Teaching Children the Merits of Saving, Sharing and Giving


Saving money was a lesson J.P. Morgan’s David Li learned from his parents while growing up in Cambridge, Mass.

“I came from very humble beginnings,” said Li who immigrated with his parents from China at age 5.

“My father made his earnings from tips as a hotel server and at the end of each night, he would give me his spare change to put in my piggy bank,” Li said. “My father helped me learn the concept of delayed gratification, spending and saving.”

Thrift is a value Li espouses as both a financial advisor with J.P. Morgan Wealth Management and as a father of two young girls, age 5 and 7. He encourages his daughters to save their money and spend it wisely.

“I believe it is important to promote healthy financial education and literacy at a young age,” Li said.

Li, who just turned 40, leads a 9-person team that serves clients from four East Coast offices located in Boston, New York, Palm Beach, Fla., and Miami.

Since 2017, Li has been selected as a Forbes-SHOOK Top Wealth Advisor in both the Next-Gen and Best-In-State designations. In addition, Li’s team was named to the Forbes-SHOOK Best-in-State Teams list (2023).

In October, Li won the Forbes-SHOOK Best Idea Contest. Judges liked Li’s idea of distributing a trio of cardboard banks, 8×4 inches in size, to parents and grandparents. Each bank carries a label designating its purpose: spending, sharing or saving.

Li explained how the savings plan works at home with his children: “My seven-year-old daughter will do a chore that her little sister might have missed. Part of the funds she received from us for doing her chores, she puts in savings,” Li said.

Li added: “My daughter would put some of the money in her spend bucket and then she would take a little bit of it to share with her younger sister who missed out on that activity.”

Li said the goal is to get young savers to compartmentalize wealth similar to the way advisors classify assets. With just one bank, he said savers tend to save for future spending. Li said his approach forces savers to think more about the purpose behind their savings.

“The response has been incredibly positive. A lot of our client families are thinking about ways to engage with their children,” Li said.

Li added: “One client said to me that this idea is so much better than a piggy bank where my daughter just wanted to spend everything in it.”

“The idea is to help children think through these concepts of delayed gratification, saving, and being thoughtful about sharing with their loved ones,” Li said. “These are concepts that are near and dear to all our clients.”

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