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One employee’s take on financial literacy.

At Coast Capital, we’re all about helping our members achieve financial well-being, and our employees are a key part in helping us deliver on this. We recently ran a contest for employees where we asked them to submit a video of them telling us about their Purpose and how they live it every day at Coast Capital. Nabeela Barday from our Enterprise Project Management team was the winner of our Purpose contest. Her Purpose was centered around financial literacy.

Nabeela spoke about how financial literacy skills are important for Canadians to have, and that she comes to work every day happy to know she is helping people by working at Coast Capital. As part of her prize, she went to Montreal to attend the National Conference on Financial Literacy that was hosted by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. We sat down with Nabeela to chat about financial literacy and hear about her time in Montreal.

Why it’s important to Nabeela.

How do you define financial literacy?

Financial literacy is all about having the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions. For me, financial literacy and financial well-being go hand in hand.

Why is it important to you?

Whether it’s saving for an education, buying a house, or planning for retirement – there are a lot of complex financial decisions to make in life. There are a lot of challenges in managing personal finances in the face of continuing innovation. It’s important to be that we build the financial health of Canadians; it forms the foundation for building the financial strength of our country.

Financial literacy in Canada.

You recently attended the National Conference on Financial Literacy – how was it?

It was such a great opportunity for me to learn about the innovative programs that are making an impact on the financial well-being of Canadians. I heard about emerging trends, and discovered new tools to measure and evaluate financial literacy programs in order to achieve successful outcomes.

What was the experience like?

It was really cool to see all the work that is being done in this space! There were non-profits, public sector, private sector, community based organizations and educational institutions highlighting existing research and describing successes within the area of financial capability amongst all demographics.

One interesting piece of the conference was hearing from two-time Olympic gold medalist Alexandre Bilodeau. He talked about his journey to Olympic gold and some of the financial challenges that athletes faced. I always knew it was hard to make it in professional sports. I wasn’t as aware of the financial challenges and the investment required to get there.

What are some key learnings you took from the conference? Did anything surprise you?

It was very surprising for me to hear some facts from a 2014 Financial Consumer Agency survey:

  • 42% of Canadians ranked “money” as their greatest stress
  • 40$ of Canadians are concerned about saving for retirement
  • 34% of Canadians feel stressed when trying to pay their bills on time

It was a recurring theme of discussion at the conference that financial education in itself is not enough. Low confidence is showing up as one of the key barriers standing between people and their ability to make good financial decisions, despite “knowing better.” In addition to building financial knowledge, we need to find ways to translate knowledge into action.

Looking forward.

What do you think people can do to improve their own financial well-being?

It depends on what life stage people are in. Teaching children about money is a great way to get an early start on instilling financial literacy skills. Budgeting is another great tool – whether it’s for living the student life, or preparing household budgets. Finally, be conscious with how credit is used, whether it’s a home equity line of credit or a credit card. It’s so easy to use credit without realizing how quickly debts are piling up.

One of the reasons I work at Coast Capital is because we care about improving peoples’ lives and helping them achieve their goals. Financial literacy skills are so important to have, and I am proud to work for an organization that is taking the steps to help Canadians.