pay off $250,000 in four years exactly? You said your income was below six figures.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: So a lot of it was several debt became strategies. And there was, they have the debt snowball. Debt avalanche. I used multiple ways to pay off the debt. But five ways actually. I can refinance. There’s so many things that I did. But the first thing that I had to realize was I had to have a proper mindset.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: And what I mean by that is that I have to go, I wanna pay off the debt and invest at the same time. So I cannot be lose using my salary to be buying liabilities. So I have to be very intentional. The first thing was to figure out where my money goes every single month, and to re alocate that money towards with debt.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Okay? So it’s just about organizing my finances pretty much. Telling my money where to go. In other words, having a budget. The B word that everybody hates, but pretty much telling my money where to go. And then from there studying investing. And I was even able to use some investments to be able to pay up the debt.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: But what I really did was using my nine to five, and then I had a weekend job, and then I had the loan with payment program that I was in where they gave me $50,000 towards my student loans. So I had that as well. And then I refinance. I had a lot going on. A lot of repayment, debt repayment strategies that I had to implement to really pay all that in four years.

Daniel Wrenne: So you basically made your mind up, you were gonna do it. And then you did it by budgeting, managing your money, making it do its thing. Essentially.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: I’m gonna say yes and no. Eventually, I was gonna pay it up in 10 years. That was my plan 10. And then some things happen a little, let’s just say, embarrassing things with money.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: And I was like, You know what? I have worked way too hard. It’s ridiculous for me to have overdraft freeze or whatever it is. I’m like, let me really get it together. So when I really sat down and wrote down my goals and really told my money, this is what I want you to do because I wanna have seven streams of income. I wanna have a seven figure portfolio.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: This is what we’re gonna do. I was stuck with the money. This is what we’re gonna do. So from there I was like, okay, maybe I can pay it off in seven years. And then once I really started seeing that good debt is just literally reducing and drastically reducing, I was like, I can’t do it faster than four years.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: But the plan, originally it was 10 years that was my plan.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah, that’s good. Most people set goals that they don’t hit. You set a goal and then you got made it even more aggressive.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Oh yes, absolutely. . Because the thing is that sometimes when you see that it’s working and gets energized. And that’s for me with working out.

Daniel Wrenne: That’s why the debt snowball works well.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yes, wins. And that’s something that I talk to my clients about. Celebrate all wins. Always.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah. Well, do you wanna explain the debts snowball versus what’s the other way of doing it? Like interest rate, targeting or whatever.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: So the debts, that’s one way that I did that. So pretty much you look at all of your debt, whether you have student loans, credit card debt, whatever kind of debt that you have. And then you list it from smallest number to the largest number. And then you just pay the smallest amount first. Everything that you have, you pay towards the smallest amount, and then you paid off, and then you roll, you go to the second smallest and then to the third, smallest.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: And then pretty much everything’s gets paid up so quickly. And the reason why is that you get so excited. And I must say at first it might be a little bit discouraging because as doctors sometimes we have a $2,000 student loan, so we’ll have different loans and then we’ll have $2,000 student loan. And then right next to it’s 2.8%. And you have $25,000 and it’s like seven, 79%.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: They’re like, should not be looking at the interest rates first? But sometimes when you just pay that $2,000, you just get excited. You’re like, oh my gosh, let me keep going. Let me keep going. So that’s one way that I did to pay off the student loans.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: And another way is that avalanche, which is when you look at the interest rates. So you look at the highest interest rates to the lowest interest rates, and then you attach the debt from highest interest rates to lowest interest rates. And remember earlier I said that I had loan repayment money that I was getting. So $25,000 boom, towards the highest interest rate.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Next year, highest interest $25,000. Boom. Paid up.

Daniel Wrenne: What was the loan reimbursement program you were in?

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: So I spent two years working at the health center and for that they paid me $50,000.

Daniel Wrenne: Like a stipend?

