If you’re an adult Canadian, you likely didn’t learn too much about personal finance in school. And while your parents may have taught you about the birds and the bees, they likely did not teach you much about managing money. That means you have to be your own teacher now to fill any gaps. Even if you have an adviser, you need a basic knowledge about money matters so you can
- Determine if your adviser is working in your best interest
- Make smart choices about saving, spending and borrowing on a day-to-day basis
- Teach your children, if you have them, how to be smart about money.
Here are some good places to learn more:
- Your employer may offer some learning sessions about your workplace benefits – including your retirement saving plan and company insurance. Some employers also offer courses in budgeting, financial planning, investing and more.
- Some websites offer free independent financial information. Investored.ca is a prime example. Sponsored by the Ontario Securities Commission, we are committed to educating the public on a wide range of financial topics. No jargon. No selling. Just the facts. We also offer a list of other websites you may find helpful. . Where can I learn more about personal finance on the internet?
- You can also look for public courses on investing and financial planning. Start with your local community college or university. Your bank or other institution may offer helpful free sessions on financial topics – but be ready for the sales pitch. You’ll also find a directory of courses – often for professional advisers – at the Financial Planners Standards Council.
- You can also find many books and newsletters on financial planning, investing and other topics. Even the experts use these resources. Just be aware of the source and any bias the author may have. Related contentWhere can I learn more about stock market investments?
In today’s knowledge economy, there’s no lack of information. We hear about new products, new tax rules and other regulatory changes all the time. The challenge is to find and use the best sources to keep up to date.
Remember: financial literacy isn’t like a high school diploma – something you earn after a set number of courses or education credits.
Financial literacy involves lifetime learning as your own life and the world around you change.
Why financial literacy should start young
A 2008 Harvard/Dartmouth study found that those who are financially literate when young will more likely takes steps later in life to build wealth. For example, they are more likely to:
- plan for retirement – and planning for retirement is a strongly linked to financial success.
- invest in stocks.
The study also showed that those who study economics in school display higher financial literacy later in life.
Content in this section is provided in partnership with the Investor Education Fund, a non-profit organization promoting financial literacy to Canadians. To find out more go to GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca.