Money & Career

Why I will miss Canada Savings Bonds

When I was a kid, my grandfather gave me a Canada Savings Bond every Christmas. I thought this was a pretty boring gift — until I turned 17 and cashed in some of the bonds to help pay for a summer abroad in France.

piggy bank

When I was a kid, my grandfather gave me a Canada Savings Bond every Christmas. I thought this was a pretty boring gift — until I turned 17 and cashed in some of the bonds to help pay for a summer abroad in France. I flew there on my own, enrolled in a French course and lived with a family near the French Alps. It was a life-changing experience and the beginning of my love of travel (and my independence). 

But what those bonds really taught me was how much joy could come from saving and investing money (thanks Poppa!). For one thing, it was an actual investment vehicle in my name (the first ever!). Second, it taught me that it was possible grow savings over time — put away just $50 or $100 a year, and look where it can take you in just a few years time!

For years, the Canada Savings Bond program has helped a lot of kids like me learn the value of saving and investing. Sadly, the program is on its way out — interest rates are so low that few people are buying them anymore. Can’t say that I blame them — in 2010, they paid a lowly 0.65% interest (less than the average bank savings account). In fact, the program costs so much to administer that it’s being phased out.

Thing is, I still want to teach my own kids the same saving and investment lesson my Poppa taught me. While RESPs are great, they just don’t have the same allure as those nice paper bonds. I’d like to find a good substitute – how do you teach your kids the importance of investing?