Our theme for FLM 2016 is "Managing Money and Debt Wisely – It Pays to Know!" Its objective is to rally organizations and individuals across Canada to strengthen the financial literacy of Canadians and empower them to achieve the following goals: managing money and debt wisely; saving for the future; and understanding their rights and responsibilities.
If you are planning an activity this month, let Canadians know. You can do so by submitting your information to the Canadian Financial Literacy Database. FCAC invites financial education providers to include their resources and events in the database. Simply login, if you already have an account, or register to submit your information.
Financial literacy research is a key part of FCAC’s efforts to improve financial literacy and to get a better understanding of behaviour and attitudes behind financial decisions. That is why FCAC will be hosting the 2nd National Research Symposium on Financial Literacy on November 16, in Moncton, New Brunswick. The primary audience of the Research Symposium will be researchers within the academic, public, and private sectors.
One way to stay up-to-date on what is happening during Financial Literacy Month is by reading my new blog. I launched a blog to share information and tips with Canadians to help them acquire the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to make responsible financial decisions.
to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of financial literacy. Use the hashtag #FLM2016 to follow us and to share information on Twitter.
Financial Literacy Leader
SISIP Financial: Bringing financial literacy to the workplace
Worries about personal finances are at the top of the list when Canadians talk about excessive stress. “We know that to be effective, financial literacy efforts need to meet people where they are. This is why workplace financial literacy efforts are so critical,” says Jane Rooney, Canada`s Financial Literacy Leader.
This November, SISIP Financial is doing just that. The organization provides financial services to the Canadian Armed Forces personnel through the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services.
SISIP Financial is organizing an open house on November 23 at 21 bases of the Canadian Forces. The organization will give half hour sessions on different topics including budgeting, identity fraud and payday lending to empower soldiers to develop healthy financial habits.
In addition, SISIP Financial will be introducing a 52-week challenge, created by Pierre Goulet, Client Services Delivery, which encourages soldiers to save. The idea is to put aside a little bit of money every day to help them avoid bad debt and to reach their financial goals such as buying a house.
As the Canadian Armed Forces personnel face unique challenges, the sessions are tailored to their specific needs. “Soldiers are often relocated, which can result in the loss of one household income if their spouses are unable to keep their jobs,” says Mr. Goulet. Their incomes also vary from one posting to another, which can have impacts on their personal finances.
The open house will allow SISIP Financial mentors to engage with the community and help them develop future sessions.
To learn more about SISIP Financial and its financial literacy initiatives, please visit www.cfmws.com.
PennyDrops: Bringing financial literacy to the classroom
Soon after arriving at McGill University, Meagan Prins and Brenden McKinney realized that they were ill prepared to face the new financial responsibilities that come with the post-secondary education life. A lot of their peers were in the same situation.
Determined to help others, Ms. Prins and Mr. McKinney founded PennyDrops in 2014 with the support of BMO Financial Group, and started approaching secondary schools to help students become more financially literate. “We developed PennyDrops in order to give as many Canadian high school students as possible the resources they need to financially succeed upon graduation,” says Ms. Prins. The PennyDrops mentors, which are all trained university students, now deliver hour-long weekly financial literacy sessions in high schools across Montreal.
This November, the not-for profit organization will be hitting the half-way mark of the fall semester’s financial literacy program that is being taught in seven high schools. PennyDrops is also marking its one year anniversary since it started delivering its program. It will be reaching over 300 students this semester alone, in both French and English.
The interactive curriculum is based on a program developed in 2009 by Moneythink, an American organization that delivers financial education to young people in the United States. It covers subjects such as budgeting, investing and student loans. “The examples were relatable and the program made the concepts easy to grasp,” says Thomas, a student from Westmount High School.
PennyDrops has received a lot of positive feedback from both students and teachers, and for this reason, the organization keeps expanding. The founders are hoping to expand outside of Montreal to reach even more Canadian students.
If you’re interested in joining PennyDrops or to obtain more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Announcement of a fun financial literacy app
Starting the financial literacy conversation early is key. To reach young people, it is also important to make it fun. In November, Meridian, Ontario’s largest credit union, and The Learning Partnership, a national charitable organization dedicated to building stakeholder partnerships to support, promote and advance publicly funded education, will announce their new game that teaches young people the importance of good money management.
