Financial literacy month winds up soon

This is the fifth year for FLM. You can find events at the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada website or go to Twitter and use the hashtags #FLM2015 and #CountMeInCA.

Jane Rooney, Canada’s first financial literacy leader, goes to almost everything. I can’t imagine how she keeps up the pace without flagging.

I moderated panels at a few events, such the ABLE Financial Empowerment Conference and Credit Education Week’s launch.

I also went to a conference organized by the Financial Literacy Action Group, a nonprofit coalition working to improve Canadians’ knowledge, skills and confidence in managing money and advance the national strategy.

There I met a remarkable entrepreneur, Teresa Cascioli, who has written and published a series of books for children, age four to nine, under the brand M is for Money. Here is my column about her.

Tomorrow morning, I’m invited to attend the Economic Club of Canada’s financial literacy panel discussion.

Next Monday (Nov. 30), I’ll be the keynote speaker at Toronto’s financial learning forum. It is a free half-day event, featuring workshops on tax and financing for small business, repaying student loans and qualifying for benefits.

Why has Canada embarked on a national strategy in the first place? I recommend reading this 2012 article in the Walrus magazine about our national deficit in financial intelligence.

I want to spotlight the Investor Be Aware video contest, run by the Small Investor Protection Association to show the hidden dangers of dealing with financial advisers. Here is a link to the three winning YouTube videos.

Finally, many statistical studies are released this month, designed to show the level of Canadians’ financial capability. Here is one of the most interesting surveys sent to me.

The Global Financial Literacy Survey

Canada has one of the highest financial literacy rates, ranking among the top five in the world and scoring above countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and France.

However, the study also found that Canada suffers from one of the largest gender gaps, with 77% of men financially literate against just 60% of women.

In almost every country, there is a material gap between men and women. Worldwide, there is a five-point gender gap, with 35% of men being financially literate compared with 30% of women.

Country averages include the U.S. with a 10% gender gap, Germany 12% and Italy 15%.

In Canada, however, the situation is far more pronounced with a 17% gender gap – twice as large as the gap in major advanced economies, the so-called G7.

Author: Ellen Roseman

Consumer advocate and personal finance author and instructor.

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