Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Consumers’ financial literacy a key focus for Ottawa: Flaherty - The Globe and Mail

Consumers’ financial literacy a key focus for Ottawa: Flaherty - The Globe and Mail:

"The $5-million task force, headed by Sun Life Financial chief executive officer Donald Stewart, is charged with developing Canada's first national strategy to improve financial awareness.

After embarking on a cross-country tour, the task force released a report earlier this year that contained 30 recommendations on how to improve financial literacy. It said education, starting as early as elementary school, is the best way to sow the seeds of knowledge and skills Canadians need to save, invest, buy homes and plan for retirement later in life.

Other initiatives it recommended include the establishment of dedicated national leader on literacy, and that Ottawa create a one-stop website where Canadians can obtain information on everything from mortgages to retirement planning.

Financial literacy is usually defined as a combination of knowledge of financial matters and numerical skills, such as an understanding compound interest, as well as having the ability to put those skills into practice in making financial decisions."

Hopefully the federal and provincial governments follow-up on this idea with a concerted effort to actually make financial literacy courses mandatory in high-schools. The fact that Shakespeare, the Boer War, and an understanding of quadratic equations is mandatory, but consumer lending and banking is not is a key reason why our population is steering itself toward the financial abyss. Lobby your MPP's, MP's, and School Boards, and the Minister of Education to help this country get its act together. An uneducated populace is easily duped by middlemen and financiers.

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