​New Financial Literacy Chief gets down to business

With the decline of define benefit pension plans the Canadian government is focusing on the financial literacy of seniors.

​New Financial Literacy Chief gets down to business
This past April Jane Rooney was named Canada's first Financial Literacy Leader. Her job:  coordinate the financial literacy initiatives on the part of the federal government, "strengthen the knowledge, skills and confidence of Canadians in dealing with financial matters."

The Financial Literacy Leader position is a Governor in Council appointment. Ms. Rooney acts under the instructions of the Commissioner of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC).

One of the first tasks of the office has been to focus on the financial literacy of elder Canadians. After a couple of months in office, Rooney has just released a study, Toward a National Strategy For Financial Literacy Phase 1: Strengthening Seniors' Financial Literacy. The proposed blueprint has a couple goals to, "engage more Canadians in preparing financially for their senior years," and "empower seniors to plan and manage their financial affairs. As well--this is a government agency, after all--"educating Canadians on the public benefits available to Canadians."

Pension and benefits consultancy Morneau Sheppell commented on the release this week, suggesting, "The Federal Government's financial literacy strategy might help to address the current reality facing many Canadians. With defined benefit pension plan coverage having declined in the private sector in recent years, more Canadians than ever need to make important financial decisions concerning their retirement savings. These individuals may not have the financial knowledge they need to make those decisions, which could impact their future financial security and Canada's economy. Seniors appear to have been given priority because of the increasing number of aging baby boomers, as well as the fact that many seniors are struggling with greater debt, bankruptcy or financial abuse."