I have a few ‘goals’ as a parent for Little Bun, before he leaves my nest, so to speak, and I want to be sure that before he leaves, he has the confidence to take care of himself as an individual, be self-sufficient and not rely on people to live alone.
If I have reached these 10 goals for my son, I will consider myself a success that I raised a great individual.
1. Has his own bank accounts
Target Age: 15-16
He should have a chequing account, savings account, and credit card. Having and knowing what bank accounts you have, is important, as choosing a GOOD BANK is key. Having a bank that you can trust (definitely not Laurentian Bank or LBC Digital in Canada), and paying little to no fees at all for the account, is my goal for him when he is researching what is out there.
(Yes, he is going to research it first, with all the banks, and then come back to me with an analysis/conclusion about which bank he should use and why.)
For the chequing part, he will also learn how to write at least ONE cheque in his life (we don’t use them as often, but it isn’t a dead skill and it is something I learned how to do once and never forgot).
A saving account is also handy for what he wants – a secondhand car, bicycle, trip – and he will have to also monitor other bank accounts to see what savings rates they offer, so that he understands to put it in a higher interest savings rate account rather than leaving it to languish at 0.000001% at the bank.
Lastly, a credit card. You need one to build a good credit score, and to learn how to read the interest rate, calculate the bonus rewards or cashback / points, and be responsible enough to schedule payments 3 days in advance of the due date.
The plan is to have him set up all of this, when he is of age to get a job, which would be 16 in this case.
2. Has a part time job
Target Age: 15-16
I worked since I was 7 doing paper routes, but the minute I turned 16, I got a real part-time job and took on as many shifts as was legally allowed to me. I worked hard, managed my school schedule around my working hours (plus my long two-bus commute back and forth), and it made me a much better planner.
I became organized, I prioritized what I had to get done and why, and I was independent enough to know how to take the bus on my own (even younger, actually… at age 10, I was riding alone), and it is overall, a good thing for children to work.
When he has his own part-time job, I will also be making him see what he would earn on paper, full-time, then calculate after taxes his net earnings, and try to figure out a budget on that income. We will look for apartments fitting within this budget, and he will come with me to see a few of them so that HE UNDERSTANDS what living on this salary after taxes, alone, means.
He will need around this age, a reality check because we all grow up thinking what we have lived with or have, is perfectly normal, but it really is unusual to have two parents at home all the time, with no seeming need to work, in a nice, 1200 square foot apartment (soon to be a much larger home when we buy our own place). It is kind of how I grew up, and I had a warped sense of what was affordable/not. I did not get a reality check and he needs one, just as an understanding of how much he earns, can actually buy him.
3. Has an investing account he manages
Target Ages: 6-16
So he is already starting now to know how much money is, why he needs money, what he needs to save for. As he gets older, I was hoping to give him a small budget, like one for Back to School (alas, this year was a wash), and to have him look at what needs to be purchased, research prices in the store, make a list (add taxes), and then see how much he needs to buy what he requires for school.
I will do that next year, when he is 7, and hopefully is back in school by that time.
This goal of mine, encompasses everything – budgeting, managing his money, learning how to save and why, and then managing his own investing accounts. He will not be able to have one of his own before the age of 18, so he will have a custodial one under my name for an RRSP once he starts working, and gaining RRSP contribution room, which he will of course, be taught to maxed out.
I am thinking for the investing part, I’d like to start around the age of 10-13.
I am not sure at what age girls will interest him, I am thinking (if I recall correctly), that pre-teen seems to be the age that is fraught with new hormones and feelings. This is the best time to gently point out that if he wants to be an attractive, stable sort that girls who are smart will go for, he needs to know how to handle his money.
I am planning on curating a small starter list of money books to read (to do this, I need to kind of re-read the ones I think will be helpful and easy), and he will read each book, and we will discuss either the whole book at the end, or each chapter. At age 10, he can start with the simpler books (I will know what his reading level is at by then), and we can read a chapter each night, or have him read it on his own and discuss. Whatever he prefers.
My small list of books to read:
- Managing money like a boss
- Investing like a boss
- Your money or your life
- The soul of money
- I will teach you to be rich
- Millionaire next door
- Millionaire Teacher
I am searching right now for very CANADIAN specific books aside from the two I have written (the Like a Boss books on the list) but so far, have not decided on any.
4. Does his own taxes
Target Ages: 15-16
Once he gets a job, he learns how a pay slip is broken down, what each of these deductions are for on payroll, and why on the Canada Revenue Agency website. I will also teach him how to do his own taxes on paper as his taxes will be the SIMPLEST EVER at this age, with only one T4 and possibly RRSP contribution room / deductions.
It is handy to know how taxes work, as I do all of my own personal and corporate taxes on my own, and only hire an accountant on occasion when I want to know or get insight into what I should do, and then I do it myself.
It is a life skill to know how taxes work, how to do them and why things go where they go. Even if he hires an accountant in the future, that gives him zero excuse to look the other way and to ignore what is going on with his money being filed, in what categories and why. Even accountants can be frauds and make mistakes, and he shouldn’t trust anyone 100% with his money.
I am also shocked at how people don’t understand how tiered taxation works in Canada.
