Gratitude and Excitement. Want to share it too?

As any entrepreneur knows, especially those in the start-up space, the day-to-day experience can sometimes best be described as emotional “Peaks and Valleys.” One great WIN often means a lot of work to achieve the next one. It can take its toll,  even on the seasoned entrepreneur.

I’ve learned that in the face of what would otherwise be very frustrating, I have to remind myself to focus on gratitude, the journey and excitement of the process.  You would have a hard time finding a person MORE passionate about ending financial illiteracy for kids. But, when every step forward often leads to two steps back, it challenges my endurance.  What I’ve found that helps keep my drive in check is being surrounded with incredible supporters.

My supporters come in my shapes -- iPiggiBank teacherpreneurs, student graduates and their families, professional advisors, friends and my family.  We are well on our way in the New Year and I want to share some of why I feel grateful.

  • iPiggiBank has hired 2 new teacherpreneurs in Q1 to join the team. Our goal is 2 new teachers every quarter for a total of 24 new teachers in 2019. WIN #1 on track!

  • iPiggiBank has expanded to a new market - NY - in Q1.  We are now running active programs in NJ & NY. Our goal is 4 new locations in 2019.  WIN #2 on track!

  • iPiggiBank has reached 2,000 students and our goal is to reach 3,000 by end of year. WIN #3 on track!

And most importantly, I’m grateful for this amazing team of teacherpreneurs. Their endless support, dedication to teaching kids financial literacy and belief in iPiggiBank’s mission keeps me energized and motivated.  Even in the “Peaks and Valleys.”

My entrepreneurial journey has taught me that I have great instincts (identified a need in the market), unrelenting persistence (I CAN roll a boulder up a hill because we are changing young lives) and transferable skills to wear all hats (fear, ha, I got this too!).

The excitement of starting and running iPiggiBank (even on little sleep) - through highs and lows, is worth every minute. To see our students engaged, bright eyed, captivated on financial literacy that they have arguably never had the opportunity to really discuss in a meaningful way, is empowering. When a first grade student in an after school iPiggiBank class says, ”That was the best class! Are you coming back next week?” I smile and can happily say, YES!

If you want to get in on the excitement, bring an iPiggiBank program to your school, after school enrichment program, join our team of teacherpreneurs or just learn more about what we’re doing.

Learn more at

Why Financial Literacy Matters To Me (and why it should matter to you too) ....

When my 5 year old son started asking me questions about money, I did what (I think) most moms would do, I started digging on the internet and researching programs, books, activities, camps, that would support me as a parent to give him the answers he was looking for.

I was shocked and frustrated that I couldn’t find smart, age-appropriate resources. I realized that I was not alone and other parents needed it too. This propelled me to take on the challenge and launch iPiggiBank.

Here are couple of facts to keep in mind:

  • Families are living beyond their means and our country has over a trillion dollars in credit card debt.

  • Two-thirds of Americans cannot pass a very basic financial literacy test.

  • Two in five U.S. adults give themselves a C, D, or F on their knowledge of personal finance.

  • According to the University of Cambridge, kids’ money habits are formed by age seven.

Motivated by these facts and staring at an uncharted space, my journey over a year preparing iPiggiBank Money Management 4 Kids curriculum introduced me to exceptional people in the education and finance world.

How are we doing it?

Our curriculum, iPiggiBank Money Management 4 Kids, is aligned to common core and teaches fundamental money management skills using art, writing, literacy, play and music to teach topics from “needs and wants” to “Business in a Bag.” My company only hires and trains State Certified Teachers on iPiggiBank’s curriculum to lead our classes. No volunteers. Only trained professionals.

Our curriculum is customized for in-school instruction and after-school enrichment programs, as well as serving students with special needs; and we have the capacity to teach multiple classes on a given day and reach  hundreds of students. We are bringing financial literacy into the classroom! Empowering, right?

Since 2014 when we launched, we have grown steadily proving the need and demand for our unique program. iPiggiBank has impacted thousands of children and their families in Northern Jersey and New York -- and are scaling to new locations in 2019.

Whenever I tell people what I do ‘for a living,’ inevitably, I hear, “I wish I had a finance class when I was younger.”  It breaks my heart because I get it. Most people have learned about money from trial and error. It’s hard to dig out of debt and bad financial decisions.

As parents we want the best for our children. But, for a society on a whole, it benefits all of us to support children learning HEALTHY financial habits. Let’s eradicate financial ILLiteracy together!

For more information email or visit

CNBC. (2017, May 17th). How Much the Average US Family Has in Credit Card Debt. Retrieved from:

National Foundation of Credit Counseling (NFCC). (2012, April). Financial Literacy Survey Exposes Significant Grasp of Personal Financial Skills. Retrieved from:

National Foundation of Credit Counseling (NFCC). (2013). The 2013 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey. Retrieved from:

Bergen County Spotlight On: Financial Literacy

By: NVE Bank

It is never too early to equip children with information and guidance on how to save and manage money. As a leading community mutual bank, it is part of NVE’s mission to foster initiatives that help improve our fellow citizens’ quality of life and strengthen the neighborhoods where we live and work to ensure they remain healthy and strong. That is why we are so proud and excited to support New Jersey-based iPiggiBank’s efforts to provide children throughout Bergen County with money management education! The beauty of this type of education is that it can happen anywhere, and that’s exactly what iPiggiBank is proving through its Money Management 4 Kids program. We recently sat down with Founder and CEO Shara Nadler to get the scoop on what this amazing organization is all about.

