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Program expertise boosts financial confidence

(NC) Does this sound familiar? “I have a decent income but I feel like I'm just keeping my head above water. I don't know where the money goes!”

Many of us can identify with such a comment but we don't have to feel this way. An extensive grassroots effort coordinated by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) is underway, aimed at helping residents in communities across the country strengthen their financial skills.

The outreach initiative is called Community Connect and draws upon the expertise of professional accountants by having them conduct financially-focused seminars in their respective communities.

“We are strongly encouraged by the initial interest of those willing to volunteer their time to help others gain more financial confidence,” says Cairine Wilson, the vice-president of member services with CPA Canada.

Community Connect has a simple goal: To provide free, unbiased, straight-forward information sessions to any group or organization requesting a session. There are no commissions, fees or referrals; in fact, it is a priority to ensure any session is as neutral as it is helpful. “People want advice from someone with integrity and who is unbiased,” explains volunteer Gord Higgins, CPA, CA.

CPA Canada has produced materials to assist the volunteers interested in presenting a seminar. There are eight sessions to choose from: Are You a Good Financial Role Model?; How to Teach Your Kids About Money; Ten Healthy Habits of Financial Management; Effective Tax Strategies; Identity Theft Protection; Saving Strategies; Planning for your Retirement; and Estate Planning.

A session is about 45 minutes long so it fits easily into a lunch and learn, or an educational, cultural or hobby environment. Participants have been impressed. Their comments have shown a real appreciation for the practical advice they've received.

“Financial literacy is good for individuals, families and businesses. It creates prosperity for our entire society,” adds volunteer Arun Mathur, CPA, CA. 

More information can be obtained by emailing

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