Financial LiteracyGeneral

Financial Literacy Week 3: How to Become a Smart Financial Consumer

Do you ever wonder if you’re making “smart” financial decisions?

You’re not alone: Many Canadians also struggle with this question, wondering if their spending, saving, borrowing, or planning habits are helping or hurting them in the short or long term.

While it may seem difficult to know, the truth is there’s one simple indicator that can answer the questions above and even help you set yourself up for financial success in the future: Your Financial Health Score.

Step 1: Know your Financial Health Score

“Smart” financial consumers empower themselves with knowledge and that starts with knowing your Financial Health Score.

If you’re not familiar with the term, a Financial Health Score is a holistic, moment-in-time snapshot of an individual’s financial health. Similar to a credit score, it’s a single, multi-digit number that reflects the state of an individual’s financial well-being.

There are many aspects to financial health, including the amount of savings you have, how much you’re saving for retirement, how much of your income you’re spending on fixed or non-discretionary expenses, and more.

As a Cashco customer, the first thing you’ll do is complete our Financial Health Quiz which will give you your Financial Health Score; this number helps our Associates advise you on the right product solutions, while equipping you with the right tools and resources to become a smart financial consumer.

Step 2: Get educated

It’s not enough to simply know your Financial Health Score — “smart” financial consumers take the time to understand what their scores mean, so they can start improving them today and into the future.

Financial Health Scores typically fall between one of three categories: “Vulnerable,” “Coping” and “Healthy” — while we encourage all of our clients to read about their scores, our Associates are there to help you interpret your score and give you targeted recommendations that will leave you feeling informed and empowered.

Beyond learning about your Financial Health Score, we also recommend browsing our blog, which is full of helpful information and tips that can guide you on the path toward a healthy financial future.

If you have children, keep an eye out for the upcoming launch of our Cashco Scholars Youth Literacy Program , an initiative that’s designed to teach financial literacy to youth in our local communities. The program is slated to launch in 2020 and will be open to students starting from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

Step 3: Use the right tools

Once you have a grasp on your Financial Health Score and the steps you need to take to improve or maintain it, it’s time to invest in the right tools, from on-going education to selecting the right banking solutions.

As a busy individual, it can be tempting to “take whatever you can get,” in terms of banking solutions, but the “smart” financial consumer works with a professional to select solutions that fit his or her specific needs. At Cashco, our Associates will assess your current financial situation, help you develop your financial goals, and suggest banking solutions that will support whatever goals you hope to achieve.

For example, if your goal is to cut out unnecessary costs (like expensive banking fees), the Everyday Use Account offers up to $500 in overdraft protection and pays you up to $5 per month just for using it.

If you’re a busy mom who could use some help with saving, the Mom’s Match Savings Account might be perfect for you, as you can earn up to $120 per year just for putting a little away each month.

Beyond banking solutions, the “smart” consumer also invests in financial protection, whether that’s credit protection, fraud prevention or credit monitoring , which will give you an accurate credit report and alert you to any changes involving fraud.

Become a smarter financial consumer today

Take the first step by heading into any Cashco branch and taking a Financial Health Quiz or complete the quiz online, here.

This article is part of Financial Literacy Month at Cashco. This year, the theme is “Take Charge of Your Finances!” and we’re celebrating by sharing weekly tips around managing money and debt more wisely, saving for the future, and understanding your financial rights and responsibilities.

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