Talking to My 4-Year-Old About Wells Fargo


Mandy Moody, CFE
ACFE Content Manager

“Mom, what is the guy’s name again who stole all of the money?” This question from my 4-year-old was yet another reminder to me that I need to be careful what I talk about in front of her. She is pretty much the opposite of my husband; she listens to everything.

Two days ago when the news broke that Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf was resigning, I was in the car with her on our way home from her preschool. She overheard me call my co-worker to tell her that he was stepping down and to tweet something on our Twitter account. She could hear the excitement in my voice; excitement from knowing that someone was being held somewhat accountable for the millions of dollars taken and numerous fake accounts created over the past 10+ years. She asked me what happened and I told her that someone had stolen a lot money from people and that he was going to leave his job because he was in trouble.

“Is he a bad guy?” she asked.

“Well, he did something bad, and now he has to say he is sorry and stop what he is doing,” I said. That was the best I could come up with after an eight-hour workday.

“But, we are good guys, right, Mom?”

“Yeah, we are the good guys,” I told her.

So, flash forward 24 hours and she wants to talk about John Stumpf again on our way home from school. Honestly, I think she just likes saying his name. I reminded her of the story again and this time I told her that I get to work with people every day who try very hard to keep people like John Stumpf from stealing money. I told her that I love meeting these people and helping them stop anyone who wants to take something that isn’t theirs.

I then told her that she could grow up and be anything she wanted to be. Yes, I am one of those moms that constantly reminds her that she can do anything boys can do and can do anything she works really hard at (except soccer; I’m pretty sure that ship has sailed). I told her she could be a teacher like her daddy or a writer like me. I told her she could be a business owner like our neighbor who I am pretty sure she loves more than me. I told her she could be an animal doctor or a mail carrier (she’s obsessed with mail carriers). I then told her she could be someone who helps people keep their money safe; someone who works hard to always do the right thing even when it is hard. I didn’t explain the Certified Fraud Examiner to her because we all know that would lead to something about frogs, but I did tell her about how dedicated these people are to make sure we stay the “good guys.”

So, it was no surprise to me when I then asked what she wanted to be when she grows up that she answered without hesitation and with eyes beaming, “I want to be a leopard!”