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Financial literacy and common sense gets little attention in schools, said banker and school trustee Jonathan Ho, who made the matter one of his key priorities when elected in 2014, after witnessing far too often young people walk into his TD Canada Trust branch with little to no wherewithal about their finances.
“I found a lot of young customers are very poor in financial literacy. They’re financially illiterate. Some aren’t aware that if they make a minimum payment, they still accumulate interest. Some customers are not aware they have a credit file and they screw it up. This takes a while to fix it,” explained Ho.
“I asked them if they learn anything in school; they say, no, they learn nothing,” said Ho, who recently helped wrap up a financial literacy event Monday, as part of a series of events this month related to common sense saving and spending.
Ho said there continues to be a gap in the education system that is leaving graduating students in the dark when it comes to simple things, such as paying bills, saving money, and understanding basic concepts such compound interest and credit ratings.
He said he hopes Richmond School District can encourage more of such learning in the classrooms, while encouraging parents to have more conversations with their kids on money.
“No matter what profession they have . . . they need to handle their finances. When they get married, have a family, they need to handle their finances,” said Ho.
Special events such as on Wednesday and district participation in financial literacy campaigns should help teachers raise more awareness in the classroom.