Rubina Ahmed-Haq

Personal Finance Expert

Always Save Money

Start Speaking The Language Of Money

Financial literacy among Canadians remains a big concern. In March 2017 a new pilot project aimed at helping  young people learn about money was launched in Ontario. Grade 10 students across 28 high school in that province will start to learn the basics of money in a classroom setting.

It’s a tiny step forward to solving what is becoming a big problem in Canada. We no longer have the confidence to speak the language of money. That is leading many of us to make bad financial decisions and unable to find ways to save for our future.

Here are five way to start becoming more financially literate right now.

Test yourself

Take the Financial Literacy Self-Assessment quiz. The quiz is free and takes five minutes. It will give you a good understanding of how much you know about money and your own financial situation.

Talk to an expert

We all know one person in our life that is great with money. The one who has been able to save. The one who always has their bills paid on time and doesn’t stress about their cash flow situation. If you admire their money saving ways, spend some time talking to them about what they have done to understand the language of money.

Get informed

In my experience Canadians are reluctant to learn about personal finance because they think it’s to complicated. Like any other subject if you spend some time reading about it, it will become easier to understand. Take 30 minutes a week to read the business section of your local newspaper, watch business news or read a personal finance book. It’s a small commitment that will help you get wealthier.

When reading, circle or write down every single word that doesn’t make sense. It could be business jargon that has a simple meaning or it could be phrases you really need to know to understand your money.

Book time with a financial advisor

My best advice is to find a financial advisor though friends and family. Once you choose someone you like book some time with them. For the first meeting only commit to discussing your options. See what they say about your money situation and how they can help. When you finally sign up with a financial advisor make sure you understand how their fees work.  A new rule called Client Relationship Model Phase 2 (CRM2) requires advisors make transparent the fees they are charging. Read more about CRM2 here.

Cost of living

In order for you to have a full grasp on your personal finances, it’s imperative you understand how much your life costs. Here is a list to get you started. Track these for atleast one month. 

  • Automobile
  • Charitable Donations
  • Child Care
  • Clothing
  • Debt Payments
  • Dining Out
  • Entertainment
  • Groceries
  • Fitness
  • Gifts Given (Christmas & birthday gifts, etc.)
  • Hobbies
  • Household Maintenance
  • Housing
  • Insurance other than medical/dental
  • Investments
  • Medical/Dental
  • Miscellaneous
  • Public Transit 
  • Savings
  • Subscriptions
  • Utilities
  • Vacation


Set some financial goals

How do you know where you want to go if you don’t make a plan to get there? This is especially true with money. Your goal could be to pay off debt, or save more for retirement or by a new house. Whatever it is write it down and map out how you’re going to get there.

Financial literacy is a journey and a pretty rocky one at that. There is no one line to a wealthy financial future, but learning the language of money starts with taking the time to learn what all the business jargon means. No one cares about your money more that you, so take the time to get more financially literate.



Here are some useful links.

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