Personal finance for beginners

I’ve written before about the course I gave in 2008 at George Brown College. It’s designed for 20-to-35-year-olds and deals with smart money management.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada and the Investor Education Fund are sponsoring the course, which they hope to expand across the country.

You can find a full-page ad for the upcoming sessions in Now magazine’s current issue, page 9, with the headline, “Face debt head-on.”

After doing this course three times, we sat down to rethink how it was delivered. We came up with some ideas on how to make it better.

Keep it short. Last time, I taught three Saturdays in a row, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It was a big commitment for participants. This time, I’m doing it in a single day, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30, and Sunday, Feb. 7.

Charge for it. Last time, it was free because it was sponsored by the two government agencies. Some people signed up and didn’t show up. This time, there will be a nominal $25 fee.

Give handouts. Last time, I gave out hard copies of my PowerPoint presentations. That helped, but didn’t go far enough. This time, everyone will get a book with supplementary readings, created by a team of professional writers.

Focus on debt. Last time, I talked about spending, saving and investing. This time, I’m talking less about investing and more about cutting costs, reducing debt and fighting fraud. That’s a result of feedback received from students in previous classes.

Though aimed at young people, the course attracted many people in their 40s and 50s. Some felt they hadn’t saved enough and needed help with basics. A few were great money managers, keen to hear a few extra tips they might not know.

I’ve put a link on the right side of this page under Navigation. Please spread the word to anyone who might be interested.

Author: Ellen Roseman

Consumer advocate and personal finance author and instructor.

6 thoughts on “Personal finance for beginners”

  1. It’s silly to charge a fee claiming to help young people to better manage money. If you’re really concerned about no-shows, ask them to put down a deposit that’s refunded if you attend.

  2. I’d be interested in taking this course, but not sure how to find the info about its offering. I don’t currently subscribe to “Now” magazine.

  3. This course is a great idea. I wish this kind of education were mandatory in the last year of high school. So many young people go out into the financial world without knowing the first thing about money. Many of the problems people get themselves into financially could be avoided with some basic training up front. Kudos for offering your course again!

  4. I would love to attend the course, but the dates have not been convenient, will you offer it again during the year?

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