Students Help Increase Financial Literacy Across Canada

Time passes so quickly and before I know it, my babies will be off to college or university. I’m very concerned by findings of a new study from Capital One Canada. This includes the fact that one in two Canadians admit that they were unprepared to manage their finances heading into University – myself included.

education needs to start during the elementary years

It’s becoming more evident that people need that headstart in finance education, so they can better handle the situation when it’s entangled in their lives. Here are more startling statistics that make it really hit home that financial education needs to start during the elementary years:

  • 83% of Canadians think there is not enough financial education in the school system and that financial education should start in elementary school
  • 3 out of 4 Canadians wish they started learning to manage their money at an earlier age
  • 58% of Canadians say talking to friends, family and financial professionals is the best way to learn about effective money management
  • 42% of Canadians say they actually learned how to manage their money by talking to friends, family and financial professionals – 28% of Canadians say they learned through trial and error, which can be costly
  • 1 in 2 Canadians are uncomfortable talking about their finances
  • 53% of Canadians – and 72% of 18-25 year olds – wish it were more socially acceptable to talk about money
  • 41% of Canadians did not talk about money with their parents while they were growing up

education, elementary school, learning and people concept - teacher helping school kids writing test in classroom

Earlier this summer, I asked you to share your best financial lessons for parents just starting to teach their kids about money and you gave me some great suggestions. Here are just a few of my picks that parents can learn from:

“My parents starting savings accounts for us when we were young; and very much understand the value of a dollar… BUT, as far as investments go – ’I’m pretty clueless on what to do. I think it is VERY smart to teach children young about the basics and even a little further past that, so they are prepared for the future!” – Soozle

“We are teaching our son the value of a dollar. He saved for almost a year and a half because he wanted an iPad. He earned every cent and bought it with his own money. He was SO proud of himself.” – Jeanette

“I think it’s extremely important that kids know how to save up. My girls both have their own piggy banks that they get to put money in. All that money always goes into the bank as well. I think the earlier they learn, the better.” – Kathy

“We had allowances, we were taught to budget, I set up my RRSP at 16 with my first job, etc… Lots of skills to bring into adulthood.” – Louise

Another financial education solution lies in a fantastic hands-on program which is made possible by Capital One Canada and Enactus Canada.

Students help increase financial literacy across Canada through Enactus and the Capital One Financial Education Challenge!

The Capital One Financial Education Challenge is run in partnership Enactus Canada, a chapter of Enactus, an international non-profit that helps post-secondary students make a difference in their communities. Post-secondary student teams from across the country create community programs that use financial education and/or inclusion to empower people to improve their lives in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable way. These teams then have the opportunity to present their work in regional and national competitions each year, for a chance to be crowned champion and receive grants to expand their programs.


During competitions, teams must demonstrate how they identified their chosen audience was lacking financial literacy skills, knowledge or education and how this lack of knowledge was a barrier to financial independence. Teams then show how they addressed those needs using a collaborative approach that ultimately empowered the project beneficiaries to put their new skills to work in their daily lives.

Examples of current programs include the following:

  • Enactus Okanagan College – CAN$ave: Teaches key financial literacy concepts to elementary school students through a five-lesson simulated economy and training program {I wrote previous about CAN$ave, which you can read about here}. 
  • Enactus Windsor University – CityThrive: A 12-week program helping locals on social assistance gain financial stability through entrepreneurship.
  • Enactus Memorial University – SucSeed: A financial literacy training and micro-loan program which helps rural growers in Labrador with a shortage of fresh produce, purchase and utilize hydroponic systems. The hydroponic systems are built by at-risk youth, providing them with work experience and salaries.

This year, the Enactus team from Memorial University in Newfoundland was crowned Canada’s overall national champion because of their unique and innovative program, and will represent Canada during the Enactus World Cup, taking place in Toronto on September 28-30, 2016.

To learn more about the financial literacy projects developed by Canada’s top six regional finalists, click here.

I would like to congratulate ALL the programs in the challenge, each one is so unique, creative – and definitely helps make a big difference in the community and increasing the eduction to create financial literacy.

It’s projects like these that make me as a parent feel more confident that my children – and many more students – will be better prepared for life, and the coordination of their finances. 


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, yet as always, all opinions are my own.





  1. This is something that I hope my child will understand and do well with. When I went off to college I did not understand financial stuff nearly as well as I thought I did. I am hoping to teach my child with the money that he earned how to save some and have fun with some of it.

  2. I think a lot of children/young adults have trouble with this, grown adults as well! I think there needs to be more education on this at a younger age. I’ve been trying to do this with my children, but it’s hard when you have trouble yourself.

  3. This is such a great initiative! Going into college I know that I wasn’t properly prepared when it came to financial literacy and I’m worried about my kids. Any extra help our kids can get is absolutely welcome!

  4. I tell you, I wish I was taught earlier. I purchased my first home at 19 and it was a huge responsibility. I love initiatives like this

  5. We’ve taught our children how to save and we have college accounts for them. However, talk about investments, and I’m clueless. I need to educate myself more, so I can educate my kids.

  6. There needs to be more financial literacy taught in schools when the children are younger. Understanding even just the basics would be a stepping stone to learning more as they grow up.

  7. Financial literacy is so important. As a child I wasn’t taught a lot about money and I paid for it as a young adult.

  8. I have one child in University and one in College. We have worked hard to make sure they have a good understanding of finances. It helps that my Brother In Law is an accountant.

  9. Teaching children about being financially responsible is so important. It’s a skill they carry throughout their lives.

  10. Teaching kids financial literacy should be as important as science and language! They will need these skills to navigate through the rest of their lives. What a wonderful initiative!

  11. I wish we learned more about finances at a younger age. It is SO important to learn this info younger!

  12. Money management is a skill that is absolutely VITAL to learn. I think this is extremely important.

  13. Teaching children how to save money and to be financially literate is so important. I am trying my best to give my boys a head start with this.

  14. I think financial literacy is SO important. I didn’t really receive much in the way of education about finances and really messed up in my 20s and am still cleaning it up!

  15. I remember your previous article on this topic – what a great initiative.

    It’s funny, my eldest started Brownies this year and as I flipped through the badges the one I was most interested in was the one that taught about money. We are also in cookie selling season, so counting out money per box is a good start as well.

    It’s great to know that there are programs that are thinking about how to teach these concepts to younger kids.

  16. I know i wasn’t properly prepared when it came to financial literacy,i believe it should be taught in School.

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