This is a topic I’ve learned about the hard way – you see, I’m one of those people about whom all the media are now talking, who have racked up way too much credit-card debt and hold too many cards.
But fortunately (sort of), I hit 40 last year and finally got the good sense to engage a financial adviser. Her first order of business? Weaning my husband and I off our VISA habit. Having finally drilled down to figure out which ones have the lowest interest rate, we are now cancelling cards left-and-right.
And it’s not just to avoid temptation: it’s also to improve our credit rating. Did you know that just having room on multiple cards raises your debt ratio? I didn’t.
“Debt ratio,” you say? If you don’t even know what that is (and again, I didn’t, either), you can at least be comforted in knowing you’re not alone. A report released today on CBC.ca warns that more and more of us are starting to default on our credit card payments.
There is some good coming of this, though. Last week it was announced that a new task force is being struck to improve financial literacy among Canadians. I’ve also been hearing more and more about revisions to the school curriculum to include this important topic.
You may think it sad and not surprising that these issues are making it into the headlines both here and in the U.S., now that so many are now suffering the consequences of our ignorance. All I can say is, thank goodness it’s happening, no matter the timing! If only those programs had been around in my elementary and secondary school days (in case you’re even more phobic of numbers than I am, they were in the 70’s and 80’s).
Now, let’s just hope that the Financial Literacy Task Force will consult heavily with educators and literacy professionals as they figure out their action plan.
Want to further educate yourself?
Here’s a link from the ‘horse’s mouth,’ as it were: The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) offers a host of resources to help you become more financially literate.