News and Interviews

Lucky Seven: Robin Taub Teaches Financial Literacy for the Digital Age

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Author Robin Taub (CPA, CA) wants you and your kids to get serious about their financial future. A former accountant and Citibank Canada trader, she published the CRA-funded Parents Guide to Raising Money-Smart Kids in 2011, a book which imparted her expertise to parents and children alike about how to get the most from their money.

With cash on the decline and digital finance on the rise, Taub felt it was time for a reboot. Her newest version, Raising Money Smart Kids: How to Teach Your Kids About Money While Learning a Few Things Yourself (Cormorant Books), gives the timeless lessons of her first book a makeover for a new decade. With chapters that follow every stage of a young person's life, Taub helps children, adolescents, and parents alike develop a skill-set that will help them on their way to a bright financial future.

We're very excited to have Robin at Open Book today to discuss why she felt it was time for an update to her book, the heavy amount of research involved, and how taking an online writing course helped get her back in the zone.


Open Book:

Tell us about your new book and how it came to be. What made you passionate about the subject matter you're exploring?

Robin Taub:

In 2011, CPA Canada asked me to write a book to help parents teach their kids about money. According to research they had done, most parents feel they don’t have the information they need to teach the right lessons, and they don’t know how to approach the subject with kids of different ages. But they do recognize they need help and are willing to listen and learn. As a Chartered Professional Accountant, I’ve always felt comfortable and confident around money and financial concepts. And I believe money management is an important life skill, one that I wanted to pass on to my two kids. But writing a book wasn’t something I had ever really thought about doing. However, after some reflection, I thought to myself – maybe I do have a book in me! Why not write about my own experiences – both rewarding and challenging—and the experiences of other parents. That, combined with solid research, would help other parents give their kids the knowledge, skills and confidence that I gave my own kids. I wrote A Parent’s Guide to Raising Money-Smart Kids (the title of the original edition) and it quickly became a Canadian bestseller. In the nine years since it was first published, society has moved away from cash towards mobile and digital money. This new, updated version builds on time tested lessons that still apply today and adds new information about both the challenges and benefits of managing money in an increasingly digital world. In those same nine years, I’m proud to say, my kids have grown into financially literate, independent and responsible young adults (most of the time!)


Is there a question that is central to your book? And if so, is it the same question you were thinking about when you started writing or did it change during the writing process?


There are three questions that are central to my book: Why is it important to teach your kids about money? How do you actually go about teaching them? What are the key topics to teach at every age? In updating the book, the question that I was really thinking about was: at a time when cash is disappearing, how does that change how we teach our kids about money? The book answers that question and explores both the challenges and benefits of managing money in a digital world. By keeping those questions in mind, I believe I’ve created an engaging and practical resource for parents with kids of all ages, one they will refer to again and again.


What was your research process like for this book? Did you encounter anything unexpected while you were researching?


When I wrote the first edition, I did a lot of research about what key topics to address at each stage of your kids’ lives. I relied on research done in Canada (for example, CPA Canada, Financial Literacy Canada, The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada) the United States (for example,  Money as you Grow, Jumpstart)  and internationally (OECD and others). In approaching the update, I went through every single page of the book and thought about how technology and digital finance was impacting our kids’ experiences with money. Was there still a place for cash in a digital world? What are some of the best apps and tools to help kids learn about and manage money? I relied on research I had done over the last few years when preparing content for speaking engagements, articles, interviews, podcasts, etc.


What do you need in order to write – in terms of space, food, rituals, writing instruments?


I work best in my home office on my desktop computer with 2 large monitors. I got used to this kind of set-up when I worked on the trading floor at Citibank Canada. I use one monitor for the manuscript and the other for research. I never write on a laptop. I only use one when I do presentations and speaking engagements. I never write anything out in longhand, but I do print out my work to review and edit. My home office looks out onto my back patio and yard, which is beautiful all year-round, but especially in the summer, when I worked on the update. My office is also just a few steps from the kitchen, so I usually make a cup of green tea to sip on while I write. I try not to snack too much while working, but I do have a few things stashed in my desk drawer, which my family has taken to raiding on occasion!


What do you do if you're feeling discouraged during the writing process? Do you have a method of coping with the difficult points in your projects?


Before I started working on the update, I took an online course on non-fiction book creation and marketing called The Chilton Method, created by David Chilton, author of The Wealthy Barber. Armed with tips and ideas from the course, and working from a detailed outline of how I planned to update the book, I jumped in. Once I got into the zone of writing, the words flowed very easily and I hit very few stumbling blocks. Having a very tight deadline for the update also helped me focus!


What defines a great work of non-fiction, in your opinion? Tell us about one or two books you consider to be truly great books.


I read a lot of non-fiction, particularly books about investing or entrepreneurship. These are both areas where I’m trying to learn more so I can continue to grow and improve as both an investor and a professional. The best books are written by people who share their own experiences, as well as best practices and the latest trends in their industry, in an easy to digest and engaging way. One of my favourite non-fiction writers is Michael Lewis. His book, Liar’s Poker, is one of my all-time favourite books. He writes about his experiences as a bond salesman on Wall Street during the late 1980s, and it reminds me of my days on the trading floor at Citibank Canada in the 1990s. I also loved his book The Undoing Project, about two psychologists whose work created the field of behavioural economics. 


What are you working on now?


In addition to promoting Raising Money-Smart Kids, I enjoy working with my clients to create engaging and informative financial content, whether in the form of blog posts, articles, infographics or videos. I also have some ideas for a new book that would examine how our individual personality impacts our financial capability and behavior. By knowing yourself, you can play to your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses in order to be money smart. Stay tuned!


Robin Taub is definitely not your typical accountant. After beginning her career as an auditor at KPMG, and then a tax specialist at Ernst & Young, Taub left the traditional world of accounting behind. Seeking new challenges, she spent five years in the complex world of Derivatives Marketing at Citibank Canada. Today, she is a financial writer, speaker, consultant, and best-selling author.

Buy the Book

Raising Money-Smart Kids: How to Teach Your Kids About Money While Learning a Few Things Yourself

Whether or not parents are skilled at their own financial management, the book offers a road map of how to teach children, pre-teens, teens and emerging adults the skills they need to be money-smart. With chapters for each age group outlining concepts, skills and activities, the book will not only improve children’s financial literacy – it may even help parents improve their own skills.

​Even if parents have good money habits and understand the importance of making sound financial decisions, knowing how to instill those skills in children of different ages is another matter altogether.