Who's looking out for your personal finances?

Emmanuelle Bertrand | Journalist

One thing’s for sure: no one should be more concerned with your personal finances than you! And yet…

Only 42% of Canadians were able to correctly answer three questions designed to measure knowledge of interest ates, inflation, risk and diversification.*

While this rate is low, it’s no different from other Western countries. Researchers found that scores were lowest in the Atlantic provinces and in Quebec, particularly among francophones. Is there some kind of cultural difference when it comes to money?

According to Camille Beaudoin, Director of Financial Education at the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), “There’s a lot of work to be done to get Quebecers interested in managing their own finances.”

Essential behaviours

This year, the AMF announced the results of a study that looked at 40 essential behaviours with respect to finances. The AMF Index, which measures Quebecers’ financial behaviour, identified deficiencies in four main areas:

  1. Managing the relationship with a finance professional
  2. Managing personal finances
  3. Planning for retirement
  4. Understanding the impact of interest rates on debt

How can you improve your financial awareness?

According to Mr. Beaudoin, financial awareness starts with knowledgeable behaviour. For instance:

  • Get in the habit of asking questions
  • Meet with more than one finance professional before making a decision
  • Start thinking as early as possible about how much money you’ll need when you retire
  • Learn to detect and report fraud, even if the amount seems insignificant

Mr. Beaudoin says the AMF is working closely with the financial community to develop awareness strategies on the importance of saving for retirement. These strategies are primarily aimed at 25- to 45-year-olds. “We want to find a way to make these concepts second nature.”

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* Study published by UQAM and George Washington University School of Business

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