Financial problems are the leading cause of personal stress. This affects our physical and mental health, our family relationships and our productivity at work. I could complicate this, but we all intuitively know it’s true, because of our own experience.

Our government has an excellent resource in response to the National Strategy for Financial Literacy report with a vision to “strengthen the financial well-being of Canadians and their families.”
We’re also dedicated to this and will be communicating very heavily on the following topics:

  1. Managing money and debt wisely;
  2. Planning and saving for the future; and
  3. Preventing and protecting against fraud and financial abuse.

It’s not up to our school system to be teaching this stuff. The job of helping others become financially literate rests on our shoulders.
There is much that you can do to become a financial literacy champion. For instance:

  1. Take the time to give back, be a mentor to others and help guide them to the right resources. A good starting point is www.GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca
  2. Badger your employer to hold seminars explaining the company benefit plan and how it fits into an overall financial plan. Employers can do a lot to help relieve the financial stresses of their team.
  3. Ask your community and trade organizations to put financial literacy speakers and workshops on the agenda.
  4. Challenge your financial service providers to ramp up their educational content and provide access to the resources you need to improve your financial IQ rather than just sell you their products.
  5. Within your household, discuss a different financial topic at the dinner table each week.
  6. Hold a multigenerational family meeting to have the difficult but necessary discussions surrounding estate planning.
  7. Commit to becoming a lifelong student of personal finance. Pick up the phone or send an email to your financial advisor and ask for help in the journey.

We all share a joint responsibility in helping others to succeed. Let’s not let a lack of financial literacy trigger another financial crisis.

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