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Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy in Canada – problems and opportunities.

When it comes to financial literacy in Canada there are problems; the main one being that poverty is real and everyone talks about it more than acts to solve it. Committee after committee create stacks of recommendations for more committees or joint task-forces. Every agency and government agrees there is a problem. Poverty is real. Everyone understands that but for the most part, we tend to ignore the issue. Year after year, time, resources and valuable funding goes to waste with fiscal and social irresponsibility.

Each year passes while some corporations and governments celebrate small and meaningless achievements in financial education that make less than a dent in the grand scheme of things. Without co-operation, collaboration and accountability, much needed funding is being misdirected and siphoned off to a great number of useless and misguided ventures that satisfy governments and corporations but don’t address the key issues. After all the confusion, the problem is much larger than any number of think tanks, government agencies or educators understand.

Who is responsible? Hello, is there anyone home? Can you help me? Can you help us? How can you help us in a way that is self-sustaining, motivational and in a way that speaks to all Canadians at all different times of their life and citizenship?

The trickle-down theory is simply not working when it comes to funding for companies, non-profits, individuals and businesses that want to create the important and neglected industry of financial literacy. Who from such a strong nation will not explain their free capital markets in a way that encourages investment and re-investment? Who will buy the products and services, the dividends, stocks and bonds and mutual funds if not another group of new Canadians and each year a growing number of taxable citizens and employable students? Before during and after; at many stages of life, certain types of even basic information can lead to better questioning, more research and more favourable outcomes.

Let’s figure out who really needs the money, has the best cause and the most reasonable solutions that suit the most important areas of deficiency first. Age does not matter; circumstance does and most people with whom we should concern ourselves are not the ones who have and attain, but rather those who are in far worse circumstances at the same age or scope.

Once we know there is a problem and the greatest minds have come to a consensus, then action is necessary and a renewed accountability is held to the highest standard. The next step is defining the problem and separating issues into sections that are more manageable. We believe the six most important areas of financial literacy are divided by people and defined by their personal situation, circumstances or position in ourcommunities.

1. Financial Literacy for Kids and Children

2. Financial Literacy for Teenagers and High School Students

3. Financial Literacy for ESL, New Immigrants and Novice Investors

4. Financial Literacy and Continuing Education for Advisors

and Professionals

5. Financial Literacy for Seniors - Personal Finance

6. Financial Literacy for Small Business Owners

Countries, regions, unions and great societies, all understand there is a path to a better standard of living. Governments are also faced with debt, bankruptcies, fiscal cliffs, sequestrations and austerity measures. In macro-economic terms, the world is more connected than ever through systems, currencies, commodities and the internet. Money, business, finance and trade move at break-neck speeds throughout the global economy and do in fact, have a direct correlation to both visible and black market economies.

Individuals, companies, business people, governments, agencies often forget the simple things; such as how to give back. When it comes to financial literacy, giving something back can be in time if not in money. With the proper time and effort coupled with strong resource management, we can reach more disadvantaged people.

Learning to read at any age is critical. Basic math skills are vitally important. The ability to comprehend the fine print on financial products and services is paramount to making more informed decisions more of the time. Learn, share, grow - the “Financial Literacy Canada” motto.

Communicate, contribute, collaborate – the message from the top down can be seen here.

http://canadianfinancialliteracy.ca/

The cavalry may still come. Are you enlisted in the war on poverty and can you contribute, collaborate or communicate freely and for the greater good of those Canadian’s least aware and in the worst of circumstances?


When Do You Start Teaching Kids About Money?

Money is a fact of life and affects almost every aspect of it. We know that having a strong and healthy grasp of how money works, how to ask the right questions, and how to navigate the financial world are skills that set you up for success, but we typically have no idea where to start in terms of teaching these things to our kids. The simple and truthful answer is it is never too early or too late to start when it comes to money conversations with kids.

The biggest obstacle I have found for parents trying to open up the topic of money is thinking it needs to be a big formal lecture. We all know the jokes around having the “birds and the bees” talk with kids and how you are best to avoid it, let kids find out on their own, or just hope the school will give them the basics. Well that is a big failure in terms of sex education and just as big a failure for financial education. The truth is our kids are surrounded by the money and sex topics and if we don’t start to properly educate them they will learn on their own, and the chances are good it won’t be a healthy education let alone the best education.

Well this should be a huge relief for you. It does not need to be a scary, formal, sit down talk. In fact it works a thousand times better if you never even go that route. Make teaching kids about money just a part of everyday life and your kids will learn easily. Take your kids grocery shopping with you and talk about figuring out the budget for what you need to get, how it fits in with what you have at home, compare prices of ready-made versus ingredients for making it yourself, let them see you paying for everything with cash or explain how it works when you use your credit card or debit card.

When you get the mail with your bills and your credit card offers use it as a teaching / conversation opportunity. Explain to your kids that you get the electric bill and you get to pay it because that is what keeps the lights on in the house. Open up the credit card offers and talk about what credit is, how interest works, how some of the different perks works, the pros and the cons of using credit versus using cash. Let your kids ask questions, and if you don’t know the answer don’t worry. You can look it up together and learn. The financial world is complex and ever changing so learning is encouraged no matter your age.

While watching TV or a movie and seeing the different commercials coming up advertising “Buy now, pay later”, “No money down”, credit card offers, and the whole host of other money spending opportunities you can use these to ask questions of your kids. What are they hearing when they see these commercials? What are their friends talking about when it comes to money / credit cards / consumerism in general?

In order to be happy, successful, and able to fully take care of themselves as adults we need to teach our kids a whole host of important life skills. Feeling confident and capable in dealing with money is one of the most important skills we can give them and all it takes is a little time, an openness to learn and discuss with them, and getting over the taboo of talking about money. Now go out there and open up the conversations.

“Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale.” Zig Ziglar


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