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In this issue: Valuable information and resources on tax filing including some promising initiatives helping to improve take-up.
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On a mission to help people become financially fit
Financially literacy is crucial to the success of young people and should begin very early on in a person's life - for their own sake. Educating people once they have gotten credit cards, mortgages, rent, car loans and student loans is too late.
Youth should be taught the fundamentals of borrowing money, what it actually means to them, pitfalls of credit, what a credit bureau is, savings, and budgeting; all of which are too often not taught at home. Often parents were not taught themselves. They likely learned the same way their parents learned and the same way their kids will learn: through trial and error. With bankruptcies and defaults on student loans on the rise, cell phone bills that are crippling households, the fallout from financial stress like illness and marital breakdowns are also increasing.
Ensuring financial literacy is commonplace is my passion. Lessons in money management do help people overcome economic barriers. It may be a matter of rearranging their debt to improve cash flow and quality of life and reduce financial stress. I have seen situations where, with some financial knowledge, young people choose better cell phone contracts, stop using payday loans, and decrease their fear of banks. After receiving information on the basics of money management, the youth I work with start asking intelligent questions regarding lenders and other money matters and begin feeling more confidence in their ability to manoeuvre through life’s financial challenges.
Sue Watts is a coordinator of special projects with the Employment & Education Centre in Brockville, ON.
“Learning how to invest their hard-earned money wisely gives youth a better chance at life. This has become a real passion for me.”
Brian Smith, winner of the 2010 Passion for Financial Literacy SEDI Award
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