If you feel like you’re not managing your money well, you’re not alone. In this day and age, it can be challenging to understand the complexity of financial products and handle our personal finances.

Hook, line and debtor

We are all juggling increasingly hectic lives, with little time to devote to our personal finances. Meanwhile, the temptations to spend, and the means to do so, are vast and growing. Mobile devices, for instance, are revolutionizing shopping — it has never been easier or more convenient to part with our money. It’s hard to ignore that retailer’s promotion popping up on your smart phone.

Consequently, Canadians are feeling more in debt than ever, and many worry and struggle daily with financial issues.

“Financial knowledge has the potential to be a powerful force, allowing you to gain more control over your financial life.”

Learning is a lifelong process

The positive news is that more people are recognizing the need for healthy money management.

Being smart with your money — by building good habits, making choices that best suit your needs and income and taking the time to become knowledgeable about the financial products you use — can be the difference between a happy life and a life fraught of financial anxiety and trouble.

The ability to make good financial decisions is essential to our well-being at every stage in our life. Indeed, there are financial lessons to be learned at every age, from saving your first coins in a piggy bank, to moving out on your own, to planning your retirement.

"The ability to make good financial decisions is essential to our well-being at every stage in our life."

Understanding the available resources

This special supplement on financial literacy is packed with money tips, whether you’re looking to balance the family chequebook or for the latest insights on home financing, investing or finding a financial advisor.

There are plenty of resources out there. Many community organizations offer free materials, seminars and counseling to help you with important financial decisions. And you can download free money apps that make it easy to track your daily expenses, set reminders to pay bills and more.

Have kids? Make it a family affair by having money conversations with your children to teach them the value of money and making smart choices. Turn errands like grocery shopping into financial education.

Financial knowledge has the potential to be a powerful force, allowing you to gain more control over your financial life. That’s vital for everyone regardless of age or income level.

I hope you’re inspired to become more focused, organized and disciplined in managing your finances, so that you build a positive relationship with money.

"Financial knowledge has the potential to be a powerful force, allowing you to gain more control over your financial life."

Your money savvy checklist

DO
→ Buy what you truly need.
→ Live within your means. Only take on debt that you can afford.
→ Consider a “financial diet.” Find ways to trim cable, phone and recurring expenses.
→ Take time to effectively manage and understand your personal finances.
→ Shop around. A recent study shows loyal bank customers don’t always get the best deal on mortgage renewals. Looking elsewhere yields better rates, saving thousands of dollars.

DON'T
→ Buy things just because they are on sale or you received an online coupon.
→ Use payday loans or treat credit cards and lines of credit as unlimited sources of cash.
→ Overload yourself with expenses.
→ Push money management tasks to the back burner.
→ Let blind loyalty drive your financial decisions.