Unfortunately, financial literacy is not something taught in school. As a result, many Canadians grow up without the necessary knowledge needed to manage their wealth, and end up with bad habits or misconceptions down the line.

Dragons’ Den’s youngest judge, Michele Romanow, shares some money management tips she implemented — from day one — that got her to where she is today.

Mediaplanet: What is the most common misconception when it comes to money management?

Michele Romanow: The most common misconception is that money manages itself. It takes a ton of time, research, and planning to manage your money and so it makes sense to start with easy tools that can help you invest almost for free.

MP: Why is it important for Canadians to invest their wealth? 

MR: Without investing your wealth, Canadians will see declining value of their wealth because of inflation. It’s not only essential to save, but to also invest.

MP: Is there a difference between investing and saving? 

MR: Saving is not spending everything you earn. Investing is making sure those savings grow so their value is not eaten away by inflation.

MP: Do you think that financial literacy should be taught at a young age in school?

MR: Yes. Every kid needs an allowance book and should feel comfortable spending, saving, and donating money.

MP: What is your best money management tip?

MR: Never put all your eggs in one basket.

MP: Can you share any personal experiences you’ve had with managing your own wealth?

MR: The first thing I learned about money was that talking about money is okay. The second was understanding where your money goes. I think that is a huge thing that so many kids are not taught because, oftentimes, we live in a culture where it’s not okay to ask about money. That’s a problem. It’s seen as rude or intrusive. In a similar way, I believe that for young people, money should be a factor in making decisions about your career. Because you should be really happy in all the elements of your career. That includes satisfaction with the work you do and how challenging the work is, but also your compensation. You should not be afraid of money.

MP: What inspired you to create your first startup?

MR: With my first startup, The Tea Room, I wanted to see if you could create a sustainable coffee shop with zero consumer waste and I built it on Queen’s University campus. It’s still there 11 years later!