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yeah. Well and you have to show them. You have to prove for the two, like, okay, I paid $25,000 for my student debt loans.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yeah. And of course that’s something you had to apply for. It’s a long way, like it was very tedious process. To be able to get into that program. But that’s something that I recommend because it’s state based. So that’s something that’s worth looking at. But it’s very important to make sure that you’re gonna be happy somewhere for two years because some people, they’re like, I cannot stay there anymore after nine months.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: And then you get into default, you have to pay fees back, penalties, you don’t wanna get into all that.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah. So the debt snowball approach is really good because it’s super motivational. So psychologically it’s a great way to do it. But then the debt avalanche from a numbers standpoint makes more sense. But maybe not as motivational. ‘ Cuz if your highest interest rate debt takes a really long time to pay off, it’s like, man, we’re not making any progress here.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yes. And for me, I think the only reason why it worked for me is because I had a big chunk of money to put towards it.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yeah, right. I had $25,000 to put towards it for two years. If not, it would’ve been very discouraging. But we’ve taken the debt snowball, I’m telling you, for me, it’s like working out sometimes.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: And again, sometimes, or some things that we do with money does not always make sense to someone else.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: It’s all about the psychology of money, but when we get those wins, you’re like, oh my gosh, I lost five pounds. It’s the same thing. So you just keep going. But if you’re like, oh my gosh, I’ve been working, I’ve been doing this and that, I’m not losing weight.

Daniel Wrenne: Not seeing any results.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: So same thing again, the debt snowball works because you just get into a momentum. You just gonna keep going. And if you are working on your mindset at the same time, you’ll be amazed. You’ll have opportunities or does open up. You’re gonna have people bring you jobs. Promotions. Bonuses. Whatever. It’s pretty exciting. Mindset is key.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah, I agree. You also mentioned seven streams. How do I get seven streams of income?

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: You don’t have to get seven streams because that’s a lot.

Daniel Wrenne: I know. Okay. And then how do I balance seven streams income? ‘Cuz that’s like you said, a lot.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: That’s I’m saying it’s a lot. You don’t have to do that. So one major thing to understand is that you use your income, your active income, almost like as leverage to be able to have those other streams of income. So a lot of people, they think like you shouldn’t be actively working to have other streams of income.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: I think whenever you hear passive income, you have to be very careful. You’re not like just laying on a beach somewhere, sitting on whatever margarita or whatever. No. You act, you have…

Daniel Wrenne: it’s not that passive.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: No. You have to actively work. And then from there you can invest in real estate. That can give you one income.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: You can invest in the stock market. You can have another income like that. You can be an author. That’s another income. There’s so many types of income. And that’s the thing, you don’t have to go chasing several streams of income from me.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: It was recently that I acquired seven stream of income because I became an author. I didn’t have seven before. It was still fine because I was really focusing on rental income, real estate. That was really what was gives me the financial freedom that I have been seeking for a while.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Multiple streams of income. I mean, on the surface that sounds great, especially passive income sounds great. But I like how you also mentioned that it is hard work and it’s not.. I mean, a book doesn’t write itself. I imagine that’s a lot of work.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yes, yes. But with that being said.. So there are a few ways to look at it.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: I always say one income is way too close to zero. Never have one income. Right? With that being said, don’t go chase chasing, having a bunch of streams of income.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: You don’t need to have seven streams of income. If it happens, it happens. But you don’t have to go chasing. I feel that all doctors should have at least three streams of income.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: You have your active income and then you’re investing in real estate. That’s another income. And then you invest in the stock market. That’s another income. But for the stock market, you need to know how to do swing trading so that you can use capital gains as an income. Or you have stocks that you invest, like you can keep you dividend income, which is another type of income. Or you can just invest in real estate.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: There are several ways to just invest in real estate and have multiple paychecks coming your way. You don’t need to just be a landlord. There’s so many ways to invest in real estate that can give you a paycheck every single month, a quarterly, depending on the investment.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yep. Again is to go back to mindset. Keep an open mind. Because I think a lot of us when we hear real estate will be like, I don’t wanna be a landlord. I don’t wanna be this.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah. Well, I think what I’m hearing is first thing you did was, well, I guess if we go even further back like in your family, money was not taboo. And then you got older and you had this big debt and you’re like, I’m gonna pay this thing off so you budgeted. And you got your money under control and you paid the thing off really fast.

