Valley First

Valley First

November 06, 2013 12:00 ET

Young Canadians More Hands-On in Managing Finances, Still Face Familiar Financial Struggles

PENTICTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Nov. 6, 2013) - The millennial generation-those born between 1980 and 2000-are often stereotyped as a privileged, financially frivolous group. However, recent studies tend to paint a different picture.

With the financial crisis fresh in their memories, when it comes to managing their money, older millennials see themselves as informed, independent and skeptical; motivating them to be more involved in managing their finances and investments than previous generations.

"Our younger members ask a lot of questions," says Ryan Mahaffy, a personal banker at Valley First who has provided advice to many millennials. "They want to know their money is being looked after long-term, but that they will also have access to their cash as and when they need it. There is a healthy level of questioning that can lead to good financial habits."

Helped by technology such as mobile and online banking and a myriad of budgeting and financial apps, young Canadians have almost instant access to their full financial profile. But, this technology which makes it easy to save and invest also makes it even easier to spend.

"Technology is enabling young adults to adopt a more informed, more of a do-it-yourself approach to managing their money," says Mahaffy. "This can be really positive as being better informed can lead to better financial decision-making and money management.

"However, it's never been simpler to spend money, either. With the touch of a smartphone button or a few taps on the keyboard, money can leave an account even quicker than it comes in. At Valley First, we advise our members about the basics of sound financial management, regardless of whether they're online or still passing paper money across a counter."

Despite generational differences, some things remain the same. Like those who have gone before them, young Canadians trying to establish themselves financially identify incurring and paying off debt as their number one financial fear.

Heather O'Coin, a Valley First employee and mother to a high school-aged daughter, says while debt is a necessary part of today's life, many teenagers seem ill-prepared for the financial challenges faced by young adults - particularly when it comes to borrowing money.

"As parents, we need to be preparing our kids for their financial futures," says O'Coin. "Helping them be more financially aware is a good first step. Simple advice about spending, saving, budgets and borrowing can be incredible valuable. Understanding the basics of good money management should be near the top of the lesson list."

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 40 branches and 28 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has $7.1 billion in assets under administration, more than 171,000 members and close to 1,300 employees. For more information on Valley First, visit valleyfirst.com.

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