It’s all about money!

It was one of those watershed moments for Patti Smith. A Human Resources manager with a downtown Toronto Hospital, Patti worked with employees from 37 different countries, mostly eastern European. One night, when an employee passed away from a heart attack right at the hospital, Patti was tenderly trying to deal with the man’s wife. The woman didn’t speak English so translation about pension benefits, the process of filling out dorms, government benefits etc fell to the English speaking 8 year old daughter. The woman didn’t know if their was a morgage on their house, if they had bank accounts and where they were. This little girl, who had just lost her father, was trying to explain to her mother what she had to do to survive.

“I remember thinking this was so wrong on so many levels. Young people and women (and men) need to know the basics of money.”

Patti was stunned at how little people know about money and about their roles around money.

She vowed to do something about it.

Now self employed in Barrie as a prosperity consultant for small businesses, Patti has designed a series of workshops for teenagers on How to Manage Money. Billed as ‘helping increase the financial intelligence of humanity’ Patti zeroes in on Money Boot Camp for teens for her first workshops. She’s offering them free of charge and has just completed two of the nine she hopes to give this year.

Why now? “Families who weren’t experiencing hardship before, are now. Teens hear so many negative emotions about money… anger, fear, guilt. It doesn’t have to be that way.”

She’s also looking for corporate sponsors to help defray costs. To sign on as a sponsor, please contact Patti at Allen Lloyd of Canada Revenue is participating with valuable information about government.

The three-hour interactive workshop comes with a binder and resources, and includes basic skills to manage money and expenses. Participants learn how to create a monthly budget, how to save for short and long term goals. They go through banking, investment, credit and identity theft.

They take their own family unit and figure our what it costs to actually run that unit… housing, utilities, food, clothes, admissions etc. They learn about average incomes and what happens when there’s a shortfall. They learn about buying things on credit and how interest rates can double the cost of the ‘bargain.’

With multiple co-sponsors to this series of workshops, Patti hopes that teens will be able to form their own money clubs to discuss what they’re saving for, what other resources they find, and to share with their parents what they’ve learned.

She wants to teach them how to control their money, and includes a section on the power of a penny where she teaches compound interest.

Patti hopes to expand the series to money boot camp for brides, money boot camp for couples.

Patti’s next Money Bootcamp for Teens workshop is next Tuesday (July 7) with sessions at 10 am and 2 pm. For a complete list of workshop dates and times (and to register) go to and click on workshops. A registration form is included there.

What a gift at the perfect age! What a valuable activity to sponsor!

Thanks, Patti.