Does your daughter or son have a summer job? Perhaps they’re scanning tickets at a movie theatre, serving lattes at a café, or running errands in an office. Wherever they are working, there’s a way to help them get a tax-effective head start on long-term savings, and it works no matter how old they are or how much income they earn.

It starts by making sure your child files a tax return, which creates Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contribution room. Of course, the idea of retirement – and saving for it ­– would not be anywhere near your child’s radar. Their wages are likely going toward lifestyle or future education. Instead, the RRSP contribution can come from you, as a way to reward your child’s efforts. It can also be a gift idea for their grandparent, perhaps as a graduation present.

Here’s how it works: Let’s say your child earns $2,500 over the summer. That allows for a maximum RRSP contribution of $450 the following year, which you contribute for your child. The plan is for it to grow and compound tax-deferred – let’s assume at an average annual rate of 5%. You can explain to your child that at retirement, say 50 years later, that $450 will have grown to more than $5,000.

This amount may not seem much, but the idea is to plant the seed of retirement saving and to teach your child compound growth. Meanwhile, your child can defer claiming the tax deduction from the contribution – waiting for that year when income is high enough to become taxable. Accumulating contributions from summer and part-time jobs can add up to a significant deduction.

There’s no minimum age for opening an RRSP, so take advantage of this strategy to teach your child a key financial lesson.