My name is Jeanette Ramnarine and I’m 43 years old. When I was 5 years old my parents moved our family from Toronto to Prince Edward County. I grew up in a community with a small town feel and my love for children and music sparked my enthusiasm to begin my own music studio when I was 20. I met my husband at the Sandbanks Provincial Park and we settled in Belleville, ON and started our family. My husband and I have always been avid investors. I was buying bars of silver with my babysitting money as a teen and both my husband and I held investments for our retirement from our early 20’s. When our children were young we gave them 4 piggy banks to learn to budget their money. We named their piggies SPENDING, SAVING, SHARING, and SCHOOLING. I loved reading with our children and wanted a storybook that would help teach our kids about money but couldn’t find anything on the market. I decided to write about how our son Caleb, was budgeting and learning about money with his 4 piggy banks and The 4 Little Pigs (a financial values book for children) was born. The book won several awards and we developed a financial kit for kids which included the storybook and 4 piggy banks which sold throughout bookstores and toy stores in Canada.
What would you say has been the biggest shift in your life since turning 40?
So, I was shipping thousands of books and piggy banks from the basement of our new home and when we sold out of the product, I decided that I really missed teaching and went back to teaching music on a part-time basis for several years. Then when I was 40, my husband was working locally as an IT supervisor for our municipality and early on in 2016 lost his job due to restructuring. This had serious financial implications for our family as my income alone was not going to be able to sustain our household. We regrouped and really thought about what we were passionate about and kept coming back to money and finances. We were hired by a local investment firm in their back office and worked hard learning the industry while studying to obtain our licensing. I obtained my license as an insurance broker and my husband as an investment broker. Within a year, we both studied hard to become dual licensed giving us the ability to work on both the insurance and investment side of our industry. We started our own independent company called Forward Finances and now work together with clients nearing or newly retired and families to grow and protect their wealth.
When do you feel you are most powerful?
When we meet with new clients, there are always these financial pieces to their life kind of all over the place and in disarray. My husband and I collect all of this information and then it is like putting a puzzle together to make sure that all of the pieces fit together and will help them meet their financial goals. I feel most powerful when we are able to present a financial plan to our clients that is going to work for them and help them move forward towards their financial goals.
What are the top 3 most important things to you right now?
The three most important things in my life right now are my family and friends, our business, and my health.
How do you make sure your actions are aligned with what’s most important to you?
Owning our own business has given us the flexibility to be there for our teenage children who are now 14 and 16 years old and are very active in their school, work, and volunteering. We make it a priority to have family meals together so that we can connect about our day. Flexible hours mean that sometimes we end up working in the early hours of the day or in the evening but having the availability to be there for our children, family, and friends is priceless. We always joke that we probably put in more hours with our business and working with clients and on their cases than we would in a normal 40 hour work week. Our business doesn’t feel like work on most days because we truly are passionate and love what we do. In terms of health, we prepare most of our meals at home and very seldom eat out affording us the ability to not only save money but eat healthier. We also have a home gym and I love taking some time in the early mornings to work out on our elliptical while catching the latest inspirational TED Talks.
What seeds are you planting today for the future?
We are so passionate about giving people the financial education and skills they need to move forward in their lives. From our children’s book — The 4 Little Pigs — to collaborating with millennials on budgeting and investing, right up to working with and managing our nearing or newly retired client’s investment portfolios we truly want to share our knowledge in the financial industry to help our clients achieve their goals. Forward Finances is growing and we are working to expand our reach and share our knowledge and education on finances and money through social media.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in redesigning midlife?
In our 40’s, we begin to realize who we really are and who we are meant to be. We start to become more comfortable in our own skin. Sometimes that means looking at our life and realizing that what we are doing right now is not working for us and our internal voice is telling us that we need to change paths. Explore further and listen to that voice! What were you passionate about as a child and in your youth? What brought you happiness? You may come to the realization that to be truly happy, you need to completely redesign the life that you are currently living. This will present challenges and could involve re-educating yourself in a new career, juggling children and family all while working hard to make ends meet. There will be times that you will want to give up and you will question yourself. Stick with it and follow your intuition because you will come to realize that the answers to what we are meant to be doing in our lives and the ability to achieve your dreams at any age, was right there all along.