Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Financial Literacy in Canada Report Released

November is Financial Literacy Month - who knew, and the BC Securities Commission has just released The National Report Card on Youth Financial Literacy - a survey of over 3,000 recent Canadian high school graduates, most of whom went on to a post-secondary program, found they are highly optimistic about their financial futures, e.g.:
  • The average survey respondent expects to earn $90,735 in 10 years; roughly three times the average income of 25 to 29 year-olds with post-secondary degrees ($31,648) according to Statistics Canada’s 2006 Census data
  • Nearly 3-in-4 (73%) expect to own a home within the next 10 years; according to estimates by Statistics Canada, only 42% of 25 to 29 year-olds are homeowners
  • A large majority of respondents (81%) believe they will be financially better off in life than their parents
  • Among those with a student loan, almost half (49%) say they will definitely or very likely pay it off in 5 years. However the real numbers tell us a different story. Student debt has nearly reached a record high at $15 billion according to the 2010-11 actuarial report released by the Federal Government.

This is the first comprehensive Canadian benchmark study on youth financial life skills, and what it's really telling us is
a) classroom-based Financial Literacy curriculum is not working...a position shared by the National Report Card, and
b) we suspect many of these kids have been coddled and sheltered from experiencing the crappy summer / school year jobs many of us had when we grew up. (Many of the recent graduates or university students we get seem to be walking into their first, second job, and from discussions many appear to have gone their teen summers without getting a job?!?!)

Below are links to the Ontario Minsitry of Education's guides to integrating Financial Literacy into the curriculum...also a mystery to many teachers:
Today's Toronto Star (Moneyville, a Star finance blog) also had an article on the report, and also worth reading is a previous article on Moneyville, Debt-free by 44? Many young Canadians think so...what a hilarious bunch.