The biggest lesson I ever learned from my father (and the same one I will share with my kids) is about playing the long game.
As soon as I got my first real job in radio, he had me open an RRSP. It started out small, just tens of dollars a paycheque, but it started a foundation of locking money away for retirement – away from my instant gratification tendencies.
Now, as I enter the midlife years and start to calculate what I’ll need when my career comes to an end, I’m grateful for those early years of squirrelling away. As soon as my children were born, I implemented that same long term strategy to investing for their future, opening RESPs as soon as I could to put the power of time and compound interest to work.
There are many tools open to us as Canadians to save. In addition to the RRSP and the RESP where I put money for my retirement and my kids’ education, I also have some funds in a TFSA.
The Tax Free Savings Account is a place where I put a few dollars each paycheque to grow with easier liquidity and access. This is where I save for family vacations, home renovations, and other big ticket items that come around every now and again.
When it comes to the nitty gritty of where to put money and when, it can be overwhelming. According to research from Tangerine, a majority of Canadians agree, with 63% saying they find investing scary.
You don’t need to be an expert to navigate financial waters and save responsibly, you just need to make a plan, follow the plan, and save with some consistency.
The study also found 70% of non-investors think they don’t have enough money to invest, which is where I would have found myself had my father not intervened and got me into automatic withdrawals for my savings.
When the money never makes it to your spending account in the first place, you don’t ever really miss it.
Start by looking at your budget and calculating how much you can put away. Obviously the more you can save the better, but if you only start at 5% of your paycheque, that’s fine.
You just need to build the habit.
Once you know what you’ll spend, you’ll need to explore where to put it.
Tangerine is a great place to start. They offer investment funds that are low cost, and follow a simple approach that doesn’t require you to be an expert.
You can get started online, where they also offer helpful tools like the Tangerine Portfolio Selector that helps to find the most suitable investment option for you. It takes just 3 steps:
If you have any questions along the way, Tangerine has a team of licenced Investment Fund Advisors who are ready to talk to you about your investments if you need them. There’s also an online platform that includes helpful information, in addition to providing a simple and convenient way to invest.
TALKING TO KIDS ABOUT MONEY
When it comes to sharing this investing and money saving advice with my kids, I won’t wait until they get a job like my dad did.
I’m a firm believer in not having THE TALK with my sons about sex or drugs or money, I think these mature, complicated topics need to be tackled in bite sized age appropriate bits through everyday interactions.
I talk with my sons about money everyday.
Both boys have their own savings accounts with Tangerine and when they get money for their birthdays, or they help me out with some work, they have to put some in their Tangerine account, some in their local piggy bank to spend, and then build up some for charity as well.
The TL;DR of my strategy is simple:
- start early
- make the saving automatic so you don’t even miss the money
- use all the tools available to you (RRSP, RESP, TFSA)
- talk to an expert for advice on where to put your money
- teach your kids about money early
- open accounts for them to learn about managing
- keep at it and watch your raindrops turn into a flood!
I shared some more of my thoughts on this with Jessica Moorhouse on her Mo’ Money podcast:
This post is sponsored by Tangerine. All opinions expressed are my own.