Second set in the series due out this fall
By Markham Hislop
A new series of books from Calgary financial planner and Beacon columnist Tammy Johnston is designed to help parents teach kids kids about money from an early age.
The books are written for ages eight to 12 and cover topics like how money works, goal setting, budgeting and understanding credit. Johnston says it’s important that kids understand everything they want in life has to be paid for.
Nine-year old daughter Ayla has been Johnston’s guinea pig over the years. For instance, Ayla has been using the “budget jars” since she was in kindergarten. Her mother provided her with six jars: play, financial freedom, charity, gifts, long-term savings, education.
“She knows when she gets her allowance every week that the money goes into each of the jars,” explains Johnston. Then Ayla must decide how to allocate her money to buy what she wants.
“For instance, the scholastic book order at school, that money comes out of her education jar. If she wants to donate to a charity at school or give to her church, that comes out of the charity jar,” said Johnston.
“It’s a very simple system and kids totally get it.”
Johnston talked to her daughter’s friends to ensure children that age would be interested in the concepts explained in the book.
“Kids can understand complex concepts much better than parents give them credit for,” she said. “It’s how those concepts are explained. Kids are very smart.”
The 39-year old entrepreneur explains that keeping money management principles simple when children are young gives them a solid foundation to master more sophisticated concepts when they are adults.
“In the second series of books that’s coming out this fall, we’ll be discussing more complex ideas like compound interest and inflation,” she said.
The series is called Financial Foundations and Johnston says they have proved to be very popular with parents and grandparents. One of the reasons for the popularity of the series is the beautiful illustrations painted by Calgary artist Janice Blaine, who also works part-time for Johnston in her financial planning business. The water-colour illustrations make the money management concepts come alive for children.
“I just had a woman order the series for her 18-year old daughter. She told me she could talk until she’s blue in face because I’m her mom, so I’m getting these for her,” Johnston said.
Ten dollars from the sale of a series of books is donated to World Vision Canada, Johnston’s favourite charity. Charities who want to sell the books as a fundraiser through their websites keep the money as a donation.
The first book set (Foundation) is now available for $42 and can be ordered online. The series covers:
- Learning how money works,
- Goal setting,
- Simple and effective budgeting,
- Understanding the facts about credit,
- How daily choices affect our lives,
- How to keep a long term perspective and balance in life.