Improve your financial literacy for a solid return on investment
(NC) November is Financial Literacy Month. For millions of Canadians with low literacy skills and low incomes, understanding finances and making ends meet is a daily struggle. They may have difficulty saving, use high-fee payday loans, and miss out on opportunities for government contributions, like the invaluable RESP for a child's education.
Money Matters is a financial literacy program developed and launched in 2011 by the non-profit organization, ABC Life Literacy Canada with the support of TD Bank Group. The two-day workshops are taught by TD volunteer-tutors and are offered free in literacy and community programs. More than 1,000 adult learners have participated, with 200 TD volunteer-tutors contributing 2,000 hours to teach the program.
For example, Goodwill Industries in London, Ontario, held a Money Matters session for their staff. As part of their mission to create work opportunities for people facing barriers to employment, the company offers employees seminars and skills training.
“A lot of our employees struggle with financial challenges,” says Gloria Pickering, the employee development facilitator at Goodwill. “As their employer, I want to give them every opportunity to increase their essential skills so they can make changes that will improve their circumstances. Since hosting Money Matters, I've seen an increase in confidence among many employees when it comes to dealing with math and numbers.”
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. Benefits for the participants include:
• Avoiding high-fee payday loans and cheque cashing outlets, saving up to $750 per participant and $81,000 across all participants.
• Improving debt management, saving $96,000 across all participants in reduced interest payments on debts that are paid down in a year.
• Opening and contributing to RESPs. Even amounts as small as $10 create an expectation that a child will attend post-secondary education in some form.
The program's financial literacy resources, tips and information can be downloaded at www.smallchangeaddsup.ca.
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