Pamela George’s enthusiasm for financial literacy is infectious. She beams as she speaks.
“It’s in my bones. My mother was an illiterate single parent. She had her own roti shop back home in Trinidad. She was a great business woman who knew where every last penny was. She was my inspiration.”
The author of Three Little Piggy Banks, the soon to be released financial literacy book for children, also cites a Canadian influence in her life.
“A number of years ago, I was at the launch of Financial Literacy Month, and heard Wealthy Barber author, and television Dragon, speak. Now, I’ve always been a frugal person. In my early days in Canada, I felt somewhat embarrassed being frugal. There is such an emphasis on consumption here. After listening to him tell his stories about his own frugal ways, I felt good about the way I live.”
Pamela currently is a Credit Counsellor with a non-profit organization. She was, for a number of years, a Financial Aid Officer at Algonquin College. It was there that the seeds were sown for her new book.
“I used to find the January term very difficult. Students had saved for the fall term, didn’t have enough of their own money for January, and their parents weren’t in a position to help. The parents may have been living within their means, but were not in a position to help due to heavy debt load. It can be crippling. Many times, students had to postpone their studies. I found that to be very hard.”
She was aware that financial literacy was not taught at any point in the formal education system. There was a void that she felt that she could address with her knowledge and experience.
“I worked on a manuscript that explained finances and credit to teenagers. When I finished writing that, I realized that this was too late of an age to start talking about financial literacy. We need to explain it much earlier.”
A decision was made to shelve that book, and write what became Three Little Piggy Banks, a story about basic principles of personal financial management for 4 to 8 year olds.
The story follows Ella and Andy, twins who soon will be having their sixth birthday.
Rather that receiving much wished for presents of a bicycle and camera, the two each receive three piggy banks.
Their parents explain that one piggy bank is for saving, one is for sharing, and the third is for spending their weekly allowance.
“In that order.” Pamela is quick to point out.
The story, which is illustrated by Meredith Luce, and published by , follows the twins as they set goals, distribute their weekly $3 allowance, and track their activities. There are notes for parents and teachers wishing to implement the Three Little Piggy Banks plan.
“I’m hoping that educational institutions will embrace the message that this book brings. I would love to go into schools to talk financial literacy.”
There are further books planned that will address financial issues that older children face, such as opening their first bank account.
“It is important that we talk openly about money, and share knowledge with children and teens. Financial literacy is so important to the way we live. I’m so happy that Three Little Piggy Banks will help. And I know that my Mother would be very pleased.”