Daniel Wrenne: And then you rediverted that cash flow to investing and building multiple streams of income and whatever that looks like for you, it varies by person, but you kind of like redirected it to putting your money to work basically. And here you are today.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yes. And that’s something that I learned from my parents. Again, talking about money and seeing what they do. My parents never had one income coming in. Ever. So they had multiple streams of income, both my mom and my dad. My mom is a physician of Dermatologists, and then my dad was a Sociologist, a professor. And always had multiple streams of income.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: They had their own businesses and they were working for the government and also private entities, always. So that’s what I did. I never had a one stream of income. Right. Because again, you do what your parents used to do.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Usually, you do. So that’s what I did. I did what I saw my parents do, and then I realized that okay, they have active income.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: I need to figure out how to have semi or passive income in which is what I use my active income to invest in assets that can give me regular paycheck, regular income, either monthly or quarterly.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah. so you’ve written this book and that’s an example of an income stream now, but I want to talk a little bit more about the book and the concept of talking about money with our kids.

Daniel Wrenne: I think a lot of us as parents were maybe intimidated by that because it’s taboo, but then also a lot of people I think are intimidated to bring it up because they don’t feel like they know money enough themselves.

Daniel Wrenne: And so if I’m a parent, I’m like, I get it, teach your kids about money. That makes sense. But I don’t really know where to start. I don’t know money myself.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: And it can be intimidating. It’s funny you said that one of the parent who bought the book, she said that now she is excited to learn about money herself, right?

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Sometimes you just have to learn with your child at the same time. And it’s okay to learn together. To learn about investing because at first, again, it can be so intimidating, but it’s okay to learn those things together. What is investing? What’s a 401k? What’s an IRA? What’s budgeting? What’s credit? Why do I need credit?

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: You know, all those things. What is that? What is the real purpose of debt? So again, I know sometimes it can be a little bit intimidating, but again, it’s something that you’re gonna use every single day. So you don’t have a choice, pretty much.

Daniel Wrenne: Right. Yeah, you need to either they’re gonna learn money by your actions, which is not very much. I mean, it is what it is. Or you can proactively teach them. Based on the right way to do it. Even if your actions aren’t the right way to do it. Maybe that’s the nice thing about teaching your kids you can change the trajectory. Even if you’re in a not so well to-do family, you can give them the power to change their trajectory and get outta that situation.

Daniel Wrenne: And I mean it’s valuable stuff. This is kind of should be in schools, right? It should be like first grade education. I think absolutely.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: And I still remember when my parents were trying to purchase a car, they would involve us in the conversation about the cost. Everything. Yes. And again, sometimes when I would talk to my classmates or that later on you, you’ll be like, oh no, that we don’t talk to our kids about that.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: That’s adult stuff. Even if you don’t go over too many details, I still think it’s good to start the conversation so they really understand the 1 + 1 = 2. They understand what is that or what is interest rates. All those things. Just to make it easier for them for when they are in college and then they have a bunch of credit card companies say like, get my card, get my credit card.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: So they know if they should get that card. And if they do, how much of that credit card they should be using. All those things to really help them not to have to struggle or really to understand how they can have financial freedom quickly.

Daniel Wrenne: I know you’ve shared some of the takeaways from the book already. I was curious if you could share either your favorite parts about it or some other areas of takeaways. Like some of the nuggets of wisdom.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: So my daughter’s name is Olivia. We nicknamed her Lily.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: So the book, pretty much I wanted to have a book where she can go back and take apart financial freedom and financial literacy. So there’s one section where Lily’s standing in front of you see the building there, like the stock market.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Remember that little gold? So that’s why what trying depict there. Where she’s like in front of the stock market, in front of the building and she’s like, you can make money from stocks to investing in trade. So that’s something that’s very powerful. And then you have the little train there and she’s like, yeah, I’m creating oil.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: So all that is really a lot of visualization so that the child can really see those are things that I can attract. Those are things that can happen for me. And then we talk about franchising. Which is something I didn’t even know, even though yes, I knew it existed. I never really understood it. So we talk about all things that you probably are not really gonna talk about on a regular conversation, but you kind of like forced to talk about things that at some point you’re gonna bump into in your life.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: So definitely I love that, where she’s like spinning out. Oh, proud in that I love that. . So cute. I love this.

