Bankrate: Did you start handling your own money at an early age?
Ridley Pearson: I did. At a very early age, my father included me in the reconciling of his checkbooks. He would read off a check amount and I would check it off his bank statement. It got me doing math early, and I think it was a great lesson to me because I saw where all his money went: to the dry cleaner and this and that. It was fascinating.
Bankrate: What prepared you most for managing your money?
Ridley Pearson: My brother and my mother started this giant dance every week in the summer called The Sound to keep Greenwich kids from driving over to Port Chester, N.Y., getting drunk and killing themselves driving home. We had the Young Rascals there before they were famous and some incredible soul bands. I ended up, at 14, being the accountant for that. I handled huge amounts of cash every Thursday night, thousands and thousands of dollars. We kept it going for two or three summers.
Learning about money at an early age lasts a lifetime.