Photo Credit: Faustin Tuyambaze
If there’s one thing I know first-hand, it’s that few students that entered university for the first time this year will be equipped to handle their finances. I know I wasn’t, and that’s how I ended up accumulating $38,000 of debt in my four years of post-secondary education.
A recent Capital One Financial Education Study suggests that over 50 per cent of 18 -25 year olds freely admit to being unprepared to manage their finances during post-secondary education. Fifty-eight per cent of Canadians agree that talking to family, friends and financial advisors is a great way to learn more about their money, yet 53 per cent reported feeling uncomfortable talking about their money. We don’t know enough –we know that we don’t know enough, yet we’re too uncomfortable to talk about it.
This makes me sad, because I also know first-hand that openly talking about money was the number one thing that helped me learn about it. Finding the personal finance community, where people talked so openly about their finances, helped me learn and grow and become the reasonably financially knowledgeable person that I am today.
That’s why I’m so happy to see that a group of students are engaging Canadians in financial literacy through Enactus Canada and the Capital One Financial Education Challenge.
The Capital One Financial Education Challenge is one of four challenges in the Enactus regional and national competitions. Teams from around Canada participate by designing projects that empower people in their communities through financial education and entrepreneurship.
The students that participated in the Capital One Financial Education Challenge did their part to bring financial literacy to the masses and breaking the taboo that still exists regarding having conversations about money. Here are some examples of the programs they implemented through the competition:
The Enactus chapter of Okanagan College designed a five-lesson program to teach elementary school students about the economy and financial literacy.
At Windsor University, the Enactus chapter started CityThrive, a 12-week program designed to help people on social assistance gain financial stability by starting their own businesses.
And finally, a regional champion of the Capital One Financial Education Challenge, and overall winner of the national Enactus competition, Memorial University in Newfoundland, founded SucSeed. SucSeed is a program that teaches financial literacy concepts to rural growers in Labrador. They worked with Capital One Canada to develop a microloan program so those growers could purchase a hydroponic system to help address their fresh produce shortage. These systems are built by at-risk youth, which also benefits the youth by giving them an income, work experience, and financial literacy training.
Wow, just wow. These kids are doing so much to promote financial literacy, it just blows me away! To learn more about some of the other programs that students have put together, check out the videos here.
Back in May, when I first wrote about the Enactus competition and the Capital One Financial Education Challenge, I asked you, my lovely readers, to share your best financial education tips. Your responses were amazing! Here are the top tips I received:
“Save and give before paying your other bills. This basically means, paying yourself first. But also, putting $ aside before other things come to take it away. The second is giving back to those around you. And again, do it before other things whittle away at your earnings. If you can learn to live on less then what you make, you will always be able to put a little aside for rainy days.”
“Do not use student loans to travel is a big one for our entitled generation. If you owe student debt, you are not in a position to go. I see this weekly and show them a time line of what their debt is going to look like in 10 years.”
“Just because you CAN afford something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD buy it.”
“Saving for the day-to-day, short term and long term. The 35 per cent rule for home expenses. Also the 1-2 per cent required for home maintenance and the need for an emergency fund.”
Now my challenge to you is as follows:
Can we be even a fraction as good as these students?
Can we help eliminate the taboo of talking with our friends and family about financial literacy?
I challenge you to engage just one person in a financial literacy conversation this week. By talking about it, we can normalize it. Let’s do it!
This post is part of a sponsored collaboration with Capital One Canada. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.