Daniel Wrenne: Really. Yeah. Very few kids have been taught about business franchising or starting business or investing, I would say. It’s a small number, I would think.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: And I think the earlier the better. And I think with this new generation, they wanna learn more about those things. I think they are starting to get curious. So I really think, again, the feedback has been overwhelming. Really, really great. As from parents and children really.

Daniel Wrenne: What do you think? You think the sooner, the better?

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yes, absolutely. Because those are things that you can keep reiterating. Because they say the average is around eight years old when the child pretty much has, I don’t wanna say made up in their mind, but they really understand how the parent is handling money.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: And pretty much that’s what they’ll do when they’re older. And of course those things can change. They will make their own decisions and stuff like that, but they already have a pretty good idea of how money works through the lens of how their parents have been handling. So the earlier, the better.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah. Right. Yeah, I agree. I mean, at the point you start reading books to him is an opportunity.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yes, absolutely. Even if it’s like jokingly. But, by five years old, definitely start talking about those things. Absolutely. When they can’t understand money, like, okay, this is a quarter, this is a dime. Stop talking about it.

Daniel Wrenne: And I like how you talked about like buying the car. Bringing it up in real life scenarios too. What I’ve found is the more I like talk about it with my kids or have them read books or experience education, they bring it up in life circumstances. Or they ask what things cost or like they’re just curious about money and then that gives you the opportunity, you don’t even really have to bring it up.

Daniel Wrenne: They bring it up.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Wow. See, I love that. Absolutely. And that’s the thing, they pay attention.

Daniel Wrenne: Right? We’re just exposing him to it a little bit more. And that’s why a book is a fantastic vehicle, is you can kind of just start to expose them to it.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yes, I hope that book gets in many, many little hands. Many young hands so that they can really read it. It’s the little bedtime story and they can talk to their friends about it and really what’s really gonna help them in the future.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah. I love it. Well, I’m curious if there’s any other suggestions you have for parents? Are there books that you have read that were inspirational?

Daniel Wrenne: I have realized there’s not a ton of books unfortunately for kids. I’ve been able to find a few people recently that have written books. For kids about money, which is kind of cool. But there’s not a ton. So I’m curious, if you had inspiration from other books or if there’s any other tips and tricks you have for parents about preaching the subject?

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: As far as books, I do not. And I think maybe that’s what really pushed me to go to my friend and select. Because she is, and she has written many children’s books and then, one day I was like I really need to help those doctors, but I wish I could help the young ones.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: But then I went to her, I was like, I really think we should do this. Or is it possible for us to do this? Like, yeah, let’s do it. But to answer your question, maybe just some exercises with the children. Take them grocery shopping. Take them on trips. Take them to places where you can really show them how other cultures are even using money.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: That’s one thing. And really it’s so important, if you live in the US to understand the purpose of debt, which is I would say the purpose of debt is to create wealth.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: And the sooner your child can understand that, the better. And it took me a little while to even understand that. But again, the purpose of debt is to create wealth. That’s what I have figured out.

Daniel Wrenne: The purpose of debt is to create wealth. But not to buy more stuff.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yes. And because we are in a society where we have quote, always buying stuff. Like we have stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff. And again, the purpose of debt is to create wealth.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: So when you think right now you have debt and every single month you are not monetizing money, you’re not making money from that, you’re not getting some interest income, you’re not getting some rental income, some kind of income from that, that means someone else is making money from that debt. Again, the purpose of debt is to create wealth.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: You have to say that a few times to really be like, Oh my gosh. So if I have a Car loan, if I have a mortgage, if I have furniture debt, if I have credit card, someone else making money. The purpose of debt is to create wealth. They’re creating wealth from this.

