/R E P E A T -- Preparing students for their financial future - My Money $ My Future/

CALGARY, Feb. 4 /CNW/ - The Certified General Accountants' Association of Alberta (CGA Alberta) today launched My Money $ My Future, a campaign aimed at improving high school students' ability to make informed and effective decisions when it comes to managing their finances.

Canadians' level of financial literacy is worrisome. A 2009 CGA Canada research report found that each Canadian household owed $1.42 for each dollar they earned, up from $1.16 in 2005. More than 25% of Canadian adults have no savings, and almost 50% have only a basic understanding of their most recent investment. The relative ease of taking on debt is a factor in why young people aren't as well prepared in financial management as they need to be, suggests John Carpenter MBA FCGA, Chief Executive Officer of CGA Alberta.  

"Canadians need a better understanding of the financial choices available to them and the consequences of those choices," said Carpenter. "Our attitude toward credit needs to adapt, and that must start in the classroom. Understanding money is crucial. The more students understand their finances, the better they will be able to manage their money and achieve their goals as adults.  When it comes time to decide what their next steps in life will be, their choices will not be restricted by their finances."

My Money $ My Future presents financial literacy from a student's perspective and focuses on issues relevant to them now and in the future. The student handbook and website teaches students to set and carry out a budget, plan and save, and offers helpful tips to increase income and decrease spending. Students will gain the tools they need to make informed decisions for managing debt, planning for post-secondary education and preparing for independence.

CGA Alberta is working in cooperation with the Calgary and Edmonton Catholic and Public School Boards to distribute the handbooks. "We value strong relationships with our community partners and we are proud to have worked with CGA Alberta on this resource, " said Merla Bolender, System Principal of the Career and Technology Strategy with the Calgary Board of Education. "We are committed to providing students with a solid foundation in understanding their finances at as early an age as possible. Having enthusiastic community partners like CGA Alberta working with us makes our public education system truly world class," she said.

CBE students can expand on the basics of financial management studied in their Career and Life Management (CALM) course in high school through further study of course such as Financial Management, Investment Planning, Personal Taxation, Accounting and Personal Financial Information.  These learning opportunities are available through the Career and Technology curriculum to better equip students for their future.  "The CGA resource is a great fit for these curriculum choices," added Bolender.

The need to improve financial literacy is an issue raised by more than accountants. Lesley Scorgie, Calgary-based author of Rich by Thirty and Rich by 40, books specializing in teaching young adults money management skills, says financial literacy is an essential life skill that has never been more important. "With the cost of a basic undergraduate degree upwards of $30,000-$40,000, students will be faced with more debt than previous generations. The earlier they can build skills to help navigate through debt and personal finances, the better off they will be in making decisions that contribute to their bottom line," she said. 

The Alberta Government also recognizes the importance of financial literacy.  "As financial products and services become increasingly complex, a solid foundation and understanding of the fundamentals--such as this campaign helps establish--will pay dividends for years to come," said the Honourable Lloyd Snelgrove, Alberta's Minister of Finance and Enterprise and President of Treasury Board. "Building up financial literacy makes for smarter, better-informed consumers, more profitable businesses, and ultimately, a more competitive and prosperous Alberta," he added.

My Money $ My Future gives students tools to plan financially for their next steps in life. Teachers are provided with engaging resources to help students learn about financial literacy, including a student handbook, website, and CGA speaker representatives. The topic is presented in a compelling format that encourages the student to continue learning outside the classroom setting.

"Learning effective and relevant financial management knowledge, skills, and attitudes is a lifelong investment," said Carpenter. "The key is to get students engaged to start learning basic financial management and planning skills now. My Money $ My Future helps students define their short and long term goals, understand the costs associated with those goals, and then equips them with the tools to plan financially so they can reach those goals."

The Certified General Accountants' Association is responsible for the education, regulation and promotion of CGAs in Alberta. There are more than 75,000 CGA members and students working across the country and around the world, at every level and in every sector. CGA is the fastest growing accounting designation in Canada and is the designation of choice for students pursuing an accounting career in Alberta. For more information about CGA Alberta, please visit the web-site at www.cga-alberta.org

SOURCE Certified General Accountants Association of Alberta

For further information:

For more information on the My Money $ My Future campaign, visit: www.mymoneymyfuture.ca.
For more information on CGA Alberta, visit www.cga-alberta.org.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Janice Harrington
Vice President, Communications and Government Relations

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Certified General Accountants Association of Alberta

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