Mélanie Boulet is a second-grade teacher at De la Découverte Elementary School in Ottawa, Ontario. Mélanie believes that financial education should begin as early as possible. When she is in class with her students, she finds opportunities to teach them the value of money.
Mélanie's parents played a key role in teaching her the basic financial principles she lives by today. “As a young child, I had my own savings account at the bank, in which I would deposit my babysitting and summer camp earnings. My parents also taught me the importance of discipline, for example, setting aside a certain amount of your money as savings and a certain amount for spending." Her parents' good advice paid off, as Mélanie was finally able to buy what she had been saving for: a car and a house.
To save for other future projects, Mélanie recently opened her very first tax-free savings account (TFSA). Before going ahead with this new form of saving, she researched TFSAs in various ways, including consulting FCAC's tip sheets. "My research answered many of my questions, like: What should I ask my financial institution? Can I negotiate or not? And, in this case, I was very happy to find out that I could."
Like most young adults, Mélanie is nowhere near retirement, but she believes that it's never too early, or too late, to start saving for it. "We have to think about it, we have to keep retirement in mind precisely so that it doesn't become stressful later in life."
This success story is part of a series of testimonials that can be viewed on FCAC's website at fcac.gc.ca.
My name is Mélanie Boulet. I am a second-grade teacher at École élémentaire catholique de la Découverte in Ottawa, Ontario. I love a lot of things about the world of teaching. There is always something new going on, and a smile on a student's face in the morning makes me happy. Of course, I want to teach my students all sorts of things, which is why I try to tailor my teaching techniques so I can reach all the students in my classroom.
I believe that financial education should begin as early as possible. I can tell you that kids in second grade are beginning to understand money. I show them what nickels and dimes are, and that helps them learn to count. Also, once a week, they are allowed to purchase a privilege with their money; but they know that if they hold onto their money for another week, they will be able to buy something bigger, something they want a bit more, like time to play with the interactive board.
I wanted to see the world and travel before starting my teaching career, so I decided to go to work as a stewardess for Air Canada. I mainly visited developing countries, and my experiences there showed me just how unimportant consumerism is. But kids today, the kids in my class, need a Wii, need an iPod, need all those things to be happy; but that's not the case everywhere. So if we change the way we bring up our kids today, maybe we can change the future.
From a very young age, my parents taught me the importance of saving. As a young child I had my own savings account at the bank, where I would deposit my babysitting and summer camp money. My parents also taught me the importance of discipline. For example, setting aside a certain percentage of your money for savings and another percentage for spending. This was very effective, because I've been able to buy a car and a house. So if you have dreams and you know what you want, it's easier to put money aside for them because you want them more than anything else.
Consumers have many tools available to help them start saving. And the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada's website has a number of publications, including an interactive tool to help consumers choose the best savings account for their personal needs.
I found the answers to many of my questions. For example, I read the about opening a tax-free savings account (TFSA) and found the information I was looking for. The answers the site provides are very specific. What questions should I ask financial institution? Am I allowed to negotiate or not? I was very happy to find out that I could. These are things people around me don't talk about. The website had very concrete answers to those questions.
Of course, retirement isn't exactly a big priority for people my age. Buying a car and a home and looking after our children is much more important. But we have to think about it. We have to keep retirement in mind precisely so that it doesn't become stressful later in life.
When I get to that age, I want to be able to continue travelling. I want to be able to do what I want, when I want. And I know that to have that kind of freedom, I will have to have some money saved up so I can do what I want to do comfortably.
It's never too early, or too late, to start saving your money and working toward the life you want to live.