My dad likes to tell this funny story from my childhood. It goes a little something like this:
I had really, REALLY wanted the latest and greatest thing-a-ma-bob that all my friends had, and I begged my dad mercilessly to get it for me. Exasperated, he finally gave it to me straight. “Candace,” he said, “I don’t have the money for that right now. I can’t afford it!” Without missing a beat, I responded with: “That’s OK. Just write a cheque.”
That’s a funny story now (it even garnered a few chuckles at my wedding), but it wasn’t so funny when I was a young adult.
When I entered college, I suddenly had a world of credit opened up to me and absolutely no understanding about how it all worked. Um, why couldn’t I have textbooks AND a great wardrobe? Surely, I can afford to go to school AND party every weekend with my friends. Hello?! This credit card with 25% interest says I can!
I am a living breathing testament to the fact that just because you are smart enough to attend post-secondary school, it does not necessarily mean you’re smart enough to manage money. I could be the poster child for financial idiocy.
I learned about finances the hard way, not the smart way. That’s something I don’t want my kids to go through, but yet, as we enter the teen years, I am beginning to see that I may be missing the mark teaching them about financial literacy. As it turns out, just because you’ve attended the school of financial hard knocks, it doesn’t qualify you as a teacher.
It’s time for me to find someone that has the answers because research shows that a lack of financial knowledge and poor management are significant issues that impact Canadians. How about that? I guess, I’m not alone.
Financial Literacy Month each November is a great time for all of us to get educated, but particularly the next generation. RBC wants to help by empowering our youth with the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to make smart financial decisions. They know it’s not easy to teach financial literacy, so they’ve partnered with Free The Children. One of the key reasons for the partnership was because Free The Children was already actively inspiring and engaging youth to make a positive social impact. Collaborating is the opportunity to help our kids increase their impact with relevant and practical financial literacy lessons.
Together, they have have created free resources to teach personal finance and financial literacy (you can download everything here).
These resources are available for FREE to educators and parents. I’ve already downloaded them at home and it’s helping to create excellent dinner conversations. There are four key themes to focus on: Earn, Save, Give and Spend. Under each theme there are a number of conversation starters and lesson plans to help guide our young students towards financial competence.
To date, RBC and Free The Children have made the It All Adds Up curriculum available to over 1.4 million young Canadians in over 6,500 schools across the country. That's 1.4 million kids out there ready to make smarter decisions when it comes to money! I’m sad that my kids haven’t had the benefit of this programming yet, which is why I’ll be sharing this information with their school.
My financial dunce cap is one thing I don’t want to pass on to my kids, so I’m going to do everything I can to ensure they learn everything they need to know about finances while they are living under the safety of my roof.