All About Sunny Istar Lee Aka “The Eagle Mom”
“She shines light and speaks life to others”
Could you tell us about yourself a little?
I grew up in a small town in South Korea as the youngest of four children. Watching my parents barely meet their basic needs, I decided to work hard to become financially independent.
As a young kid, I did all kinds of chores at home to earn money, and saved every penny in my checking account. Later, I invested my savings into business and real estate. That’s how my own financial journey began and it continued it ever since.
How did your business commence?
From a young age, I was always interested in helping people and being financially secure. Years ago, when I immigrated to the US, it was the reason I created Good Life Advisors, an insurance agency in Los Angeles, California. It occurred between 2007 and 2008 during the second worst financial crisis in the US economic history since the Great Depression.
At that time, many people felt hopeless and I wanted to be of assistance. So my team and I focused on helping people getting their financial house in order. Along with that, I wrote many finance related articles for the local newspapers, and was a frequent guest on neighborhood news stations. Mainly, I talked about how to weather the financial storms and come out stronger. To my company and me, that crisis was like a blessing in disguise. As a financial advisor, I collaborate with people for their retirement, wealth transfer, and risk management planning. It brings me joy to know my clients are secure about their financial future. It’s a great privilege and honor.
What motivated you to write “Is Your Child a Money Master or a Money Monster?”
My life experiences. Because of my difficult childhood, I often thought to myself, “When I become a mother, I will help my kids about money as early as possible.” And I promised myself, “I will try my best to become the best mom to them.”
Fortunately, this aspiration came true when I became a mother to my twin sons Jason and Matthew. I began their money education when they were just two years old. I taught them the Seven Habit System I developed for them. In order to help them to become Money Masters, I created the many reward charts to encourage them to earn more and reach higher. It worked magically.
With the confidence and momentum I gained along the way, I wrote a book ‘Is Your Child a Money Master or a Money Monster?” The messages from the book were well received in my community, and the local media including LA Magazine and CBS News responded immediately. As a result, I was invited to speak at many small and large events to share about the importance of teaching kids financial responsibility. One of them was the Million Dollar Round Table Annual Meeting in 2017 and 2018.
What was your most memorable speaking experience?
That would be the 2017 Million Dollar Round Table Annual Event in Orlando, Florida. I spoke to more than 14,000 financial professionals from all around the world during the MDRT SPEAKS. It was intimidating at first, to even think about it but later I simply focused on clearly delivering my message. Everything went smoothly after that.
Following the event, some of the members offered free translations of the book into their own languages. They expressed the importance of sharing this message with the people in their country. Thanks to their vision and support, now my book is translated into Portuguese, Korean, Chinese and Spanish. Wow! The power of believing created these new realities beyond my wildest dreams.
What is your plan for the next five years?
At the present, I am creating a one-stop solution called “The Money Master Kids Smart Toolbox.” It’s designed to help parents teach their children this important life skill. “Money Master Kids Reward Chart Book” will be launched soon as well as the “Money Master Kids” online program. Once completed, this program will enable people anywhere in the world to educate their own children and others to be Money Masters. I also love to see my Money Master Kids programs used as a part of school curriculum.
What do you enjoy when you are not working?
I like to be continually active. When I am not working, I do something else, like playing with my kids, cleaning the house, or pruning the plants. My mother was like that; she rarely was sitting doing nothing at home. That is hereditary, I guess. From time to time, I play a guitar (still amateur), read stimulating books, and watch good movies with my family. My favorite genre is the mysterious action-adventure such as Sherlock Holmes.
As a former journalist, I also like to take pictures, record videos and create something to watch or listen to. In my family, it’s a tradition to watch “Lee Family Movies” on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I would like this family tradition to continue.
Tell us about your family. Feel free to brag a little?
My family is a gift from God. I married my best friend Thomas. His favorite place in this world is HOME, as he often exclaimed. Thomas is a good Christian man who loves God and his family more than anything else.
I have twin sons Jason and Matthew, my most precious treasures in my treasure box. They are now 14(as of 2018) years old, and are high achievers academically. As straight A honor class students, they love to study a variety of subjects. They also like to play basketball, read books, and play musical instruments. Jason plays the guitar, and Matthew plays drums and ukulele. After high school, they both want to go to a medical school to be doctors. Who will pay for their college education? They will! We are all very clear about that thanks to their early money education with me. Recently one of my sons said to me, “When I have my own kids, I want to raise them in the same way that we have been raised about money.” And the other son said “Mom, whatever you did to us since we were young was good. I want to do the same way to my children.” How encouraging!
How do you define success and your mission?
Dr. Myles Monroe defined success as “the completion and the successful fulfillment of the original intent or purpose for our existence.” Jack Canfield said “Once we yield to this inclination for continuous and never-ending improvement, we lead a life of endless accomplishments and satisfaction.” I also agree.
I believe we are all born with a seed of greatness, God-given gifts, abilities, talents and a unique purpose to fulfill in life. It’s up to us what to do with it. Many years ago, I decided to fulfill my purpose during my lifetime. What is my purpose? One of them is to complete the Money Master Kids Programs to empower kids to be Money Masters. I will continue to work hard in collaboration with others through various resources and opportunities.
Mother Teresa once said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” I would like to create many ripples in this area of kids’ money mastery and financial responsibility. Of course I alone cannot do it. That’s why I need to work together with others continuously until the day this dream comes true.
Anything else you want to add?
One more, in case you wonder about middle name, Istar means “Esther” which also means “stars.” According to the findings from UCSB, there are about 10 billion galaxies in the observable universe. Assuming an average of 100 billion stars per galaxy means that there are about 1 billion trillion stars in the universe! I want to make a positive difference in the lives of others as many as the stars in the sky. “The Eagle Mom” idea actually came from Steve Harrison, Co-founder of Bradly Communications last September(2018). He said,”Sunny, you should create a YouTube Channel, and you should go by the “Eagle Mom!.” I really liked his idea. In my book, I also mentioned about how an eagle mom trains her eaglets. Anyway, I hope the above gives you some insight into what makes me “Me.” What a life!
“You are a winner. You are a Rockstar.” Jack Canfield, America’s#1 Success Coach
“Sunny is a Family and Finance Rockstar.” Ricky Young, Radio Host
“You are Queen Esther in financial world.” Rachel K, Spiritual Leader