Are you financially literate?

By Melanie Rumley, Communications Assistant

finlitNovember is not just a month to celebrate the beginning of winter (ugh), holiday shopping (yippee!) and moustaches (go MoBros and MoSistas @ SCDSB). It’s also Financial Literacy Month.

Did you know?:

  • Nearly 50 per cent of Canadians struggle with simple tasks involving math and numbers
  • 35 per cent of Canadians do not have any savings or investments

As educators, parents and members of our school community, the above stats tell us we need to manage our own finances responsibly and to teach our children (at school AND home) money-management skills for the future.

Parents can reinforce financial literacy skills at home by setting a positive example, incorporating activities that teach planning and saving, and involving children in setting financial goals for the entire family.

Some ideas to teach your children financial literacy:

  • Involve your kids in financial planning – suggest your children split their allowance into four categories: save, spend, give and invest. This helps to teach children that they must plan for their savings and expenses, and teaches them the value of money.
  • Show your kids how to create a list of ‘needs vs. wants’. Explain that a need is a basic expense, something you can NOT do without, such as rent/mortgage or food, while a want is an extra expense – a ‘nice to have’ – like a new video game or toy.

Something I’ve done with my own son (3 years of age) is to start him saving in a piggy bank. Any money that he gets (finding loose change in the couch, loonie found by Grandpa behind his ear), he puts in his piggy bank and on occasion, gets to take a toonie or loonie out for a trip to the local dollar store for a treat or small toy. He loves counting his money, making these trips and having a special place to store his change.

Also, try to set an example with your own spending. Shop with a list and only for necessary items as this helps avoid impulse purchases. Show your kids how you do this and tell them the total at the cash register – they may be surprised how much groceries actually cost!

Finally, and most importantly, make it fun! On ABC Life Literacy Canada’s site there is a financial skills word search and crossword puzzle to complete with your kids. For adults, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has some great resources , including ‘Money Tips of the Day’.

Happy Financial Literacy Month!

Leave a comment to share your financial literacy tips!

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