KIDS FINANCIAL EDUCATION PROGRAM
Topic 1: Cash Flow
With your child heading off to University, the cost of living and studies may be somewhat shocking. We suggest you sit down with your child, using the budget template and help them put realistic numbers together. Many costs will be known variables, such as tuition, books and school fees. Some costs might fluctuate such as food, utilities and entertainment. Help them see the impact of large, irregular costs such as tuition payments as well as the costs of daily habits or weekly entertainment. Review income and financial resources they have access to, including any financial assistance you will be providing to them and when they can expect this money. If you haven’t already, now would be a great time to discuss your expectations for how they use the financial (and other) resources you are providing to them.
Topic 2: Cash Flow Part 2: Tracking Your Spending
Keeping tabs on whether your spending and budget are in alignment is critical. Encourage your child to keep track of everything they spend and compare it to what they have budgeted. Come back to this task 3 or 4 months from now and offer a check in and conversation.
Topic 3: Small Decisions, Big Impact
It’s easy to spend habitually, out of convenience or because others are doing so. Our message this week is to look at areas money might be used in less beneficial or poorly planned ways. Changes in habits or simply thinking ahead can help avoid money traps and pitfalls. These small decisions can add up significantly over time and can make or break some future dreams and goals.
Topic 4: What is an Emergency Fund?
Even if your student may not be able to save up an emergency fund immediately, its a crucial concept for them to work towards when they are able.
Topic 5: Are Credit Cards a Bad Idea?
The cost of paying credit card interest is staggering. Using credit wisely has positive long-term outcomes in building a great credit score. We’ve provided a calculator that shows different scenarios for paying down a credit card complete with total interest costs. Because it’s important to understand how and when credit use is wise, we’ve also compiled articles to shed some light. Ask your child what their thoughts are on debt, if they might consider using credit, and what they feel are the pros and cons to using credit.
Topic 6: Credit Rating 101
Building great credit is a learned life skill. Many have no idea what factors contribute to a high credit rating. Discuss this article with your child and ask them how it would impact them to have a poor or strong credit rating.
Topic 7: Big Choices, Big Impact
Although our small choices add up, the big decisions we make about our future will have the most dramatic impact. For your child, the choice of what career path to pursue and what educational requirements need to be met to get there are certainly top of mind. For interest, we’ve sent links to labour market data for Canada, including growth industries, wages and educational requirements by career.
Topic 8: Big Choices, Big Impact
Once again, we’re looking at some of the big choices our youth make and what the implications of these choices are. A cost of living calculator in British Columbia, complete with wages for many industry classifications has been provided. Additionally, a list of the most affordable places to live across Canada.
Topic 9: TIME VALUE OF MONEY
Compounding can work for or against us. Many students finish University with debt rather than savings. If instead, your child began to slowly build their savings, there should be no need for them to save large amounts later in life. Ask your child – would they rather have $1,000,000 today or a penny that doubles daily for 30 days.
Topic 10: HOW TO FILE YOUR TAXES
Your child will feel confident in their financial knowledge and skills when they understand some fundamental concepts that might seem “common knowledge” to us. Taxation is complex, and your young adult will likely not learn this concept at school. Even if you have someone else prepare their taxes, discuss with your child some basics such as their various T-slips.
Topic 11: HOW income TAX works, deductions & credits for students
The next level of learning about taxes, is learning how to minimize them effectively. Talk to your child about legitimate ways to reduce our taxes through credits and deductions.
Topic 12: TAX deductions on paystub
It is important to be able to read our paystubs to understand just how much we contribute in overall payroll taxes. It is just as important as an exercise in financial review. Reviewing how much money comes in and how much goes out (even tax) will go a long way for your child to get a handle on what they can save and spend.
Topic 13: what is an rrsp, tfsa?
The difference between an RRSP and a TFSA is significant, yet subtle. Making good use of these tax shelters can be complex but a basic knowledge will ensure your young adult can begin to understand when and why they might take advantage of these.
Topic 14: what Are stocks & Bonds?
Our content this month is a thorough, but age appropriate explanation of what a stock and a bond is. This easy to follow description was published by Scholastic and was meant as a resource for teachers to help educate their students.
Topic 15: How do dividends work?
Dividends are a distribution of corporate profits back to the shareholders. They can provide quite consistent income, and many investors are able to enjoy an increasing income simply by spending their dividends alone. Your young adult may wish to begin investing at some point and will benefit from understanding when and why a dividend may factor into their investing decisions.
Topic 16: What is “the Market” or “the Index” and why do people talk about this?
Investors and others often focus on “the index” as it represents to many, the pulse of the markets. An index gives people a sense of direction for whatever grouping of businesses the index in question is tracking. It is important to keep focus on your own grouping of investments and how well they are keeping pace with your own target for evaluation. A young person may get caught up in the emotional roller-coaster of investing if they are too focused on “the index”.
Topic 17: Market Timing
We often say that we don’t have a crystal ball when it comes to investing. Nobody really knows what date and time the markets will go up or down. We can reliably say only that the market has always gone up, given a suitable amount of time. Trying to “time the market” sounds great in theory but can lead to irrational decisions, especially for novice investors.
Topic 18: VOLATILITY
Volatility can be uncomfortable and downright stressful, especially for newer investors. Give your young adult practical guidance about managing volatility so that they are not scared away from investing when markets move suddenly. Volatility will likely be part of your young adult’s investing career indefinitely.
Topic 19: HOW TO SPOT A SCAM
Unfortunately, scams and fraud have become an industry for organized crime and other criminals globally. Methods have become increasingly sophisticated, and many people are unaware they are being manipulated and extorted until it’s too late. Young adults are especially susceptible. This month’s information and tools teach us about the most common scams.
Topic 20: INFLATION
Remember the days when a house cost five-figures, not six or seven? Inflation erodes our purchasing power, which is part of the reason we tend to invest in dividend growing stocks. For your young-adult, inflation has been minimal and consistent during their lifetime and may not be a concept they have any familiarity with. What is inflation and why does it matter? Our resources give a quick and helpful overview.
Topic 21: PURCHASING A HOME – HOW MORTGAGES WORK
Buying a home will very likely be the largest financial transaction your young adult engages in for the next decade! Most young people have so many questions but may not even know where to start. This guide provides them with everything they need to consider.
Topic 22: Purchasing a Home – Mortgage Loan Insurance vs. Mortgage Life Insurance
We advise clients to look at life insurance, especially when taking on debt such as a mortgage. Borrowers are required to insure their mortgage loan with CMHC insurance (or similar), but banks often conflate this and mortgage life insurance. Many young adults do not know the difference between the two, or why life insurance matters.
Topic 23: Charitable Giving – Tax Impact, Deciding What Organization to Support
Millennials (and it is anticipated the generations younger) are a giving group. In 2014, 84% of millennials donated to a cause they believed in. Not all charities are created equally, and some may appear to be legitimate but are not. Giving wisely is another milestone of financial maturity. The websites we have put together offer the ability to check on the charities before donations are made. Making donations also offers tax benefits, which should be taken advantage of.
Topic 24: Financial Tools and Calculators
Here are various tools and supports your student might find useful. From calculating your savings goals to creating a budget.