Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The Fourth Pillar: Give Intentionally

"He who gives while he lives, gets to know where it goes." Percy Ross.

“There are many ways to give. This is my story…” 

When you ask kids and teens what their story is you’ll be inspired. We know - we asked them. 

Four Quarter$ ran a writing contest asking young people, ages 6 - 18, to share their experiences with the power of giving. Wow, what a response!  From right across Canada, the stories came in. They reflected the common held desire young people have to help out and give. 

By showing our children how to Give Intentionally they learn they have the power to make a difference in the world, that purposeful and deliberate action leads to positive change.  It teaches them how to: 

  • acknowledge and celebrate what they have.
  • think about others.
  • show gratitude and say thank you. 
  • inspire others. 
  • feel good about themselves. 
  • make a difference in someone else’s life. 
  • participate in building community. 

How to get them started 

Have a conversation, what they would like to give to family and friends for an upcoming celebration? Encourage them to share, in the many ways they can give - time, talents and money to name a few. 

Give them examples of young people who have given back to their community. Research together, as a family the work done by various charities around the corner and around the world. Talk about where they would like to make a difference for others and how they can make that happen. 

There are many ways to give…let’s ask the children, they will show us the way. 

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Third Pillar: Save Regularly

"With money, it's not what you make it's what you keep" Paul Brown

Want to teach kids how to save? Then talk about what they want to buy! OK sounds like a pretty obvious disconnect, not so, as soon as you get them describing their wants, the conversation about SAVING has begun. 

Brainstorming with them about HOW they will get that item, what it costs and how long it will take to save for it, engages them in the planning. 

Children learn by doing. Having some money to make a plan with, allows them to develop the saving regularly habit. 

They gain confidence by practicing and acquiring skills. 

Teaching them successful saving strategies helps them learn the fundamentals of sound money management. Saving regularly is one of these. It teaches them: 

  • It’s OK to want things and a financially healthy way to get them 
  • How to make and use a money plan, aka “budget” 
  • How to prioritize short and long term goals 
  • Delayed gratification 
  • The "language of money" eg: interest, compounding
  • To always have money set aside 

How to get them started 

Help them make a plan to save some of their money for that item they told you they really want. Remember the two savings accounts we talked about last time? It’s now time to really activate the second account. Why? It holds the money for their mid and longer term goals. 

Show them they already know how to save! Point out to them they are already saving because they have the PAY MYSELF FIRST Account (PMFA). This account holds the money for their long, long term goals. 

Chances are if they are encouraged to save some of their money on a regular basis they‘ll continue to do so.  Now they are on the road to becoming successful savers! 

“If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as getting.” Benjamin Franklin 

Want to learn more? Visit

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Second Pillar: Spend Wisely

"Our necessities never equal our wants." Benjamin Franklin 

It's all about choice! Our children are bombarded daily with consumer products that seduce them into wanting all kinds of things. That goes for all of us, we know how hard it is to resist the temptations. After all, separating us from our money is what marketing is about. 

Teaching our children the difference between needs and wants and making choices about how to spend money, helps them develop an essential life skill and build self-confidence. 
Knowing how to make wise choices empowers our children. It teaches them how to:
  • Live within their means 
  • Avoid bad debt
  • Make a Money Plan
  • Think before they act

How to get them started

Have a conversation:  For young ones, encourage them to make a wish list and talk about what their top two choices would be for spending their money. Introduce the difference between needs and wants and listen to what they see are the differences, when it comes to their wish list. This can be very revealing! 

For teens, encourage them to spend only what they have. How? Don’t advance money until they demonstrate a firm grasp of the difference between needs and wants. 

For the young adults, talk to them about their spending. How it is working for them? What they they change and how?  

Share some of your life experience:  Tell them about some of the choices you've made. What you’ve learned are the differences between needs and wants. 

Remind them learning to spend wisely happens over time and experience is a powerful teacher.

"Life is the sum of all your choices." Albert Camus

Want to learn more?  Visit

The First Pillar “Pay Yourself First”

"The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken” 
Samuel Johnson

Simple words. Powerful actions. Teach your children how to invest in themselves and build a habit that will pay off for years to come. 

It will teach them how to:
  • Save and build the saving habit. 
  • Acquire the skill of living within their means. 
  • Build wealth - getting their money working for them. 
  • Become self-confident in handling money. 
  • Invest in their future. 

How to get them started

Help set them up:  At the bank have them set up two savings accounts, one that holds their regular saving and a second one to hold their "Pay Myself First" money. 

Help them build the habit:  Give them an incentive to get started and keep going! For young ones, give a reward. For teens and young adults match the amount they put in their “Pay Myself First Account” for the first six months. For young adults give them a lump sum to start off a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA).

“A year from now you may wish you had started today” Karen Lamb

Want to learn more? Visit 

The Four Pillars of a Financial Education.

When one teaches, two learn. Robert Half 

Want your kids to learn how to manage money so they will always have some, and it won’t always be yours? Then help them build a firm foundation. Start with the four pillars. 

By showing them a structure to follow, giving them tools, techniques and strategies to use and engaging with them in the learning experience, they are off to building a successful financial future. 

The Four Pillars provides them with this structure. It will serve them through all life stages. As they grow in their knowledge and experience the pillars will continue to support their learning in:
  • Managing their money/cash flow/banking 
  • Distinguishing between needs & wants 
  • Saving for short term and long term goals 
  • Budgeting 
  • Tracking where their money goes 
  • Handling debt - the difference between good & bad debt 
  • Staying Organized 
  • Learning the language of $$ 
  • Understanding financial documents and terms 
  • Protecting their identity 
  • Building wealth 

   Pay-Yourself-First             Spend Wisely            Save Regularly            Give Intentionally   

Want to learn more?  Visit

"A firm foundation is necessary for any building, institution, or individual to endure."
Russell M. Nelson

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Teaching your kids about money? What’s your plan?

“If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.” Chinese proverb 

It’s September, that busy time of making plans for the new school year. As parents we are in that unique position of being our children’s first and most important teachers. 

When it comes to helping them learn about money management and becoming financially literate the information and opportunities are everywhere. We know in today’s world, this is a fundamental part of their education. 

The challenge becomes, with all the information out there, how do we teach them? What do they need to learn and what do we want them to know? How do we talk to them about money? 

Financial education happens over time so we “start as we wish to continue”… with a conversation or better yet a series of conversations. By encouraging our children to talk about their hopes and dreams; how they plan to achieve them and what they think the costs will be, we are giving them the message that money is not a taboo subject. It's good to talk about and in a positive way. 

As parents we make all kinds of plans for our children’s education. Making one for teaching them how to manage their money is a very good place to start. It all starts with a conversation and a plan. 

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” 
Alan Lakein 

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Welcome to the four quarter$ blog

We want to help parents teach their kids how to become great Money Managers.

It is up to us, as parents, to ensure our children are learning the skills that allow them to become financially self-sufficient. The buck (literally) stops with us! 

How do we do this? Over the next weeks, months (and years!), we’ll look at the resources that support the learning, sharing tips, techniques and strategies that work. 

Most importantly this will be the place that you - parents and grandparents - can share your hopes, dreams and concerns as you teach your children to become great money managers. 

We can do this together. Let's make it so.