NVE Bank: Please describe what iPiggiBank is and does.

Shara Nadler: iPiggiBank teaches younger students in Grade 1-6 how to manage their money through a curriculum and workshop called, Money Management 4 Kids. Only state certified teachers are hired and trained on iPiggiBank’s curriculum. Our teachers lead students in learning about smart money skills through hands-on activities that leverage art, writing, literacy and play.

Where do iPiggiBank’s programs take place?

iPiggiBank Money Management 4 Kids is available in public and private schools, after-school enrichment programs, clubs, camps and corporate settings.

Where do most of your students reside/go to school?

Our tailored program has reached over 1,000 students in urban, suburban and rural areas in public and private schools, as well as schools for students with special needs.

Do you have any favorite “success stories” that speak to the success of your programs?

Each iPiggiBank student is a success story because they have participated in learning critical money skills and are on the road to life-long healthy financial habits! After every workshop, students always ask, “Can you come back next week?” We love hearing that because it means that we have taken an important life skill and made it relatable and fun for kids.

In January, I was proud to receive an award from the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership for bringing to market and scaling this amazing financial literacy program for kids. So, I think the whole program is a pretty great success story!

Are there shared challenges iPiggiBank students tend to have?

One of the great things about our audience is how diverse it is. Each student has a unique fingerprint that they bring to the class. It generates great group discussions about personal values around money, which provides even more learning for our students.

How did you connect with NVE Bank?

I read about NVE’s involvement in the community and reached out to the marketing department to introduce our work. There was an immediate connection and shared passion in teaching financial literacy to kids. With NVE’s support, iPiggiBank is able to provide an after-school program at Bergen Family Center in Englewood. Our partnership is making a notable impact in the community.

Are there circumstances unique to Bergen County or New Jersey as it applies to financial literacy/money management?

There are 19 States that require personal finance education in high school. New Jersey is one of them and allows the District to decide how to include it in the high school curriculum.

iPiggiBank focuses on younger students to build a strong financial foundation. Our intent for our students is that, by high school, they are ready to jump into more sophisticated content and conversations about investing, insurance, real estate, retirement and ‘real life’ financial decisions.

What is the biggest challenge posed by insufficient financial literacy/money management?

Most adults would give themselves a ‘D’ or an ‘F’ in personal finance, yet they pass their finance knowledge along to their children. We are perpetuating a broken system by not formally teaching financial literacy in school. iPiggiBank is doing our part to fix the broken system by delivering a premier curriculum for students in elementary and middle school.

How can people learn more about, and get involved with iPiggiBank’s programs?

There’s great information on how to bring iPiggiBank Money Management 4 Kids to your community via the website: Anyone interested can also contact us directly at

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Yes, teaching kids financial literacy is a critical life skill. Sometimes families don’t know how or are uncomfortable (or even embarrassed) to talk about money. We’ve designed our materials to bridge classroom learning with home learning to encourage families to discuss this important topic together.

What I Wish I Knew

When I joined iPiggiBank as the Social Media Associate, I thought it was a brilliant idea to teach children money skills. It’s something that I still have not fully grasped at 21 years old -- and I am sure most people my age feel that way too. Throughout high school and college, I have learned a lot of skills and lessons on my own through mistakes and experiences. It wasn’t until my first paycheck that I learned about a deposit. It wasn’t until my first credit card that I started realizing the importance of budgeting. It wasn’t until my university took all my money that I realized that window shopping is just as enjoyable as buying the items. These were life lessons that would’ve been nice to have instilled in me as a child.

When I first helped the iPiggiBank teacher with the Money Management for Kids workshop, I learned that the wrap up question asked is, “What did you learn or enjoy about today?”.   Initially, I thought that the teacher would have to call on the students to pull words out of their mouths. I expected to hear loved shopping in class, had fun decorating banks, and got out of reading and writing for the day.

My first iPiggiBank Money Management for Kids Workshop with second graders. 

My first iPiggiBank Money Management for Kids Workshop with second graders. 

That’s not what I heard -- or saw.  These kids were on their feet, raising their hands enthusiastically. One student learned how to compare prices and think ahead before spending so that he can make sure he can budget to get what he wants. Another student couldn’t wait to go to the bank to open up an account, after asking all about interest to the bank representative—a word I only learned several years ago. Another child learned to share his money, because at the store he politely asked me if it was okay to buy two notebooks so he could give one to his sister.

Not one student complained that they weren’t given enough money, that they didn’t have the right color marker, or that they hated doing chores. They were fully engaged and were so attentive to the teacher. It was an amazing experience to witness!

