For the third consecutive year the Bridgehouse Scholarship Program saw Canadian students given a chance to win one of ten $2,000 scholarships. From across Canada more than 5,000 students between 16-22 took the Money Personality Quiz, submitted a 400- to 500-word essay explaining what they learned about their "inner financial self." The winners were announced last week.
Bridgehouse Asset Managers is a division of Brandes Investment Partners. The company began the scholarship program as a way of helping to promote financial literacy in Canada. According to the company, the contest was specifically developed to address recommendations from the federal Task Force on Financial Literacy. In February 2010, the Canadian government launched this Task Force to investigate the financial literacy of Canadians of all ages. The task force released its recommendations on how to improve financial literacy for all Canadians in its February 2011 report, Canadians and Their Money. Canada’s first official Financial Literacy officer has also taken office this year. The essay competition is another piece of the new financial literacy landscape.
The ten winning submissions were selected by a panel of investment advisors. The in-depth answers, found here, demonstrate that had financial literacy in this country is much better than it was in the past. There was a day, not that long ago, when the average Canadian would struggle to explain what a mutual fund was. But with the expansion of an "investing culture", the implementation of RRSP rules, the idea of investing has become basic to the thinking of the average Canadian. The essay contest is designed to help kids get a leg up on the education necessary to sucessfully navigate modern economic life. If the essays are any indication, the state of financial literacy in Canada continues to improve.
Bridgehouse Asset Managers president Carol Lynde calls top submissions "encouraging, smart and indicative of growing investor knowledge among young Canadians…Since the BSP began in 2012, we are seeing more and more young Canadians ready, willing and able to take those important early first stepsw to earn save and invest. It is imperative the next generation takes responsibility for its financial future and we're starting to see this happen."
This year’s contest saw the number of submissions outpaced previous years. The value of the award doubled this year to $2,000 per student.