5. Does household chores
Target Ages: 6-16
I am shocked (and am still shocked) at how coddled people are. How can you reach the age of 30 (okay, not even 30, 19!!), and not know how to:
- Do your own laundry – I am talking handwash collars, separate colours, etc
- Iron your own shirts and clothing
- Do the dishes
- Cook basic meals
- Sew on a button or repair a rip
- Clean and vacuum the home
I am sure there are more, but those are the basics for me. You simply have to know how to do them. You don’t need to be a crazy clean person, but you have to know how a vacuum works, how a laundry machine works and why separating colours and checking fabric tags matter!!!
Anyway, he is starting now at age 6. His new permanent chore is he must fold all the dried towels, and put away/sort the laundry when it is dry. When he is big enough not to fall into the washer when he puts in clothes and has to take them out, that’s when he will learn how to do the washing part, remove the clothes, sort out anything that should be hung to dry, and toss them into the dryer.
As he ages, he will then do the dishes, and/or dry them with me (he already does the cutlery now minus the knives), and will slowly start to take over tasks in the household. (I CANNOT WAIT.)
6. Searches for and gets his own jobs
You would be surprised how many parents do this for their children. I can understand doing it to force them to get a job at the start (I heard of one parent doing this and then their kids finally saw the benefits of working), but he will definitely learn how to go into a place, ask for an application, get his own job and nail it.
7. Knows how to write a resume, interview and present himself
I have heard horror stories of parents coming into interviews with their GROWN CHILDREN (out of college, first job!!!), or negotiating their pay packages / salary deals. This is … this is beyond me. He has to know how to do these things on his own without a parent or role model.
I can understand him coming to ask me questions like: What does this mean and should I look at something else? .. and then learning how to figure out what it means for him as a pay package versus another, but he cannot expect any of us to stand there in the waiting room with them. Wow.
Knowing how to write a PROPER resume with a cover letter, without using colours, weird quotes, adding his hobbies on there (as he gets older I mean), and having something professional is also a lost art, I think.
Lastly, how to interview and present himself as a great candidate is something that is key. He should learn how to do this, practice in interviews (make mistakes!), and become more confident as a result.
8. Volunteers locally with community projects
I NEED him to see that he is privileged. I NEED him to see that not everyone grows up with what he has had – a great warm, loving, secure home with no stress about money, food, amenities, etc, and we have more and then some. He has to do this to become humble about his start being a total luck of the draw, and to grow empathy and compassion for those around him. To do this, you need to be involved with younger children to be a role model, or basically just to help out and see firsthand how you can benefit those around you, and why.
9. Donates to causes he cares about
I am passionate about this. I have felt very weird talking about it because I think people find it to be bragging “oh look at all this money I can just GIVE AWAY”… so I have shied away from talking about it, but I donate 10% of my gross income to charities I believe in (or when things happen that are unexpected), and I expect him to think about and do the same.
I want him to understand that his money is a gift, and a benefit for others as well, and the more money he makes, the more he can help, which means being successful is not something that is evil or to be avoided (a lesson I think many people have learned and as a result, handicap their own successes to stay virtuous).
10. Uses public transportation
Learning how to use the metro and the bus system is a skill that many lack. I know people who have never even been on a subway train in their city until they were 18 because their parents paid for cabs everywhere they went or drove them. This is not going to be Little Bun. I also think that riding public transportation not only bonds you to other fellow commuters, but gives you a MUCH GREATER appreciation for when you finally get your first secondhand car, and feel like you can dictate your own schedule and route.
Once you know how it works and feel comfortable with a train and bus, you can figure out any system in the world in any language. It is much easier now that English is a universal language, but also that you have apps that can help you translate on the fly, but learning how to figure out how to get to where you are going using public transport is a lost skill.
I started riding the public bus at 10 to school and back because we didn’t have school buses in my area of town (very small, very poor). I learned how to read a schedule, I learned how to plan to be out of the house in advance to wait at the bus stop, transfer buses, check schedules and be organized.
I would also like him to take a train from one city to another, and to feel comfortable with figuring out where to go and why, on whatever is available to him because it is a confidence booster and a way to feel at ease in the world.
The qualities I want him to learn are mostly to not be a jackass. I know it sounds very vague, but he should have an equality mindset towards men and women, people of all colours (he will present as white even though he is half), and understanding of social issues which gives him empathy and compassion for situations he comes across, and above all, a strong work ethic.
I do not want him to be lazy at all, or to coast on how smart people say he is; to understand that you work and finish your tasks first, and then you can relax and play, not the other way around and then scramble to finish deadlines. He has to focus on how HARD WORK is what makes you successful.
He has to be an organized, thoughtful planner who understands that if he is to go somewhere and meet someone, he is to be 10 minutes early, and to plan his route depending on how he is getting there, such as “let’s leave the house at 5 p.m. so that I reach there at 5:45 p.m. and I have 15 minutes to walk to my destination.”
He has to be independent in things like being able to figure out what to do on the job, for a job, at a job, or if he gets lost and has to figure out how to get home (and not just cab or call me unless it is very late at night and perhaps dangerous to take the train alone).
I want him to focus on being a great role model and wherever he goes, understands he is representing how we raised him – respectful, thoughtful, helpful, well-mannered and kind.
That’s all I really want. He can be ambitious if he wants, or not. A little ambition is good, too much is detrimental.