October 20, 2011

Warren Buffett, Jay-Z Team for Animated Financial Series

Web videos follow adventures of kids as they tackle financial emergencies

Warren Buffett, an avid ukulele player, will lend his vocal talents to an animated Web series. (Photo: AP) Warren Buffett, an avid ukulele player, will lend his vocal talents to an animated Web series. (Photo: AP)

Warren Buffett is obviously “known” as a financial wizard, now he’ll become one—literally.

The New York Times reports the "Oracle of Omaha" is starring in “Secret Millionaires Club,” an animated Web series “that follows the adventures of a group of kids as they tackle financial emergencies, like low-performing lemonade stands and troubled bicycle shops. The club, which meets in a secret bunker outfitted with hidden laptops, is led by a trusty financial wizard. Who? Well, Mr. Buffett, of course.”

"I saw an opportunity to have a good time and maybe get a fair number of kids in this country started with the right financial habits," Buffett told New York Times DealBook on Tuesday. "Learning at the starting line is so important."

As the paper reports, Buffett is not the only well-known mogul to lend his voice to the project"

“The rapper Jay-Z, or ‘Jay’ as Mr. Buffett calls him, also makes a cameo in one of the clips. ‘It was not a tough sell, believe me,’ Mr. Buffett said, citing the musician's interest in financial education and his chops as a wealthy entrepreneur.’”

"He's a real business man, I'm just pretending," Buffett told The Times.

The Times notes the series, which originally appeared on the Web in 2009, was co-founded by Buffett and Andrew Heyward, creator of "Inspector Gadget" and head of A Squared Entertainment. It is part of a larger education program aimed at improving financial literacy among kids.

The genesis of the project in part came from a presentation at his grandson's fifth grade class. Buffett said he struggled to connect to the students, since he was not sure how much they knew.

"I was sort of staggering around a bit and then I started talking about Coca-Cola and I mentioned that they had a secret formula."

Suddenly, according to the newspaper, he had the attention of the entire class, as nearly every hand went up. For kids, he said, "the magic of the word 'secret' is important."

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