The game, available as an app, is directly linked to the Ontario curriculum and was developed for grade 7 to 10 students. “We partnered to develop the Save the Camp app by bringing together experts in financial literacy, youth education and game-based learning,” says Bill Maurin, President & CEO of Meridian Credit Union. “We know that strong financial skills help set future generations up for success.”
The theme of the interactive digital game is summer camp. Players build towers to defend their summer camp from a rival camp across the lake. They also accumulate cash along the way. To pay for the towers, the players can borrow money from the camp bank and pay interest, or pay for the towers with their savings. At the end of each level, any outstanding debt will be balanced against the remaining cash and the surplus will fuel their savings accounts. Keeping borrowing under control and maximizing savings will be essential for succeeding in the final stages.
Visit SavetheCamp.ca to receive an email notification when the free app is released in the application stores later this month! For more information about the app, please contact email@example.com.
Survive and Thrive: Move Ahead Financially After Losing Your Job
Losing a job can be a very stressful event. Whether it comes as a surprise or not, the loss of an income can take a toll on you and your family. Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), which has made financial literacy a priority, has released a new free guide to help Canadians dealing with job loss.
The guide, entitled Survive and Thrive: Move Ahead Financially After Losing Your Job, covers topics such as dealing with the psychological and emotional toll of losing a job, financing your life, finding a new job, becoming self-employed as an alternative, dealing with debt and going back to school. The guide also includes free resume and cover letter templates.
The launch of the guide is scheduled for November 29th at the Calgary Pubic Library (Main Branch) in recognition of November as Financial Literacy Month. The guide will be presented by the author, David Trahair, a CPA personal finance trainer, speaker, national best-selling author and CPA Magazine columnist.
The guide will be available in libraries and online and will soon be translated into French.
CPA Canada has many more financial literacy resources available on its website to help Canadians gain the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to make responsible financial decisions. You can also check out the News section to learn about events and activities organized by CPA Canada during FLM and throughout the year.
The Canadian Payroll Association encourages Canadians to save this November
Many working Canadians are barely making ends meet, according to a national survey of Canadian employees released in September 2016 by the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA). Nearly half (48%) of those surveyed say it would be difficult to meet their financial obligations if their paycheque was delayed by even a single week.
As a result of the study, CPA is celebrating Financial Literacy Month by sharing tips and resources to help Canadians establish a savings plan.
According to CPA, a proven way to manage money and prepare for a healthy financial future is to “pay yourself first.” To do so, Canadians can set up automatic payroll deductions to save money right away from their paycheque, before they have a chance to spend anything. They can ask their payroll department to automatically direct a portion of their pay into a savings or retirement account and watch their money grow.
CPA also provides great resources to help people understand their pay— including compensation, benefits and deductions. It is critical that Canadians understand how their pay works to build a savings plan, develop a weekly budget and prepare to file their taxes every year. A payroll professional is a great resource to help people understand the components of their pay statement.
Visit the association’s Financial Literacy Month page to access its financial literacy resources, videos and links to help you manage your money.
Life and Health Insurance Industry Celebrates Financial Literacy Month
Canadians of all ages can benefit from financial education tools and resources focused on managing day to day finances. The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Industry Association (CLHIA) is a strong supporter of Canada’s National Strategy for Financial Literacy – Count me in, Canada and has launched several projects to promote financial literacy across Canada. These initiatives include publications for consumers, such as a plain language glossary of commonly used insurance terms, a guide explaining life and health insurance and information booklets.
In August, CLHIA launched a new tool designed for Canadians who are about to retire. Approximately 250,000 Canadians retire every year, yet there are very few financial literacy tools for those on the cusp of retirement. That is why CLHIA created its "Retiring Soon?” website, a one-stop resource for tools and information on both the financial and non-financial aspects of retirement.
Supporting Canada's financial literacy strategy is not just about providing resources to consumers. Through CLHIA, the life and health insurance industry has several initiatives underway to help insurers develop and participate in financial literacy and clear communication programs. These include The Clear Communicator newsletter, which provides plain language resources and examples for the industry.
For more information about the resources offered by CLHIA, visit its website at www.clhia.ca.
Share your news and events
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada's newsletter showcases financial literacy initiatives taking place across Canada, in order to promote best practices and spark new initiatives or partnerships that will bring us closer to a more financially literate Canada.
If you would like to share a financial literacy success story with FCAC, please contact us.