Nila Sweeney

So many regrets start with ‘if only’ – if only I bought property in an up and coming area when it was cheap, if only I didn’t rack up huge credit card debt in university, if only I started saving when I was young….

Unfortunately, you can’t correct the mistakes of your youth, but if you’ve got kids then you have a chance to make sure they don’t repeat the same ones.

If you’re not sure where to start, or when for that matter, then check out Andrew Lendnal’s book Gold Start: Teaching your child about money.

Lendnal suggests it’s never too early to turn your kids into junior tycoons – and parents can start imparting financial wisdom to children as young as three.

Gold Start covers children of all ages with 15 lessons addressing the skills that infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers, school-ages children and tweens require to be money savvy.

Here’s a quick look at what he considers “age-appropriate” lessons about money:

Ages 3-5: Learn how to differentiate monetary values of coins and notes.

Ages 6-8: Receive a monthly allowance.

Ages 9-12: Make deposits in a savings account (but not withdrawals!).

Ages 12-14: Save for long-term goals.

Teenagers: Open a cheque account (and help them balance it).

In addition to giving parents practical tips, Gold Start includes family activities and games designed to help children learn about money in a fun way.

It also includes a final chapter for parents with valuable tips on how to start planning and saving for your child’s university education – whether they are 14 days or 14 years old.

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