A long time ago….in a hospital not too far away a little boy was born on a snowy December day. I decided to write this weeks post about this little boy because his financial decisions have been a huge part of where my husband and I are today. His name is Caleb, and he is my son, and the inspiration behind a children’s book that would lead to a life changing career.
You see, my husband and I were always financially savvy. We started investing in our early 20’s and when we settled down and started a family, Caleb was born and a little over a year later, his sister Maya. We wanted a way to teach our young children about money and the different ways it could used. We loved reading to our children and started looking for a children’s book that we could cuddle and read with them that would impart good financial values at an early age but we could not find one. So instead, we decided to give Caleb 4 Piggy banks and label them for SPENDING, SAVING, SHARING and SCHOOLING.
Now after about a year of having Caleb learn to budget the money that he received from his allowance, from gifts for his birthday and at Christmas, we started to see that he was becoming very aware of what things cost and how to use his money wisely. I decided at that point to write a story and call it “The 4 Little Pigs” (a financial values book for children) and share the story of how Caleb used the money from each of his piggy banks.
We published the book and in its first year we received a Mom’s Choice award and a Moonbeam Children’s book award and were invited to New York City to attend book expo America to do a book signing and meet other authors. It was a great experience but the one question we kept being asked was -we love the book, but where can we buy the piggy banks?
That started the development of the 4 Piggies Financial Kit for Kids. These kits contained the book along with the 4 piggy banks and were a big hit, selling online through our website, at book stores, toy stores, and through vendor trade shows. Over the years, as a family we shared our story and together we sold over 5000 copies of the book and 2000 financial kits for kids.
Then, a few years back our lives would forever be changed when my husband who had worked for the government for 18 years was restructured out of his job. It was at this point that we both transitioned into the financial industry and started the company Forward Finances. It was Caleb who ultimately came up for the name for our company (something that he likes to remind us of quite often). We thought with our new careers in the financial industry that it would be perfect timing to do a re-print of “The 4 Little Pigs”.
It’s different now that Caleb and Maya are teenagers. They will forever have a legacy in a children’s book that teaches kids about budgeting and financial values. They have their own aspirations and hopes and dreams and I have no doubt that they will do great things in their lifetime. But, for now, they are quite happy to help out on our 4 Piggies website and fill book orders. As a family we try to get out in the community especially around Christmas time to give back and participate in some vendor shows in our area to bring awareness and answer questions that people have about teaching their children about money or maybe need some guidance with their own insurance and retirement planning.
This Saturday December 2nd our family will be out in the community in Brighton, Ontario and it will be especially emotional for me. You see, this Saturday is also my son Caleb’s 15th birthday. I am happy that we will be spending the day together as a family and I’m sure we will reflect throughout the day on how 15 years ago this child would come into our lives and change them for the better in ways that we never could have ever dreamed of. Happy 15th Birthday Caleb!
Jeanette Ramnarine resides in Belleville, ON where she and her husband are co-owners of Forward Finances. Her work and financial advice for families has appeared in various forms of media including newspaper, magazine, blogs and television. She is a licensed insurance broker and investment advisor, bringing a unique and creative approach to her clients with her knowledge and expertise in estate planning and wealth preservation.