The CIBC SmartStart Program
CIBC’s SmartStart program is a smartly designed website geared to three groups: children 12 and under, youth 13 to 18 and parents. The parent section is further divided for children aged 2-4, 5-8, 9-12, and 13-18.
An interesting interactive game called The Allowance Room and The Money Machine
lets children experience what it takes to save up for up to 15 items. Children click on common items such as a computer, jeans, snowboard, rollerblades to find out the price and then the Money Machine figures out how long it will take to save up your money to buy the item.
The computer that I wanted listed for $2400. My allowance of $5 a week with $0 contributed by my parents would take me 480 weeks to save up! This simple yet effective game really shows what it takes to buy something with what you’re earning.
This section also contains information on banking, and details on opening up a personal bank account.
The section for youth 13 to 18 gives information on goals, planning, budgeting, investing, getting a job or creating self-employment. There are a lot of links and examples for students to find out more about the basics of banking and saving.
The Parents’ section contains information on saving for their children’s education. With the estimated average cost of one year's post secondary education (including tuition, room and board) in 15 years at $25,000, this section gives parents practical and detailed information on how to save for their children’s education. A CIBC Education Calculator can quickly determine how much money you need and how much you need to save a month. It’s quite sobering if you haven’t started saving yet.
Additional information in the Parents’ section on teaching children about money contains very useful guidelines for allowances, setting clear expectations and guidance for children aged 2-4, 5-8, 9-12, and 13-18. After reading this, you learn it’s never too early to start saving and teaching children about money.