27 Oct 2016

Julie Ann Wriston, “Financial Literacy is a Basic Life Skill”

“Money feels like a bit of a dirty secret… but it shouldn’t be!”

Julie Ann Wriston believes we need to talk more about finances. As a mother of two children and owner of a contracting business, she believes that talking about money with your family is an important step towards financial literacy

“Financial literacy is a basic life skill,” says Julie Ann. “It’s something everyone needs to be mindful of, and a skill you definitely need as you move from childhood to adulthood.

Julie Ann herself learned about the importance of saving and budgeting from her own childhood. Her mother worked for CRA, and always spoke with her and her siblings about the importance of saving for the future and being mindful of your credit ratings.

“She was a single mom after my Dad passed away,” says Julie Ann. “We never had a lot, but Mom always looked for ways to save money. I grew up watching how she worked and saved.”

One of Julie Ann’s earliest memories of having money was of saving it. As a child, a pastor in her church would give her $2, which she always cherished and saved.

“It was always a two-dollar bill,” Julie Ann laughs. “I remember keeping them safe. I even remember ironing them to make them crisp!”

While Julie Ann learned early the importance of saving, she still wishes she had learned more about finances and planning for the future when she was younger.

“We didn’t learn this kind of thing in school,” Julie Ann says. “If I could talk to my younger self, I’d tell myself to set better goals for planning and saving. Money isn’t just the here and now of what you need. You need to look forward and try to keep the big picture in mind.”

Julie Ann and her husband do spend a lot of time teaching their children about financial responsibility. At 8 and 11, Julie Ann believes it is important for her children to get a good understanding of what being financially responsible means.

“We could always do more, but I believe talking with our kids about money is so important,” says Julie Ann. “It is important for them to learn how to responsibly spend and save for the future.”

Julie Ann’s children, like many their age, do chores around the house in exchange for payment. Julie Ann has even engaged her children in caring financially for their pet dog.

“It’s important that they see that having a pet requires not only being responsible for the pet, but that it costs money for food and supplies and vaccinations,” says Julie Ann. “Their small investment in the dog helps them better understand that kind of responsibility.”

While she admits there is always more to learn and that we can all do better when it comes to our finances, Julie Ann is proud of how she has engaged her children in financial literacy.

“Families should talk about money more often,” says Julie Ann. “Our financial health is no different than our physical health. I am learning to be more open with my children about money, and I think that helps me set better goals for the future, too.”

November is financial literacy month. READ Saskatoon and Affinity Credit Union want to help you grow your savings and money management confidence. Last year, we saw hundreds of people from across the province participate. Ways to get involved this year include:

  • Register to get your financial literacy bingo card. This free challenge provides you the opportunity to learn, practice, and grow your money skills.
  • Participate in social media using #piggybankrules and tweet your tips for saving, spending and growing your piggybank. Be sure to tag @readsaskatoon
  • Attend a FREE financial literacy workshop at READ Saskatoon’s new location: #2-706 Duchess Street. There are workshops on: asset building, banking, budgeting, credit, and consumerism. Register today, they will fill up fast.

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