Skip to main content

How Canada Life is supporting you during COVID-19. Learn more

Your web browser is out-of-date. For the best experience, please update to a modern browser like Chrome, Edge, Safari or Mozilla Firefox.

Insights & advice

How to set up your child for financial success

September 2022 – 15 min read

Key takeaways

  • It’s important to teach your child about various aspects of money

  • There are several ways you can invest in your child’s future including saving to fund their education and retirement and buying them life insurance

Share on

Teach your child about money

No parent wants their child to learn lessons about money the hard way. That’s why it’s so important to teach them about the value of money and how to manage it successfully.

  • Show them how money works

    Help your child understand how your credit card relates to your bank account and your paycheque.

  • Encourage them to budget

    It’s important your child learns to live within their means, whether that’s their allowance or the pay from their first job. Show them how your household budget works. Encourage them to save up for something they need or want so they’ll appreciate the item more and learn to choose what they spend their money on.

  • Let them earn an allowance

    It may just start with a few dollars a week, but trading household chores for an allowance helps them learn about money is earned through effort.

  • Open a savings account for them

    Once your child has a little money of their own, open them a savings account. It can help them learn that even with their allowance or their first paycheque, they need to set aside a substantial portion and not just spend it all. As well, they’ll learn how accumulating interest on their savings can help them make more money. This is a great opportunity to introduce them to investing including various account types, investment types and how compounding works.

  • Teach them about credit and how it works

    This includes what a credit score is and how to establish one, the different types of credit including credit cards, mortgages and lines of credit, their interest rates and the importance of repayment.

Invest in your child’s future

There are several strategies to set-up your child for future financial success. 

Save for your child’s education

A registered education savings plan (RESP) allows you to use tax-free savings and government contributions to help  your child to afford post-secondary school. According to a 2021 Canada Life RESP study, 2 out of 3 consumers with children think that saving for a child’s education is an important financial planning goal.

Save for your child’s retirement

You may think it’s crazy for them to start saving for retirement when they’ve barely begun working. However, by starting so early, you’ll allow time for their money to compound. In addition, if the money is invested in a registered retirement savings account (RRSP) they can use it to buy a first home or to fund their education. 

Buy them life insurance

It’s typically easier to get insurance for your child when they’re young and healthy, before any potential future health issues may make it more difficult. By getting them a policy now, often your child can take over the policy as an adult without a medical exam, as long as they pay the premiums, which will be based on when they were younger and healthier. 

Plus, if you purchase a permanent life insurance policy, it includes features that can help grow money inside your policy over time (called cash value). When your child reaches age 25, the policy can be transferred to them tax-free. Later in life, your child can access the cash value to help purchase a home, supplement their retirement or another financial goal. 

Buy them critical illness insurance

When you purchase critical illness insurance for your child, it can allow you to take time off work if your child is diagnosed with serious condition such as diabetes or cancer. And if you add return-of-premium benefit to the policy and they don’t experience a critical illness for a set number of years, you may get all or part of the money back to fund another of your child’s goals. 

Gift them money on special occasions

On birthdays, graduations, etc., why not replace gifts such as toys with money or investments. If grandparents and other family members get on board with this early inheritance idea your child could have a tidy nest-egg to use for whatever they need in the future. 

The gift could be actual cash, or a contribution to an RESP, RRSP or tax-free savings account (TFSA).Or it could be a gift of share of stock or mutual fund units that help teach your child about how the markets work. 

A June 2017 Angus Reid Forum pollOpens a new website in a new window - Opens in a new window discovered that almost 75% of respondents with a child over 18 would be happy to give a cash gift to help their child move out, get married or move in with a partner. And a 2022 Canada Life Homebuyers survey discover that 1-in-3 Canadians say they’re likely to provide money for a child’s home down payment in the future. 

So, as it turns out, as home prices continue to rise, you may be choosing to give them lots of smaller gifts throughout their childhood or give them a larger sum later.

The information provided is based on current laws, regulations and other rules applicable to Canadian residents. It is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the date of publication. Rules and their interpretation may change, affecting the accuracy of the information. The information provided is general in nature, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for advice in any specific situation. For specific situations, advice should be obtained from the appropriate legal, accounting, tax or other professional advisors.