She blew it! How entrepreneur Susan Mcpherson leveraged the sniffles into a pile of cash.

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As a child, the future founder of McPherson Strategies learned about money when it was used as an incentive to break a bad habit. Susan McPherson also shares an extremely important money tip about ways to give to charity beyond your means as we get towards the holiday season.

In Susan’s money story you will learn:

-How money motivated Susan to stop a bad habit as a child

-What 4-year old Susan did with her earnings

In Susan’s money lesson you will learn:

-How even seemingly small amounts of money can serve as an incentive to change behaviour

-The importance of using creative tools to teach kids about the value of earning their own money 

In Susan’s everyday money tip you will learn:

-How to get paid by your company to volunteer 

-The importance of making sure you tap into your company’s matching dollar program when you give to charity

Bobbi and Susan also talk about:

-Susan being on of Twitter 25 smartest women

-Her company, social impact corporate responsibility consultancy McPherson Strategies turning 5 years old!


In My Take you will learn:

-The importance of making sure your co-workers are also aware of company gift matching programs

-How you can leverage organizing a team for a corporate charity event into a networking opportunity as well

Episode Links

Learn more about Susan’s company McPherson Strategies!

Follow Susan!

Twitter: @Susanmcp1

Instagram: @Susanmcp1

Susan mentions Microsoft as an example of a company with a generous gift matching program. 


Transcription

Susan McPherson:
My mom offered to pay a penny for every time I blew my nose. So enterprising Susan at age four blew her nose 347 times.

Bobbi Rebell:
You're listening to Financial Grownup with me, certified financial planner Bobbi Rebell, author of How to Be a Financial Grownup, but you know what? Being a grownup is really hard, especially when it comes to money. But it's okay. We're going to get there together. I'm going to bring you one money story from a financial grownup, one lesson and then my faith on how you can make it your own. We got this.

Bobbi Rebell:
Money is a powerful motivator for us aspiring financial grownups and apparently, as we will learn from our guest, for four-year-olds. It's never too soon to get on board. It doesn't always have to be starting a business, aka a lemonade stand, to teach kids about money as we will learn from our guest, the remarkable Susan McPherson of McPherson Strategies which provides social impact consulting.

Bobbi Rebell:
Welcome, everyone. Thank you for your reviews and support. I read every one and they mean so much. For those of you who are new, we keep the episodes short, about 15 minutes because you're busy, but we know a lot of you binge listen when you have a long commute or are running errands. The idea is to create flex time for our podcast and speaking of busy. Our guest, Susan McPherson, is a moving target traveling the globe, helping her clients ... Well, make the world a better place through her company, McPherson Strategies. If you are ever fortunate enough to be anywhere near where she is speaking in person, you need to go make the time. Susan is such a dynamo and there's a reason that she was named one of the 25 smartest women on Twitter, so you need to be following this woman on Twitter too.

Bobbi Rebell:
Susan is the consummate connector and I am so honored to call her a friend and she shares a fantastic story. Get ready. Here is Susan McPherson.

Bobbi Rebell:
Hey Susan McPherson. You're a financial grownup. Welcome to the podcast.

Susan McPherson:
Well, I am so excited to be here Bobbi. You know I'm a big fan.

Bobbi Rebell:
Thank you and I have been working to get on your calendar for quite some time. I know you just got back from a big trip and you are celebrating five years for McPherson Strategies. Congratulations.

Susan McPherson:
Thank you. My accidental company.

Bobbi Rebell:
Well, we'll talk more about that in a minute, but for folks who don't know you, they must check you out on social media where, for example, you were named, by Fast Company, one of the 25 smartest women on Twitter. You actually have won a bunch of these Twitter accolades and by the way, for good reason, because your tweets are absolutely brilliant and profound, but also brilliant and profound is little Susan as a four-year-old because that's how old you were when this money story happened and I can't believe this. This is the most original and we've done more than 100 shows. I am going to go out there and say this. This is the most original money story we've ever had on Financial Grownup. Susan McPherson, tell us.

Susan McPherson:
Well, I'm thrilled that it could meet those expectations. But when I was a young child, I had a terrible issue of getting ear infections all the time because when I would have colds, instead of blowing my nose to clear my airwaves, I would sniffle back in. I just didn't like the thought of putting the tissue up to my nose.

Bobbi Rebell:
What was that about? Why?

Susan McPherson:
And it was gooey.

Bobbi Rebell:
Okay. All right.

Susan McPherson:
And I think out of frustration, but also out of having to drive me to the doctor's office for all those ear infection treatments, my mom decided to be how can I use this as a lesson for my daughter and offered to pay me a penny one Sunday for every time I blew my nose. So enterprising Susan at age four blew her nose 347 times.

Bobbi Rebell:
In one day.

Susan McPherson:
In one day and of course, I looked like Rudolph by the evening with a very bright red nose, but I succeed in the mission of no longer sniffling in.

Bobbi Rebell:
What'd you do with your proceeds, Susan?

Susan McPherson:
Well, I remember my piggy bank couldn't hold that many and my dad helped me rack the pennies so that I could then turn them in to get actual bills and I think we just sucked it away. Just spend lots of money at Kindergarten because that's where I was headed next, so maybe crayons.

Bobbi Rebell:
The start of your investing career.

Susan McPherson:
Exactly. Exactly.

Bobbi Rebell:
So what is the lesson from that aside from blow your nose, even if you're not being paid.

Susan McPherson:
Oh my God, don't get ear infections maybe. No, I think it's learn to count. Learn the value.

Bobbi Rebell:
Yes because you did learn ... I have to say, as a four-year-old, counting to 347. That actually is a big number.

