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Six things to keep in mind when talking to your kids about money

A family learning about money by drawing financial goals.

Tomwang112/Getty Images/iStockphoto

A goal for Canada's financial literacy initiatives is to have today's generation of young people be better with money than their parents. Two areas to target for improvement are high debt levels and the tendency to place an excessive importance on home ownership. Too many Canadians are financing their lifestyles with debt and hurting their overall financial wealth by owning homes they can barely afford.

I raise these points to help get you thinking about Talk to Your Kids About Money Day, which is today (Wednesday, April 19). In this guide to having conversations with kids about money, an expert suggests parents discuss mistakes they've made or those that a lot of Canadians are making, like borrowing too much.

The U.S. personal finance writer Dave Ramsey has some tips on talking to kids about money; one I particularly like is setting family finance goals. In a column a few years back, I suggested making the cost of university or college a part of money talks with kids. Here's some advice for affluent families on discussing money with kids.

Here's a recent Globe story about a new program that is making financial literacy education a reality for Ontario high-school students. I started a discussion about who has responsibility to teach kids about financial literacy on my Facebook personal finance page recently and was surprised by the quantity and thoughtfulness of the posts. Parents are obviously engaged with this topic, which is encouraging.

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Gordon Ramsey on kids and money
The celebrity chef says his kids don't deserve to inherit his fortune – the tough-guy perspective on parents helping kids with money.

A manual for decluttering
A blogger writes about de-cluttering from through the experience of having just three weeks to downsize the family home to a small apartment. Check out the list of tips for letting go of stuff. Now for an extreme form of de-cluttering – from a 2,000-square-foot house to an RV.

His surprise $1,300 furnace repair bill
Life as a homeowner: you wake up one morning and the house feels kind of cold. A quick $1,300 later, you're good to go. It's a lesson in why you need an emergency fund from Sean Cooper, author of a new book called Burn Your Mortgage.

Five ways to use your daily commute time productively
Time is money, right? So instead of sitting in traffic getting torqued by talk radio, try one of these ideas for using your time well. I like this one: Practice your public speaking. I've done it myself.

Survive and thrive after losing your job
That's the title of a free e-book published by Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada. The book won an Excellence in Financial Literacy Award from the U.S.-based Institute for Financial Literacy. Cairine Wilson, who oversees CPA Canada's financial literacy initiative and retires in May, received a legacy award from the institute.

Today's featured financial tool
Make sure you're getting all the tax breaks you're entitled to by using a website called Sherpa.Tax. I profiled the young entrepreneur who developed this site in a recent column.

Ask Rob
The question: "I finally gave my adviser his termination notice today. None of his counterpoints hit the mark until he said that moving my accounts would trigger $225,000 in capital gains. How would you mitigate that?"

My reply: I asked accountant and blogger Mark Goodfield for this thoughts on this one. Here's what he came up with : "We have this issue all the time. The new adviser will often take all the legacy holdings and sit down with the client and review whether they fit their current investment philosophy and risk profile. Where the holdings do fit the profile, they are often kept and/or slowly traded over time. Where they don't, the client needs to determine if the tax hit is really all that bad. Locking in a profit never hurts. This is obviously a huge issue, as I noted my blog."

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can't answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length.

What I've been writing about
–Tangerine downsizes perks on reward cards; two lessons for bank customers

–Six reasons to be grateful you don't live in a hot housing market

–Dividend-hungry investors could be partly at fault for banks' aggressive sales tactics (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

Featured Video
Why do people hate bonds right now?

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