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Montreal Families

Teen writes finance book geared to young people

I’m always amazed by how little kids learn in school about money and financial planning. I feel it is such an important component about life that should be taught from a young age. For example, if kids learn how to properly manage and invest money, they can start saving from an early age and benefit from compound interest, which is one of the easiest ways to amass wealth.

Thankfully, there is a new resource that can educate young people all about personal finance. It is written by an 18-year-old student from Kingston who felt strongly about imparting financial knowledge to young readers.

Noah Booth’s book is called A Rich Future – Essential Financial Concepts for Youth. It covers a wide range of topics, including saving, investing, spending habits, credit cards, debt and much more.

At the age of 12, Booth read The Wealthy Barber, a hugely successful Canadian personal finance book written by David Chilton.

In high school, Booth did a project on personal finance and realized after giving a class presentation that many of the students didn’t understand a lot of the financial concepts.

Booth said it doesn’t take an expert to realize that if a kid isn’t having any discussions about money with the adults in their lives or at school, they are probably not going to know a whole lot. “I’m not sure how they (the government, teachers, and adults in general) expect the future generations of young Canadians to be financially secure and independent if this kind of stuff isn’t being taught,” he said.

The book is well written, easy-to-read with concepts explained in simple language. It started as an independent learning project and then Booth decided to take a leap and write a book during the pandemic lockdowns. He had it designed and edited using money he earned mowing lawns and shoveling snow.

Booth writes a fair bit about the potential dangers of using credit cards. He says never to buy anything that can’t be paid off in full at the end of the month and even suggests people use cash rather than plastic. “Studies have shown that when you pay for something with actual cash, your brain releases the same chemicals that are released with pain. With cash you miss the money you’re spending and must determine whether whatever you are buying is worth it or not.”

Another important concept he explains well is about compound growth. In fact, Booth calls it the “holy grail of investing, the sacred truth of finances.”  He gives an example of a big number and high interest for simplicity. Say you put $1 million in stocks and get a 10 per cent return. At the end of one year you have $1,100,00. If you keep reinvesting the money for four years, that amount will amass to $1,464,00. Money makes money and the earlier one starts in life, the bigger the benefit.

He also gives good advice about spending money and says if you cut back on many small items, you can end up saving a lot of money over time. He recommends doing this by buying items when they are on sale, doing price comparisons, and determining how much something is worth to you before making a purchase. Booth explains that targeted advertising makes it difficult for teens to control their spending habit. “When you are shopping online, or even just browsing the internet, big companies like Google keep track of your searches and your interests. Other companies pay for that data and then use it to advertise to you. Have you ever been looking at an item on the internet and then the next day ads are popping up on every page trying to sell it to you?“  He says it can be very tempting and it happens to work a lot of the time so teens need to think carefully about their purchases.

Many more important topics are covered throughout the 126-page book, including TSFAS, RRSPs, mortgages, taxes and investing. Booth says “This book will help you learn to manage your money, make smart decisions, and start growing it all from a young age. Think of this book as a first step on your personal road to future success.”

So the next time someone asks for gift ideas for your teen, I highly recommend parents suggest this book. Your teen might not initially appreciate it as much as a movie or retail gift card, but I’m confident they will learn a lot and be thankful for it later in life.

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