Susan McPherson:
Yes. Well, when you're the youngest, you tend to pick up things like that very very quickly.

Bobbi Rebell:
But seriously, what do you think are the money lessons that people can take away from that, especially money is a big motivator obviously for you. You didn't want to blow your nose, but you wanted those pennies.

Susan McPherson:
I did. I think it's working to make money. Nothing falls off trees, right? We all have to work hard and we have to be perseverate and obviously, my parents were creative or at least my mother was creative to get me to think about how I could use something that I was either wasn't good at or could be good at. Now granted, blowing your nose is not something you would do for a living, but take it for what it is. So for those of you, moms or dads, who are listening, maybe you have a child who has a similar issue and this may be a way to motivate them. Although I have a feeling you might have to offer quarters or dimes for every nose blow rather than pennies.

Bobbi Rebell:
Yes, a little less of inflation over the years. On a more practical basis for the adults listening, you do have a great everyday money tip that almost anyone that works for a company probably can do or can do something about getting their company to make it available.

Susan McPherson:
Thank you. Thank you. Yes, such a great question and I have to say for those of you who work for corporations or business, you should always ask if there is an opportunity for paid leave to go volunteer for the causes you believe in and you also should find out if your company provides matching dollars, which will make any donation you give to a particular cause have greater impact and to give you an example, not all of us work for Microsoft, but Microsoft matches up to $15,000 that you donate to an accredited nonprofit organization. That means if you give $15,000, that nonprofit will get another 15, which is $30,000 in your name.

Bobbi Rebell:
Whoa. That's nice.

Susan McPherson:
Yes.

Bobbi Rebell:
And that's lost money if you don't simply file the paperwork.

Susan McPherson:
Exactly. Exactly and it's super super easy. So if you have not inquired at your company, by all means, inquire about both. Many many companies now are offering a day or several days that you can take to go volunteer at an organization, so I would not miss that opportunity.

Bobbi Rebell:
Thank you, Susan. So let's talk just for a couple of minutes about McPherson Strategies. As I mentioned, it is five years old and you jokingly call your accidental company, but it's far from that at this point. You have been quite strategic in it and the company is growing. Tell us more about what the company does and how people can learn more about it and maybe get involved.

Susan McPherson:
Aw. Thank you so much, Bobbi. I really appreciate that. We are a social impact corporate responsibility communications consultancy. Meaning we help companies, nonprofits, social enterprises, and foundations use communications to provide visibility to the good work that they are doing and that can be a whole plethora of things. But most important, it is helping these folks provide visibility to the social impact they are having on today's society. We operate out of New York, but we have an office in Chicago and an office on the West Coast in Portland, Oregon and I think you can find us online at mcpstratgies.com and of course, on Twitter, you can follow me @susanmcp1 and if you just have an interest in either working with us or hiring us, just let me know. I'm easy to find.

Bobbi Rebell:
Thank you, Susan. This was amazing.

Susan McPherson:
Oh. Thank you, Bobbi. You're a gem and thank you for all you do.

Bobbi Rebell:
Hey everyone. Love that story from Susan and I have this great image in my head of little four-year-old Susan blowing her heart out to earn that money. That kind of determination has served her well in life and I really loved what Susan had to say about leveraging your companies matching program to get every dollar possible for the causes that you care about. Here are more things that you can do.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial grownup tip number one. Spread the word. If you make a donation to charity and your company matches it, maybe just mention it to your coworkers as in, "Wow. I love that our company has a donation match." Don't assume everyone already knows that or that they know how to do it. They might be intimidated by the paperwork, not know where to look and just not bother. Same thing with friends. I know people who have parties to celebrate, let's say, a birthday and then they ask that the gifts be donations to a charity. Well, if you do that or if you know of somebody doing that, make sure that it gets communicated however you're comfortable that everyone who's giving a donation should find out if their company is able to provide a corporate match. Talk about amplifying the impact that you can make. Never assume that other people are as well informed as you are or even as motivated. Like I said, they might have the idea that the company doesn't match, but feel like, "Oh. There's so much red tape. I don't want to do it." There's a lot of easy money left on the table simply because of people maybe not wanting to seem pushy, asking people to do this when it comes to donations or if people are just being lazy or feeling intimidated about the whole thing.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial grownup tip number two. Susan mentioned taking days off to volunteer which is amazing if your company provides it. I would also add that you, yourself, can organize a team for a charity event for your company and ask your company to sponsor it. They often have this money allocated in the budget or can get it if you ask. They don't cost a lot. It's usually a minimal thing and here's the really great bonus part of it. It's that by being the organizer of a team for, say, a charity run. You're not only going to be raising money for a cause. You're also going to be the one organizing it, which means everyone is going to be coming to you when they have questions, when they need their race shirts, whatever they're going to be wearing, their numbers and this is a great opportunity for networking within the company and you can meet people at all levels of the company, both the top people that might get involve or even the lower level people and it's important to know people in different areas of your company as well, so it's a really fun thing, you're doing something good and your meeting lots of different people within your organization, so it's a winning strategy overall. Hope you guys try it. I should have done that when I was at a big company. Live and learn.

Bobbi Rebell:
Thanks to all of you for being part of the Financial Grownup community. We bring this to you for free. The only payment that we ask is that you share it with someone that you care about, that you believe would enjoy the podcast and get value from it. Your reviews and feedback mean the world to us. I read every one, so please take a few minutes to leave a review on Apple podcast, aka iTunes, or wherever you listen to the podcast and like I said, tell a friend to join us as well. And of course, thanks to Susan McPherson for getting us all one step closer to being financial grownups.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial Grownup with Bobbi Rebell is edited and produced by Steve Stewart and is a BRK Media production.