Free financial literacy program delivers big results for participants
(NC) Millions of Canadians struggle daily with their financial situation— managing money and making ends meet is an on-going source of personal crisis. People with low literacy skills and low incomes are especially vulnerable because they have difficulty saving, are more likely to use high-fee payday loans and cheque-cashing outlets, miss out on opportunities for government contributions to their children's education through RESPs, and overlook opportunities for tax savings through RRSPs.
An initiative called Money Matters, is a financial literacy and education program, developed by ABC Life Literacy Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting everyone who needs to improve those skills. With the support of founding sponsor TD Bank Group and the Government of Canada, the program is offered free in many communities and learning centres across the country. More than 200 TD volunteer-tutors have contributed 2,000 total hours to teach the Money Matters program to more than 1,000 adult learners – and the results are good.
To date, for every dollar invested in the program, the social value returned is estimated at $3.33, according to the analysis of the SiMPACT Strategy Group. The measurements used to evaluate this include:
• Helping individuals avoid high-fee payday loans and cheque cashing outlets would save up to $750 per participant per year and an estimated $81,000 across all participants.
• Teaching debt management and the importance of saving would save an estimated $96,000 in reduced interest payments on debts that are paid down in a year, across all participants.
• Increasing the number of people opening and contributing to RESPs; even $10 in an RESP creates an expectation that a child will attend post-secondary education in some form.
“We're very proud of Money Matters,” says Craig Alexander, vice-president and chief economist at the TD Bank Group. “The program is having a significant and lasting impact on the financial literacy of Canadian families. Improving financial literacy can be life-changing. We're proud of our employees who are volunteer-tutors. What they gain through the experience of teaching adult learners benefits them personally, and those benefits extend to their workplaces and their community."
Gillian Mason, the president of ABC Life Literacy Canada agrees. “As we lead up to Financial Literacy Month in November, we're pleased to say that Money Matters has become a foundational program in our field. More and more practitioners are requesting the program for their learning centres and we are very grateful to TD Bank Group for their vision and commitment to improving financial literacy across Canada.”
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