As a teenager, I spent what little money I made on going out and updating my wardrobe. I wasn't very financially literate and honestly didn't think I had any financial power.
Of course, I knew the basic concepts: saving, over-indebtedness and interest, but I didn't know the impact they could have on my wallet.
To help younger generations avoid having to learn from experience and encourage them to use their smarts to achieve their financial goals, the Chaire RBC en innovations financières at Université Laval presents Money Matters: Take Charge!
This project, which includes a survey (you can select English at the top right of your browser), helps people set achievable financial objectives that are adapted to each person's aspirations. Basically, Money Matters: Take Charge! aims to familiarize young people with personal finance so that they can start thinking about and planning their financial future.
All youth aged 15 to 19 in Quebec can take the survey from November 1 to 30, plus it's completely free and anonymous.
There are two ways to take part: once, by completing the survey in November, or continuously, by agreeing to participate at other times in the future as part of the project's longitudinal component.
The questionnaire covers a variety of topics, such as your future goals and current personal finance knowledge. It features ten video clips on fundamental personal finance topics, as well as a glossary if you need it.
Immediately after completing the questionnaire (it takes about an hour), you'll get personalized feedback based on your answers. This exclusive feedback is a newly developed feature, offered to you as a bonus.
In fact, this is actually the only project on this topic that gives its participants a personalized "financial profile." This assessment will allow you to make observations about your existing financial habits and identify the best ways to achieve your goals.
I decided to take the survey myself, and I picked up so many financial tips that I would've loved to have had when I was younger to save me from mishandling my money.
The survey was a bit more challenging than I expected. The realistic scenarios stumped me a few times and I decided I needed some help. So I watched the videos, which helped me take stock of my financial behaviours and decisions and evaluate their long-term impact.
The feedback I received at the end of the survey was very accurate for my situation and helped me understand where I am based on the financial choices I've made. This will help guide me in the changes I need to make to reach my financial goals.
To prove how useful these tips are, watch this clip on budgeting. As you know, a budget is the first thing you need to do to manage your money well. There are nine other short (but fun!) videos like this as part of the project.
What I Learned From This Experience
I cannot stress this enough: you need to make a budget and stick to it! This will help you with so many things, like seeing the impacts of your daily spending habits. Also, if you plan to use credit, focus on "good" debt – yes, that's a thing.
Compound interest is a tool that can be extremely profitable. That's the main reason why you should plan for retirement early. If you can combine compound interest with a return that protects your purchasing power when inflation is on the rise, you'll get double the payoff. That said, investing and diversifying your assets can also pay off over time.
Plus, you can mitigate certain risks by choosing an insurance policy that’s adapted to your needs. Don't hesitate to ask the experts – they're there to help and provide you with the information you need to make more informed decisions about your money.
Finding all this info a little overwhelming? Check out the video clips. They'll help you demystify these concepts, and you'll be much better equipped to take control of your financial future.
Personal finance won't seem quite so intimidating when you have a clearer idea of your goals and know the basic concepts and tools available to you. That's what the Money Matters: Take Charge! project is all about.
Bonus: by taking part in the project, you'll get personalized feedback and be entered into a draw for the chance to win one of 100 prepaid Visa cards worth $50.
You can also check out the project's 10 videos on YouTube.
This article was originally published in French on Narcity Quebec.
This content is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute financial, investment, legal, tax or accounting advice.