Daniel Wrenne: For someone. Odds are it’s not for you.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Exactly. That means someone else is making the wealth, not you.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah. ‘Cuz there’s a reason that they issued you the debt. And they’re not just giving away free money.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: No. Exactly. So write it down somewhere. The purpose of debt is to create wealth. If you have debt right now and you’re not making money from that debt, which is pretty much. So that means that someone else is making the money, someone else is creating wealth.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: And when I realized that, I was like, what?

Daniel Wrenne: I’m getting rid of this debt.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yes. No, seriously. Because at that time I had 7.9% of my student loans. That’s a lot.

Daniel Wrenne: That was creating a lot of wealth for someone.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Exactly, and that’s what happened, to go back a little bit, what really pushed me to even want to pay that fast is, so two things made me wanna pay that fast, my parents put that in my head trying not to owe people money. That’s how they raised me and my sister, trying not to owe people money.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Because remember I’m from the Caribbean, everything was cash. Till this day my mom doesn’t have credit card.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: I’m sure she doesn’t. The second thing is I was meeting with the financial advisor because it’s part of the exit counseling. I dunno if they still have that But I was meeting with the financial advisor I think it’s financial advisor but anyway and then she was showing me a bunch of numbers and then now remember she showed me $520,000 which would be how much I would have to pay if I were to take 25 years to pay up the debt on the student loan And I was like okay

Daniel Wrenne: so 250,000 ends up being 500 and something

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yes in 25 years I was like You know what I’m and then she was showing me a bunch of numbers. she showed me $520,000 which would be how much I would have to pay if I were to take 25 years to pay up the debt.

Daniel Wrenne: so 250,000 ends up being $500 and something.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yes, in 25.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: years.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme:

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: I was like, “You know what,? I’m good” she said, “Yeah”.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: And I’m sure she gave me some good financial advice after she showed me the number but after she said that I could literally feel the cold sweats, I got nervous, I got more anxious.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: I’m like, “No, this is not happening. I need to get rid of this debt right now”, so that’s what I did. four years later.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: and it’s the best thing ever. There’s not one day where I’m like, I wish I still had debt Who says that? I will never say that.

Daniel Wrenne: People always ask us if they should pay off their mortgage early or pay off the debt faster.

Daniel Wrenne: And my favorite response to them is that, I’ve never really come across someone that has completed paying off their debt and regrets it.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: And you can remember, we live in the US but it’s so easy to go with that.

Daniel Wrenne: But people sometimes worry about paying off debt. It’s pretty common.

Daniel Wrenne: I’ve never talked to anyone that regretted paying off their everybody, that I have encountered after they have paid. Just like you, they’re pumped about it. They’re like, this is fantastic. It feels great.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: It’s the most free thing I’ve ever, ever done. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. And with that, I met my husband shortly after. And I show him exactly how to pay that quickly. The debt that he had. And then we got married debt free. We paid up the wedding. He was the best thing ever. It’s the best thing ever again.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Like I say, we never ever see, Oh, we should go into debt. We should be like, we miss that. We miss being in debt.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah. Right. You don’t miss it either. That’s the other thing. You don’t miss debt. Nobody misses debt.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: No. And again, like I said, you live in the US where it’s so easy to go back in into debt. Like every day I still get emails or companies like you can prequalified. You’re qualified, you’re free of proof. I’m like, Oh, what? I’m good . I’m my own bank. I’m my own atm. I’m good.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah. Yeah. Well, you’re doing it the right way. It’s good to hear. And you’re passing it on too, so you’re teaching other people. And then teaching the kids is the best part. That’s my favorite. That’s just,

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: yes. I mean I definitely chose the, I guess I call it or they call it the vote less travel, because most people don’t take that vote. They pick debt freedom code, usually no.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Because I’m, I must say, when we graduate from medical, dental school, pharmacy school, whatever it is, we have six figure debt. We just wanna be doctor. We just want to live like a doctor. And it cannot have no regrets that I cannot delay living like a doctor. And I have no regrets. Oh my gosh. It’s the best thing ever.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah. It’s difficult to reduce lifestyle too. You gotta nip that on the front end if possible.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yes. And that’s the thing. Some people, they might think, I was eating red, what is it called? Red beans and rice or noodles.

