Learning the ABCs of financial literacy

With November being Financial Literacy Month, ABC Life Literacy Canada hosted their Money Matters workshop at the Thompson YWCA Nov. 5-6.

Cat Cogle, program co-ordinator for theThompson YWCA’s Steps to Success program, says these sessions are designed to hammer home basic financial principles such as the benefits of budgeting, opening a bank account and creating a spending plan.

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“Hopefully people go away from this thinking, ‘OK, this is how I save money, this is how I can avoid fees, this is how I can save for education or retirement,’” said Cogle.

For 18-year-old Robyn Caribou of Thompson, attending Monday’s workshop served as a good reminder of where he should be headed now that his life is back on track.

A couple of years ago, Caribou was roaming the streets of Winnipeg homeless with only an elementary school education.

Today, Caribou is living with his aunt, back in school and aiming to pass his General Educational Development (GED) test.

“I just want to go to school, get financially ready for when I actually want to settle down,” he said Nov. 5. “I want to travel, but you need money for that and that’s one thing I don’t have is a lot of money. I have enough money to go from month to month, but I don’t have enough money to leave town and come back in a week or something.”

While these Money Matters workshops are designed for people of all ages and backgrounds, TD Canada Trust financial advisor Adrianna Gorenc, who ran the Nov. 5 session, said they are especially useful for young adults, who should be thinking about establishing savings and a line of credit with their bank.

“It’s better to get that kind of head start,” she said. “When they come into the bank in five years and they want a car loan or something, then we’re helping them get to those next financial goals.”

ABC Life Literacy Canada has been hosting Money Matters workshops in Thompson since at least 2012, and has held 1,535 other workshops across the country since 2011.

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