Access free tools for Financial Literacy Month #FLM2017

Financial Literacy month--take charge of your financesLast week, I promised to share some of the best sites and tools I learned about at the National Financial Literacy Conference for Financial Literacy Month.

Here are six free sites and tools you can use yourself, or share with your kids or students to help you take care of your financial health.

1) FCAC is encouraging Canadians to take the MoneyFitChallenge at moneyfitchallenge.com. Test your financial knowledge to earn points towards Tim Hortons and Cineplex gift cards. You can register as an individual, as an organization or as an educator.

2) VISA Canada and Marvel have teamed up to produce comic books for kids on financial literacy. You can order Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers Mad Money Skills at practicalmoneyskills.ca.

3) Score a hit with your teen by introducing them to Financialsoccer.ca to teach them basic money concepts.

4) myclassroomeconomy.org is a classroom economy that teachers can use to teach kids about money. Students earn school “dollars” for decisions like whether they will rent or buy their desks and more.

5) Newcomers to Canada can learn about how our banking system works with a free online course from abcmoneymatters.ca

6) My personal favourite: proliteracy.ca is a great site for planning for post-secondary education costs. You can enter the number of years your child will be in school, which university or college they plan to attend, which program and whether they will live at home or not. It will tell you what the total cost will be for tuition, rent, and expenses like food, books, etc. I ran the numbers and the total cost for Grace if she goes to four years of university was $86,000 or $61,000 if she lived at home. The site also has a great blog and information on what grants and scholarships are available. You can even share your profile with family members and ask them to make donations towards your child’s education!

This week’s #HappyAct is to take care of your financial wellbeing this month. Choose one tool or challenge yourself to take one action to take better care of your finances. Happy Financial Literacy Month!

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It can buy me a boat

I’ve been thinking a lot about money lately. November is Financial Literacy Month, and once again my company, Empire Life, is issuing a challenge: to take action this month on the one thing you need to do to feel better about your financial health. We call it the Financial Weight Loss Challenge—lose the weight of whatever financial worry is weighing you down.

Financial Literacy Month ad

For the past two weeks, I’ve been trying to decide what action I will take this month. Last year I said I was going to change to a cheaper cell phone plan, finish a spreadsheet I’d started with all our insurance and investment policies, and start saving more for the kids’ education. While I didn’t get it all done last November, I followed through on all three things.

My family’s favourite song right now is Chris Janson’s song, Buy Me a Boat. The lyrics are, “I know everybody says money can’t buy happiness…but it could buy me a boat, it could buy me a truck to pull it.”

When it comes to money, we’ve always taken a balanced approach between saving and living. Right now, living is winning out. So my actions this month will be modest: sign up for ebilling for those final bills that are still mailed to me (bonus points for going green, something I should have done a long time ago), put a few extra payments on our line of credit, and waste less food in the house, which for us mainly means cleaning out our fridge more often.

That will leave a little money in the bank to dream. And while the last thing we need is another boat, you never know what might show up in the driveway or where the wind will take us on our travels next year.

This week’s #HappyAct is to take the Financial Weight Loss Challenge and share what you’re going to do to lose the weight of financial worry. Post a comment here or on the Empire Life Facebook page. You can also help support Pathways to Education if you share one of our posts with the hashtag #EmpireFLM this month. Every time someone uses the hashtag in November, we’ll donate .25 cents to Pathways to Education. Take the challenge: how will you lose financial weight? Leave a comment.

 

The best investment you can make

Warren BuffettIt’s RRSP season, a time when Canadians take a few minutes away from dreaming of warmer temperatures and travels south to consider where to invest their money.

For investors, this weekend is big for another reason. Yesterday, Warren Buffett, the President of Berkshire Hathaway released his 50th annual letter to shareholders. For those of us who have an interest in the world of investing, Buffett is “the bomb” and his annual letter is a must-read, full of gems. I’ve included a few highlights and interesting facts from this year’s letter at the end of today’s blog.

While Buffett’s fortune of $73 billion may make him a happy guy, I think he’d agree with me that the best investment you can make is not in any one stock or company. It’s in yourself.

I can’t take credit for this advice. I was on one of my favourite social media sites, Quora the other day and saw this question: What’s the best investment a 20-year old can make? The cool thing about Quora is anyone can post an answer. One wise millennial beyond her years posted this answer: to invest in yourself.

Warren Buffett always says don’t invest in what you don’t understand. No one understands you or knows what is best for you than yourself.

This week’s #HappyAct is to make the best investment you can make by investing in yourself. Follow this advice and you’ll enjoy every bit as much of success as Warren Buffett.

From Buffett’s 2015 annual letter to shareholders

  • Wondering where to invest your money? Buffett believes in investing in businesses with intrinsic value. Berkshire Hathaway increased its ownership in 2014 to 7.8% of IBM, 9.2% in Coca-Cola and 14.8% of American Express
  • The per-share value of Berkshire Hathaway in 1965 was $19. Today it’s $146,186. That’s an annual compound rate of return of 19.4%
  • “Gender should never decide who becomes CEO”
  • 39,000 people attended the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting in Omaha last year. This year it’s on May 3. Buffett gives tips on how to get there and where to shop to help attendees save money. For example, one of his companies, the shoe company Brooks will be selling special commemorative running shoes!