From the expert: How to help your kids win financially

kids money Mar 21, 2023

From Melanie Rousseau, a mortgage agent at The Mortgage Group (TMG), a real estate investor and the founder of Money Mama TO

My financial journey started at 16. I had to quickly learn to feed myself and how to afford the roof over my head—and I’ll admit the learning curve came with a lot of trial and error. Fortunately, my grandma, who was very financially savvy, showed me the way and taught me the principles of becoming economically strong. Little did I know then that it would lead me to my career path as a financial advisor, but it also instilled in me that when I had my own children, I had to teach them to be financially savvy from a young age—and now I want to help all parents do the same for their kids.

Here are some of my top tips for helping you set your child(ren) up for a bright financial future and a positive relationship with money. Ninety percent is a mindset and 10% is knowledge—so don’t panic if you’re not great with finances yourself.

Speak about money like it is your best friend

You know the feeling when you see your BFF. You feel excited, supported, and undoubtedly joyful, right?

Have you ever noticed how you speak about money? Do you speak from a place of love, support and safety? Or do you talk about it negatively?

I remember my dad had such a negative attitude each time he would talk about money: How it was hard to earn, how you could not trust your own family with money, how it was quickly gone, etc. Each time he would get a bill, we would hear about it for days…so much so that I felt I had to start contributing! As a result, I worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week, for years. I felt like I would never have enough because, as my dad said, money would evaporate, and it was hard to earn.

Our kids pick up on our cues. By talking about money, bills or your work with positivity—and avoiding negative displays or language—you are already setting the right tone for them.

Encourage them to start a business

Setting your kids up for a bright financial future includes teaching them all about how money is earned. Show them that it takes work to make money but that it can be fun, too, and that their 9 to 5 job will most likely not create financial freedom, so they should be creating something on the side that they’re passionate about that will become a second stream of income.

Start with setting up a lemonade stand and inviting the neighbours, hosting a bake sale at their school, mowing the lawn, cleaning some houses or selling products online—all things you can supervise and help them get going. Then, show their kids how to spend and invest their money! It’s an excellent opportunity to introduce the concept of spending, saving, investing and giving back.

Show your kids to align their spending and savings

Do you know what brings you more money? Aligning your spending and savings to what brings you joy and ignites your soul.

Think about it—when it comes to wearing your favourite outfit or travelling somewhere you always dreamt of…doesn’t it make you want to earn more and direct your money there so you can do more of those things?

For example, say a child really loves skateboarding and wants to get a new skateboard. If he understands that he will need $80 to buy it, he might think twice about spending his lemonade-stand earnings on candies or computer games that don’t get him closer to his goal or get him as excited as one day getting that skateboard.

Include giving back as part of your spending

Having a rich mindset also means filling your Karma Bank and sharing some of the money you make. We can teach children from a very young age to use their money to help others and what that means for them and the people they are helping. Have your child pick a cause they care about and use their birthday, and tools like Echoage, as an opportunity to give back.

When you let money go to causes that matter to you, it makes you feel proud that you can help.

Teach them to invest early

When I showed my 10-year-old son a year ago how to become a millionaire by saving only $100 a month over the next ten years, I got his attention quickly! We started brainstorming ideas on how to bring this money in. We looked at what he is excellent at and loves doing, and boom, he created a tie-dye T-shirt business. He also knows he gets about $600 a year in monetary gifts, so he only needs to bring $50 a month in T-shirt sales to achieve that goal. When you have an income goal (like this $50 a month), you can figure out exactly how many sales you need to bring in—in his case, about 2 T-shirts a month.

The best way to build wealth is by using tax-advantageous accounts like an RRSP or TFSA. And yet, to have these accounts available to you, you need to be over 18 years old. A student savings account is another possibility because they have no fees. Still, they offer minimal returns, and in Canada, you also need to be the age of majority to start investing, which means tweens and teens are losing years of compounding interest…

There wasn’t a good solution, so I came up with one myself:

Money Mama offers a Headstart Plan. A plan that grows tax-sheltered like a TFSA, where parents have complete control over the program until they decide to transfer it. Not only does this plan provide a legacy to your kids and your future grandkids, but it provides money to your kids beyond education. You also have the flexibility to increase or decrease contributions and pay the plan in 10 or 20 years to gift it entirely to your kids.

I hope these tips inspire you to start teaching your kids about money and setting them up financially. It doesn't need to be a considerable amount because they have many years of saving and investing ahead of them. Just don't be afraid to bring them into your financial decisions and show how you do things—that is real life.

I am here to show you and your kids how you can make things possible, so if you have questions, reach out to us anytime via email at [email protected] or via text at 416-882-5483.

Plus, our new website is up, so please visit us at and download free resources!

Happy Money Days ahead!

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