PENTICTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 1, 2012) - With cash, debt and personal finances dominating so many conversations today, it may be logical to assume financial education is something parents are passing on to their children. However, a new survey shows only one-third of Canadian kids aged between 10 and 17 regularly discuss money and finances with their parents.
With Financial Literacy Month beginning on Nov. 1, Vicki Morgan, a branch manager at Valley First, says it is a terrific opportunity for parents to start teaching their kids about cash.
"Most parents manage to talk to their kids about the birds and the bees," says Morgan, "but, for some reason we're more reluctant to discuss dollars and cents. Like anything, a positive financial future is based on knowledge and creating good habits in our formative years."
Given the lingering economic uncertainty and the record debt levels Canadians are currently carrying, Morgan says now, more than ever before, parents should be providing sound financial guidance.
"Good financial advice is like gold," says Morgan. "When talking financial literacy, I turn to the old saying 'watch the pennies and the dollars will look after themselves.' By understanding your smallest earnings and expenses you can work up to the more complex financial issues you will face in your life."
Morgan believes there are a number of reasons parents may avoid talking about finances and financial literacy with their children. Among them the perception money is a taboo topic or the fact parents simply don't have the knowledge to pass on.
"We learn at an early age that talking about money is somewhat socially unacceptable," says Morgan. "I think some of that mindset is present in most households. Beyond this, the reality is, many adults don't have the necessary financial knowledge to pass on to their children. To address this issue, at Valley First, we don't just sell products and open accounts, we make sure we take the time to get to know our members and give them the advice they need to effectively manage their finances."
Survey results also show kids aren't averse to furthering their financial knowledge; more than 30 per cent would like to talk more openly about their family's finances.
"By talking openly about finances, parents can eliminate a lot of the mystery associated with money," says Morgan. "It's good for kids to know money doesn't grow on trees, and once parents have started that discussion, it becomes easier for them to provide education on healthy financial habits."
Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 37 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has approximately $6.6 billion in assets under administration, more than 169,000 members and close to 1,400 employees. For more information on Valley First, visit www.valleyfirst.com.