To mark the beginning of November as Financial Literacy Month, residents are being given another tool to help combat the challenges being presented by COVID-19.
The Kitchener Public Library will be hosting ABC Life Literacy Canada’s Money Matters program, a series of educational classes intended to support adult learners in developing financial literacy.
Speaking with 570 NEWS, ABC Life Literacy Canada’s Executive Director Mack Rogers said that the COVID-19 pandemic has made the issue of financial literacy more important than ever.
“… our income is more insecure – so we really think it’s important to be talking about everything from budgeting to what debts to pay off first… to why and when to file your taxes.”
According to ABC Life Literacy Canada, only 46% of Canadians have a budget – with 4 in 10 Canadians disclosing that money is a daily concern. Rogers said he’s often heard of participants making choices without understanding their financial ramifications - like deferring rent payments without realizing those costs will eventually come due.
“That’s not to say they’re not spending money on important things that they do have access to like food or communications to try to find work if they’ve lost their work… but at the same time, there’s thousands of dollars going out in the world right now from vulnerable people, and we’re not talking about it enough. We should be talking about the solutions to these problems.”
Sign-ups for the virtual program, to be hosted over ZOOM, are available now on the Kitchener Public Library’s website. The financial literacy program runs every Tuesday in November at 2:00 p.m., beginning on the 3rd. Rogers said the online sessions will also be joined by a few volunteer bankers, through the support of TD Canada Trust. Those bankers will be available to answer specific participant questions on finances.
“It’s not only about the knowledge they’re going to gain – but they also get access to volunteers (…) we’ll give you the key skills you need to budget accordingly and to learn how to save and to pay yourself first, learn about interest and… but we’ll also have people to answer specific questions that you may have about your own personal lived experience in managing your money…”
“It’s really kind of a two-pronged approach; one: giving those foundational skills which Money Matters does so well… and number two: having an access point so people can talk to bankers and really understand their personal needs.”
Rogers also said ABC Life Literacy will be launching a skills hub in November – a platform for Canadians with lower skills in digital literacy to access learning materials. Those materials will include more on banking in a digital world, fraud & fraud protection, online banking and more.
The Money Matters program is open to anyone looking to understand or manage their money better. Those interested in participating are encouraged to sign up on the Kitchener Public Library website, or to contact the library directly.
“Kitchener Public Library is unique in that… when COVID hit, and we shut down all our adult learning programming, KPL was one of the first organizations to transition to online workshops.” Said Rogers. “We’re really proud to be continuing to work with them.”