On the money: news and financial advice – July/August 2017

Canadian teens rank third in a new survey measuring youth financial literacy, while a report concludes that Canadians spend $33B a year on their aging parents.

PAPERLESS CHASE

Digital and mobile payment at a tipping point

Canucks may soon be ready to go cashless, according to research from Payments Canada, a nonprofit that operates the country’s main retail payment systems. In a survey of 1,500 Canadians, two-thirds of respondents say they are willing to let go of cheques and half would make do without cash. Having said that, only 19% of the population shops online and just 13% uses innovative payment technologies such as e-wallets. “This data demonstrates a natural ambivalence around emerging technological advancements in payments but endorsement from early adopters, which often signifies a tipping point,” says Gerry Gaetz, CEO of Payments Canada. On average, Canadians make 22 cash transactions and write three cheques a month.

SAVVY STUDENTS

Canada in top three for youth FinLit

Young girl proudly holds her piggy bank

Four out of five Canadian 15-year-olds say if they didn’t have enough money to buy something they really wanted, they’d either save up to buy it or not buy it at all. Those are among the results of an OECD worldwide survey measuring the financial literacy of students. Compared to the OECD average of 78%, 87% of Canadian 15-year-olds performed tasks associated with at least the minimum level of financial literacy required to participate fully in modern society. Canada ranked second, tied with Belgium, after top-performing China.

FIRST-HOUSE AID

Nearly half of young home buyers had help

It used to be that one income was plenty to purchase a home, but now even two incomes aren’t enough for a growing number of first-time buyers. According to a Manulife Bank survey, 45% of millennial homeowners say they received a financial gift or loan from their family to buy their first home, despite the fact that the number of Canadian families with two employed parents has doubled in the past 40 years. By comparison, 37% of gen-Xers and 31% of baby boomers got help from family members when they purchased their first home, the survey found.

DEBIT DELUXE

Remote control for cards

New apps and specialized services are sprouting up in the US and UK allowing debit-card users to set daily spending and withdrawal limits, block certain purchases or even turn the card’s shopping function on or off at will. Barclays Bank recently launched such an app in an attempt to thwart fraud, while US startup Current offers a Visa debit card for kids that parents control through a mobile app.

COST OF 'RENTS

Canadians spend $33B a year on aging parents

Nearly two million Canadians pay an average $3,300 a year in out-of-pocket expenses to care for parents over the age of 65, and twice as many lose an average 450 hours of work annually to attend to aging parents’ needs, finds a report by CIBC Capital Markets. That works out to about $6 billion in direct costs and $27 billion of lost income or forgone vacation time that parent caregivers forfeit each year.