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A government toolkit to help you save and spend responsibly

Ottawa believes Canadians might need a little help in how they spend and save.

The federal government has released a "Financial Toolkit" that it says can help Canadians make sense of everyday financial questions they face.

The toolkit, which is available online and in printed form, includes worksheets, quizzes, questionnaires, case studies and educational videos to educate Canadians on making rational, responsible money decisions.

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The toolkit was created in partnership with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, the Investor Education Fund and l'Autorite des marches financiers.

The initiative is part the government's efforts to promote financial literacy and follows months of warnings from the Bank of Canada as well as the finance minister about the record high levels of consumer debt.

On a national basis, the average household debt stands at 152 per cent of disposable income, just shy of the 160 per cent level that was reached in the U.S. and the United Kingdom prior to the housing market collapse in 2008.

Economists have said that the high levels of consumer debt are a consequence of low interest rates that have been in place since 2008 as part of efforts to stimulate the economy by making it less expensive to borrow and spend.

Junior finance minister Ted Menzies says the toolkit is another way Canadians can acquire life skills.

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