Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

December 17, 2008 13:50 ET

FCAC Publishes the Results of its Youth Financial Literacy Study

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 17, 2008) - The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) today released the results of public opinion research conducted to identify the financial education needs of youth 18 to 29 years of age.

The results of the survey, which was conducted using telephone and on-line methods, show that young Canadians have trouble making and sticking to a budget, carry a certain amount of debt and would like to receive training on how to manage their personal finances.

This national study is part of FCAC's ongoing efforts to measure the knowledge and attitudes of Canadians regarding financial products and services. It provides interesting data on young Canadians' financial attitudes, behaviours and preferences.

To start, the results indicate that young Canadians in general have trouble making and sticking to their budgets. Three in ten (31%) do not make a budget. Of the two-thirds (66%) that make a monthly budget, 44% acknowledge that they cannot always stick to it.

Six in ten young Canadians (60%) report carrying some debt. The type of debt most often mentioned is credit card debt (65%), followed by student loans (44%). More than one-third (36%) of youth report having debts of $10,000 or more, and one in five (21%) are carrying $20,000 or more in debt.

Nearly four in ten young Canadians (37%) report that there has been at least one month in the past year when they did not have enough money to cover their expenses. Most who find themselves in this situation borrow from their family (53%) or friends (20%), or use their credit cards (35%) to cover the shortfall.

On the other hand, more than one-third of young Canadians (36%) regularly put money aside for the future, and an equal proportion do so sometimes. Two-thirds (64%) of young Canadians report that they currently have money put aside for the future. Most intend to use this money to finance the purchase of a home (24%) or their education (21%). Lastly, only one in five young Canadians (23%) report ever having taken a personal finance course or training session. Most who have taken such a course did so in college/university (42%) or school (34%). There is significant interest in receiving additional training on personal finance, especially on the topics of budgeting (26%) and debt management (20%).

"The data clearly shows that we must pursue our financial education efforts among young Canadians," said Ursula Menke, FCAC Commissioner. "That is why we have created The City, a new financial life skills resource designed to help youth acquire sound knowledge and skills in order to manage their personal finances."

"The City is an on-line resource that helps students learn more about a variety of financial topics, including budgeting, savings, credit, debt, insurance and investment matters. The City was launched in September 2008 and is offered in English and French on a new Web portal designed for young Canadians called," added Commissioner Menke.

To view or download the executive summary of the Youth Financial Literacy Study, visit FCAC's website at

FCAC provides consumers with accurate, objective information about financial products and services, and informs Canadians of their rights and responsibilities when dealing with federally regulated financial institutions. FCAC also ensures compliance with the consumer protection laws, and monitors codes of conduct and public commitments that apply to banks and federally incorporated trust, loan and insurance companies.

NOTE: The following contains additional statistics and more detailed information on the methodology used.

Other noteworthy results:

- Most young Canadians (58%) prefer on-line banking as a way of conducting day-to-day transactions.

- Debit cards are the most popular method of paying for day-to-day purchases among close to half of young Canadians (47%). Cash is the first choice among one-third (32%), while credit cards are the first choice of one in five (20%).

- Three-quarters of respondents (75%) review their banking statements monthly.

- There are almost as many young Canadians with credit cards (72%) as there are with savings accounts (74%).

- 73% of young respondents have made purchases on the Internet over the past year.

- Close to two in ten young Canadians (17%) have used the financial products and services of payday lenders, cheque cashers and pawnbrokers over the past year.


The Youth Financial Literacy Study was conducted using telephone and on-line methods: (1) a telephone omnibus survey with Canadians aged 18 to 29, designed to establish the incidence levels on key indicators among the target population and to serve as a benchmark for comparison to the on-line survey; and (2) an on-line, quantitative survey, designed to gather more detailed information from the target audience in a way that is both appropriate for the target audience and well-suited to the subject matter.

The results of the telephone survey are based on questions asked of 617 Canadians 18 to 29 years of age, conducted in three waves between April 7 and May 8, 2008. The margin of error for a sample of 617 is +/- 3.9 percentage points, 19 times in 20.

The results of the on-line survey are based on questions asked of 2,501 Canadians aged 18 to 29 years, between June 5 and 16, 2008. As results of on-line panel-based surveys are not based on random probability samples, "margin of sampling error" is not applicable. This is consistent with the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association's (MRIA) current code of practice.

A comparative analysis of the results obtained from the telephone omnibus and on-line surveys was performed in order to assess the validity of the on-line survey results. Results between the two methodologies were found to be consistent on many key indicators; differences can generally be explained on the basis of telephone survey respondents giving more socially desirable responses. On the basis of this comparison and assessment, the on-line survey results are considered to be at least as accurate as the telephone data.

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