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An interview with author Annie Chisambo

Annie Chisambo has written a collection of books aimed at children to help them learn to manage their pocket money and build money management skills for the future. Good work Annie! We asked her a few questions about what motivated her to get started and what she thinks of the financial education kids are getting today.


1. What is your background in finance?

My career in finance started over 27 years ago. My first job was working for Save the Children charity as a bookkeeper, in Malawi. I moved up the ranks till I was the assistant to the finance manager. I migrated to the United Kingdom and worked in various financial roles within the NHS and the local authority, before founding Elshaddai Money Training; which specialises in teaching money matters.

2. What made you want to create this book?

While working for the Local Authority I recall a certain month where I didn’t budget my personal money properly. I ended up not having any money for transport to take me to and from work. My only option was to walk. It took me an hour and a half to get to work and another hour and a half to get back home. The long walks gave me time to think about what the children were being taught in schools. I visited my local library to find out if they had any money matters books for children. They had none! I decided to write the book to help kids learn to manage their money.

3. What are your thoughts on the financial education currently in place for young people in schools?

More needs to be done. The main issue is that a high percentage of teachers struggle to deliver financial education effectively, so lessons tend to be sporadic. Young people leave school with a very patchy idea of how the financial system works and end up making costly mistakes. Currently Financial education is only compulsory in government funded schools. This means some young people don’t get taught at all!

4. Do you think there are any areas that children should be taught about, and aren’t?

I believe greater emphasis needs to be placed on teaching our children basic life skills, such as being able to sew a button on a shirt, changing the light bulb, cooking a simple meal and face to face communication skills. Our children should be encouraged to pursue interests they excel in and be taught that it’s ok to dream.

5. Many people are concerned that a ‘cashless society’ is on its way, do you agree? If so, do you think this is a negative thing?

I agree but I don’t believe it’s anything to be concerned about. It’s just a different way of transacting. We’ll soon be witnessing a decline in the use of cash machines but an increase in the use of apps. The most important thing is to educate our society in how the system works, so enabling them to make well informed decisions with regards to managing their money.

6. What was it about goHenry that made you want to talk about it on your radio show on AllFM - the money show?

It was the first time I had heard of a card with parental control, and I wanted the whole world to know about it! I was so excited because go Henry cards give children the hands on experience within the confines of their parents’ watchful eye. I love the fact that parents are aware of how their children are spending their pocket money and are in a position to advise them accordingly.

goHenry, a unique earning, saving and spending solution. Perfect for parents with children from 8-18.

I’m the Community Manager at goHenry, a unique solution that makes managing pocket money really easy for parents whilst empowering young people to earn, save and spend responsibly. My colleagues and I are passionate about giving families the tools they need to have positive conversations with their children about money and how technology can become a part of that. I love talking to parents about their family’s experiences as well as researching and writing about stuff that can help children achieve great things as they grow up!

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