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Reading, writing and Buffett?
New Zealander trying to boost financial literacy through teachings of Warren Buffett

 Lucas Remmerswaal is promoting children's books extolling financial literacy based on the lessons of Warren Buffett.
BILL FREEHLING/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 11/25/2012

BY BILL FREEHLING

A New Zealander on a mission to increase the financial literacy of children through the lessons of Warren Buffett made a stop in the Fredericksburg area this past week.

Lucas Remmerswaal visited the region as part of a trip to the U.S. to work on and promote his children's books about the habits that have made Buffett one of the world's wealthiest men. Those habits include working hard, saving money to invest, reading constantly, avoiding borrowed money and living with integrity.

Among Remmerswaal's activities while in the area were speaking to a group of elementary school students in Stafford County and selling some books to Jabberwocky in downtown Fredericksburg.

Remmerswaal's books are called "The Tale of Tortoise Buffett" and "The A-Z of 13 Habits." More books are planned. He's also developed an iPad app around the books, which use cartoon depictions of Buffett and draw on the lessons the billionaire investor has taught through many decades of annual shareholder letters.

Remmerswaal, who formerly worked in New Zealand as a financial adviser and insurance broker, has read just about all those letters as well as many books about Buffett. He attended the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting in 2010 and 2011.

In 2010 he posed a question of Buffett during one of the hours-long Q&A sessions at the annual meeting. The question regarded what the so-called Oracle of Omaha would teach children about what leads to success. Buffett's answer, urging children to develop good habits, has become the cornerstone of Remmerswaal's approach.

Remmerswaal travels cheaply, finding people who will allow him to stay on their couch. His goal is to share the books with 100 million children around the world. He recently took a bicycle trip all over New Zealand, meeting with many students along the way.

Remmerswaal, who has six children and is 52, thinks it's terrible that schools don't do more to teach basic financial literacy. He's trying to change that, and in doing so he hopes parents will discover the financial lessons Buffett has laid out in his shareholder letters.

"My job is to be a billboard for Buffett," Remmerswaal said. "There's a huge need for this because they don't teach it in school."

Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405
Email: bfreehling@freelancestar.com