Financial literacy is so important. These are lessons that every person needs to learn and skills that they need to apply. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of iPiggiBank, so I can feel that I am helping teach something that I only wish I was taught at a young age.

5 Steps to Teach Kids that Allowance is Serious Business

I have been a parent for nearly a decade and there’s nothing that can make me cringe like the constant barrage of requests to buy something new.  It’s a challenge for even the most disciplined parent to keep saying, ‘sorry, but NO.’ Eventually, you give in and you hear yourself say, ‘FINE, yes, get it.” Is this parent-child dynamic inescapable?

I’m an optimist and say, ‘yes!’ Let’s take a fresh approach and teach our kids the fundamentals of money management starting with earning, saving, sharing and shopping wisely.

Here is a 5 Step-by-Step guide to help bring ‘Can I have . . . ?“ into ‘How can I earn . . . ?“ and shape our kids critical thinking and healthy financial habits.

Step 1: What’s the goal?

We want our kids to know that anything is within their reach but you need a game plan to get there.  Whether it’s completing their daily chores to attain their financial goal or practicing the piano every day to get selected for the school’s recital, a sense of accomplishment and pride in work is a critical life skill. Setting worthy, achievable goals gets kids excited about heading down the path towards future success.

Step 2: Focus on money management skills.

Kids can earn money from chores or age appropriate jobs, like pet sitting, but if you can’t manage your earnings you are out of business. One great way to learn how to manage money when you are younger is to distribute or allocate funds into three separate accounts  -- Save, Share and Shop.  Each account has its own purpose and is available when you need it. This step sets up a strong foundation for healthy financial habits to build on.

Step 3: When in doubt, ask, “Is it a need or a want?”

Walking into a store and seeing everything new and shinny is overwhelming for kids (and grown-ups!) and can throw off the best game plan.  Talk to your kids about needs (e.g., food and water) and wants (e.g., toys and candy) when you are running errands, in the grocery store or driving in the car.  Be assured, it’s not too early to start this conversation and it will help our kids mature a critical life skill that will help them tackle increasingly more substantial choices later in life.

Step 4: Ask, “How did it make you feel?”  

A little reflection goes a long way. By achieving set goals and being financially smart, kids gain confidence and satisfaction with a job well done.  What parent doesn’t appreciate hard work and great attitude? Let’s not forget among the hustle of bustle of life to acknowledge a job well done and grow self-esteem. 

Step 5: Go for it! 

Allowance paves the way for possibilities and opportunities and puts a twinkle in a child’s eye. You only need to see the smile of a successful, summer lemonade “sales-kid” to understand the impact of this one. Let’s encourage our kids to adopt wise money skills and make allowance serious kid business.  

2015 Parent Year in Review

As 2016 approaches, I catch myself auditing my 2015 Parent Year in Review while in line for coffee, en route to a meeting or making school lunches.  I am reminded how impressionable my kids are and how my actions imprint on them.  At the end of the day, we set the examples in which they learn from and, just recently, I was reminded of that when I asked my five year old to make his bed.

After a it's too quiet in there period of time, I peaked in his room and he was stripping his bed  -- no sheets, pillow cases or blanket. He met my what-are-you-doing look of shock with genuine exasperation, “I’m making my bed, that’s what you told me to do! It’s laundry day!” ( It was laundry day -- I had NO idea that he even knew there was a 'laundry day.')

Lesson learned; whether intended or not, our kids learn by watching us.

So, as this year winds down and I assess 2015, I look to the tenets of save, spend and share -- the anchors that helped me launch my company, iPiggiBank, and life anchors in positive modeling.

Save: Did I set an example for my children on the reward of saving for something special? Or, in my haste, did I succumb to the easy, pleasing route – instant gratification? My boys’ have saved their Halloween candy all the way through December so perhaps I have made a dent here.

Spend: Did I spend time with my kids really listening to them, playing with them and seizing teachable moments? Being transparent, there were days that were busier and more overwhelming than others.  I found that carving out additional time can be near impossible, but seizing opportunities in life’s mundane routines worked for my family. For example, I started to make it a practice in 2015 to discuss with my three sons that we have a grocery budget and we cannot throw every sugary cereal into our basket.  This actually works for us (sorry, Fruit Loops).

Share: Did I model for my children how important it is to give back to their community by sharing their time and money? This year, my boys put forth a tremendous team effort to give back to the teachers who, after all, give them one of the greatest gifts of all – the gift of education. They personally delivered hand crafted breakfast trays to the school. Note, I say hand crafted not mom crafted. This is a proud moment that I will cherish for a long time and I look forward to many more sharing moments like this in 2016.

As I reflect on my 2015 Parent Year in Review, I see clearly which seeds have taken root, which are growing, and where I should start planting.

That's the great thing about a new year -- it's a fresh start to embark on being the best you can be. So, let’s set an example of our best selves, after all, our kids are watching.

I challenge other parents to reflect on the past year and share which ways they would build on their parenting successes and challenges. Parenting is a village, I’d love to learn from you.

Happy 2016!