Raising financially savvy children — new book for kids shines a light on money matters

11 August 2021 - 14:30 By Catherine Pate
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Knowledge is power, as the saying goes, and this is particularly true when it comes to financial wellbeing.

Many money problem people face could have been avoided if financial literacy were taught earlier in life. Knowledge helps create a foundation for children to build strong money habits early on and avoid many mistakes that lead to lifelong money struggles.

In response to this, financial wellness coach, mom and author Jean Archary has produced a children’s book titled Mrs Spiggles and Her Money Tales which shares important money messages with children and aims to set them on a path to financial wellbeing in the future.

Mrs Spiggles is a flying piggy bank come to life. In the book, she imparts four key money messages in short stories. The first, titled Taylor’s Birthday Surprise, is about how money is earned and the importance of budgeting.

The second story, Tiyan Loses a Tooth, teaches about the importance of saving for what you want.

In the third story, Amo Takes Dad Shopping, children will learn how to spend money wisely and to purchase what you need before buying what you want.

The final story in the collection, Taria Has a Bad Dream, teaches about the value of money and the importance of giving to those who are less fortunate.

Each story relays an important money message, and the book is appropriate for children between the ages of six and 11.

At the end of each story there is a list of questions that can be used to test your child’s understanding of the concepts relayed.

“You will be amazed by the profound conversations that occur,” said Archary, who explained that she decided to write this children’s book because she wants to help parents equip their children with the habits, skills and knowledge required to better manage their finances so they can create and sustain the lives they want.

“American poet Maya Angelou said ‘when we know better, we do better’. During the course of my career in financial services I have witnessed many adults make disastrous financial mistakes that could have been avoided with proper knowledge and guidance. My hope is the book will be the stepping stone for a future of financial savviness for the next generation.”

The inspiration for Mrs Spiggles: “I will never forget the day that started this journey. My daughter was about six, and I was doing the afternoon school run. It was extremely hot and I suggested we stop for an ice cream. She wanted one from a fast-food outlet that cost about R5. However, this detour was in the opposite direction of home so I suggested we get an ice cream from the nearby supermarket. I bought three ice creams costing R20 each and when we got home, I mentioned these ice creams were expensive. Her response was: ‘What do you mean, Mommy?’

“Having worked in financial services, and having delivered financial educational talks to adults, I found myself struggling to explain the concept of ‘expensive’ in a way that would make sense to her.

“I went to the bookstore to find a book that would assist with unpacking the details. To my surprise, I could not find any age-appropriate books relating to money. This triggered an idea, and this was how Mrs Spiggles was born.

“Initially, I had planned to write only one book, but when I sat down to brainstorm, I realised there were too many money messages that needed to be explained. This was how a series of stories came about. My daughter’s drawing of a piggy bank inspired the idea for the character Mrs Spiggles, so in effect we co-created the book.”

Our childhood plays a huge role in who we become as adults. Archary said the first memory she has of money is not pleasant. After years of stability and wealth, her family experienced a financial collapse, and after her parents split when she was eight her mother raised her and her siblings single-handedly.

“These changes brought about a rude awakening. All of a sudden, money was always short and this placed a restriction on many of the things we needed and wanted.

“However, I do not view this experience as a negative. In fact, I am grateful for the lessons I learnt along the way, and this is what ultimately led me to become a financial wellness coach and allow me to empower others about money so they can avoid financial mistakes so many make.”

  • Article courtesy of Catherine Pate on behalf of CP Communications

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