Daniel Wrenne: Ramen noodles?

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: No, I wasn’t doing that. And even in the year, so that’s the thing. So was a big thing to celebrate graduation. I didn’t do anything. But the year after, I spent a whole month in Europe. So just to tell you, and I still, I was still able to pay the debt in a pretty good amount of time. So two $50,000 in 4 years. And I still spent a month in Europe, you just have to tell your money where to go. You just have to be the CEO of your finances. Tell your money where to go. And I mean, it’s the best thing.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah, it’s intentionality is what it is. And like in the world we live in today, the way it’s set up is it’s so easy and automatic. You got Amazon one click, you got credit card swipes, you got automatic pay everything. Everybody, I mean, my grandparents used to balance their checkbook, so they would write the numbers down, which was a little bit more aware. But now you can basically just earn a paycheck and it disappears every month. And there’s zero intentionality in it. But what you’re talking about is intentionality. Like you are the boss of your mind, like you controlled it.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yes. Absolutely. Because the other way around is not fun. No. Like every single month you have to pay your student loan service. So you have to pay credit card. You have to pay the mortgage. You have to pay this, you pay that.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: No, I would rather you put that money towards investments, toward assets that can give you income. And then having to take 25 or 30 years to just be in debt. And that’s the thing too. Sometimes when I say daily new funds, the food services or creditors, they make it look affordable. If you go and get a car or furniture, whatever it is. Oh, it’s just 300 a month or 700 a month. You just get, you’re like, “Yeah, I can afford that”. You make it part of your budget. But I’m like, again, you’re making someone richer. The purpose of debt is to create wealth. They are getting wealthy from you, giving them monthly payments plus interest when you could be making that money.

Daniel Wrenne: Yep. And it’s a sneaky little, like it adds up.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yes, I’m telling you, when I saw how much I would end up paying in 25 years. I said no.

Daniel Wrenne: Your switch was slipped when you saw the interest. Total interest cost.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Yes. absolutely. That’s a lot. And that’s when I refinanced. That was one strategy that I used was refinancing. Absolutely.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah. Could you be swayed by a 0% interest credit card?

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: I was still pay it off every month.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah. There’s no free lunch. At the end of the day, there’s always a cost. So a lot of these companies offer 0% interest rates on debt or whatever, but there’s some costs there.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: One time I had a client, actually, he was trying to become one of my client. And then one time, he sent me a message. He said, I should have listened to you because now I’m an $8,000 student on credit card debt with a 0%. Meaning he just kept putting everything.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Because it’s so easy to swipe. It’s so easy. $8,000. And it might not be that easy for some people to pay $8,000 like that. So it becomes a balance. Even though it’s 0%, then you keep adding up stuff happened then. Yep. It can become messy.

Daniel Wrenne: Debt is dangerous. Yeah, it is. I agree.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: If you don’t understand the purpose of debt or the psychology of money, It’s gonna delay the process of financial freedom.

Daniel Wrenne: Yep. I agree. Couldn’t agree more. Well, I enjoy talking about this stuff. It’s fun for me and I’m glad I found, I can tell you enjoy money too, which is we can geek out about money together.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: it’s fun topic.

Daniel Wrenne: It is. It’s good. And I think teaching your kids about it and learning these basic principles yourself, even if you’re learning alongside your kids, that’s such a valuable thing you can do. And none of us are perfect. We’re not gonna figure it out all overnight. It’s a work in progress and I like that you can kind of use that approach of learning it alongside your kids.

Daniel Wrenne: That’s just a great way to look at it, like you said. And I appreciate you chatting with me.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed it.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah, it’s been fun. It’s been fun. We’ll look forward to catching up again another time.

Dr. Caroline Clerisme: Thank you again for having me.

Daniel Wrenne: Yeah, definitely.