New national strategy aims to help Canadians understand, manage finances

TORONTO – A new national strategy announced Tuesday aims to help Canadians better understand and manage their finances.

The federal government hopes a new website that co-ordinates existing financial literacy programs across the country will also help Canadians save for retirement and avoid scams.

Canada’s financial literacy leader Jane Rooney, who took the job about a year ago, said Canadians have a major problem managing money.

“We found that 60 per cent of Canadians don’t know how much they need to save for their retirement,” she said after a press conference in Toronto.

“And 55 per cent of people are not using a household budget, which is one of the fundamental tools that people can use to make sure that their income exceeds their expenses.”

New Canadians and aboriginals struggle with money and accessing programs that could help, said Minister of State (Finance) Kevin Sorenson.

He said $10 million was earmarked in the recent federal budget for the program, which was paid for by the Canadian Bankers Association.

Sorenson said he hopes more companies will emulate the banking industry to teach their employees about saving for the future.

Canadians must be patient, he said, because learning about finances takes time and effort.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada will spearhead the initiative, which is called the National Strategy for Financial Literacy — Count me in, Canada.