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Financial "Cents" from the littlest mermaid

Janel Chaix Evans
October 27, 2017

Teaching young people the critical skills they need to make solid financial decisions is the focus of Financial Cents, a web-based financial education program sponsored by Hancock and Whitney Bank. By opening students’ eyes through this program, our hope is that they will realize there is a world of opportunity waiting for them. We believe a child is never too young to learn about financial responsibility. And here’s a great example:

Nine-year-old Landry Veuleman of Mandeville, LA spent her summer the way most kids who live in Southeast Louisiana do – in the pool. This summer was a special – it was her first time participating on a swim team. She made many friends, several of whom would bring mermaid tails to use for fun after practice. While Landry didn’t have a mermaid tail of her own, her friends would let her borrow theirs; and she found she swam much more elegantly with it. The combination of loving the water so much and the fact that most every little girl has dreamed of being a mermaid made Landry even more determined - she needed a mermaid tail of her own.

Financial "Cents" from the littlest mermaid

Landry began to research prices for the mermaid tail and learned that the $50 price tag was too steep for the $15 allowance money she had saved. She also knew that only earning $1 a day would take her over a month to purchase the tail –and the clock was ticking for the end of summer. She’s always had such an entrepreneurial spirit for a nine-year-old – selling lemonade last year for Louisiana flood victims and selling cupcakes earlier this year at her parents’ yard sale. Her parents had always fronted the money for the supplies in those business ventures, but let her know that next time she’d have to invest in her own business in order to keep or donate all of those profits. With $15, she knew she could buy lemonade mix, cups and ice. And luckily, her dad had just rebuilt a fence in the yard and she could use the old fence to construct a lemonade stand. “Landry’s Lemonade” was born. 

Landry and her dad, Cory began to build the stand. Financial "cents" from the littlest mermaidWithin an hour’s time and with a little paint, her “storefront” was complete. A trip to the local neighborhood market was where she took the knowledge her parents taught her about investing and was able to purchase her needed supplies for only $12.00. Her next wise business move was to plan for all possible contingencies – Saturday afternoon’s weather forecast called for rain, so she had to change her business hours and open from 9am-noon rather than the noon–3pm she planned. She made signs, relied on word of mouth and benefitted from the use of social media with her parents both posting about Landry’s Lemonade on Facebook and Instagram. 

Financial "Cents" from the littlest mermaid

Saturday morning came and thankfully, it was a hot one. Neighbors, friends, family and those seeing her signs stopped by to buy Landry’s Lemonade. At her $1.00 price point, Landry was quickly able to see a return on her investment. Her presentation technique was also a special touch – a unique message written on each cup by Landry herself. 

At close of business, Landry had made $50.00, a profit of $38.00. When she added her already saved up allowance (minus her investment), she had enough to buy her mermaid tail! Not only did she learn at the young age of 9 about investing in her business to return a profit, she also learned other valuable lessons such as financial responsibility, appreciation for the things you work hard for, and future growth for higher profitability. Landry’s next venture: “I want to open my stand again soon to make money for my Halloween costume…” She’s got plans to add more products to her stand like cupcakes, move to a location with more visibility, add banners and balloons to her stand to attract more attention and hire her friends to help. Financial "Cents" from the littlest mermaid

Financial literacy is not part of the public or private education curriculum, and many young people make financial mistakes in early adulthood that take years to repair. Financial Cents educates them before they're faced with real world situations, preparing them to be successful and financially responsible adults. As we kickoff another year of this major initiative to deliver important financial education to elementary, middle school and high school students across our five-state footprint, Hancock and Whitney Bank's goal is to say that we helped these children achieve their financial hopes and dreams.

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