In Quebec, 51% of teenagers work to earn money. But their salary does not come with financial knowledge. Many parents would like to give their offspring a helping hand, without really knowing how to go about it.
If you have a child between the ages of 15 and 19, you know that budgeting, savings, and interest aren’t the hottest topics to put on the curriculum. And you still have to have knowledge yourself to want to talk about it, which is not always the case.
A Laval University project that will be held throughout November — the month of financial literacy — could serve as a pretext to break the ice. With, as a bonus, a composite portrait of his financial personality and the chance to win one of one hundred prizes of $50. This is a survey that aims to determine young people’s level of knowledge of personal finance and their relationship to money, a subject that is still little studied.
The questionnaire is only intended for young people aged 15 to 19. It’s quite beefy, with its 109 questions, and requires some thought, but it can be completed in multiple rounds. It reviews all the essential topics: investment, credit, inflation, tax-free savings account (TFSA), calculation of a rebate, lark.
Other questions serve rather to build the psychological profile of the respondent: do you like to follow fashion? What would you do with an inheritance? Are you expressive, methodical, ambitious, vindictive? Do you like projects that require creativity?
Researchers are thus seeking to determine whether personality influences the relationship with money. And if one changes, because the study must continue for 50 years.
There is no good or bad profile. We wanted to get out of the discourse “you have to save as much as possible”. Saving is not an end in itself. We are not moralizers.
Professor Marie-Claude Beaulieu, holder of the RBC Chair in Financial Innovations at Université Laval
For his project, Mme Beaulieu worked with an adolescent psychologist and a financial planner.
Once the questionnaire is completed, the teenager receives personalized feedback that should be thought-provoking. A bit like magazines that offer personality tests in 15 questions. “Your aspirations for the future are not always consistent with your profile”, some will learn. “You like the idea of taking risks and you demonstrate a good tolerance for ambiguity”, other respondents will be told.
This is a good starting point for a discussion that doesn’t have to be boring or dry.
We can obviously talk about financial education to our children even if they are not yet working and are going to primary school. It’s never too early to form good habits that will last a lifetime.
The Quebec CPA Order is also offering a new kit (questionnaire, webinars, articles and videos) for parents who want to help their children (from 7 years old) acquire good financial reflexes. These are useful for improving one’s situation and planning for the future, but also for being less vulnerable to fraudsters, argues the Order.
Financial advisor Nataly Labelle also believes in the virtues of parent-child discussions about money. This is why she founded the company Fric et fortune, which notably sells piggy banks to decorate (from 4 years old). “The child learns through play and crafts, as he decorates his piggy bank. It’s more real than a bank account,” argues the entrepreneur and finance lecturer at LaSalle College.
Nataly Labelle has also written books, including two for teenagers (money and me and Your money, manage it!).
Working in a bank, this personal finance enthusiast was stunned, she says, by her clients’ lack of knowledge. She took the opportunity to explain to them how to make a budget by popularizing as much as possible. This is what motivated her to go into business and teach.
We must anchor this among young people that money, we do not spend it anyhow!
Nataly Labelle, Financial Advisor
This is all the more true as young people enter the labor market earlier and earlier. We are sometimes served, in certain shops, by 12-year-old teenagers. In addition, credit has never been so accessible with the proliferation of platforms offering to pay for purchases “in four easy installments”. Added to this are the effects of high inflation and rising interest rates that are making headlines these days.
While financial skills have always been important, current events show us that they are more useful than ever.
What are your tricks?
If you have decided to take charge of your personal finances and improve your level of knowledge, I would like to know how you did. What were your tricks? Do you have any readings, apps, online resources, videos or experts to suggest to those who would like to follow in your footsteps?