Valley First

Avoiding Common Banking Pitfalls

Financial Literacy Month: Advisors help avoid common banking pitfalls
November 13, 2014

Penticton, B.C.—November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada and it comes at a time when Canadians’ saving habits are in the spotlight again—and not in a good way.

A new Conference Board of Canada study reveals Canadians aren’t feeling so confident about their retirement savings.

Nearly 40 per cent of those surveyed said that they don’t know how much they will need to save.

Part of the problem comes down to personal finance know-how. Almost 50 per cent of those surveyed said their financial literacy was “average” while almost 18 per cent said their knowledge was “below average.” That works out to more than two-thirds of Canadians lacking sufficient knowledge to make solid personal finance decisions.

“Some people’s financial plan is actually anticipation of an inheritance from their parents,” says Stacey Gagno, a branch manager with Valley First. “But they’re forgetting people are living a lot longer, so that inheritance may be a long way off—or there may be nothing left to inherit.”

Gagno says that lacking a solid personal financial plan is just one of several common personal finance mistakes that she and other financial experts see on a regular basis.

“Financial advisors are able to make connections between factors that come to bear on a person’s finances throughout the various stages of life,” she says. “We have the advantage of specialized education and training—and living and breathing dollars and cents every day.”

Failure to save, lack of understanding credit and compound interest and the various tax shelter vehicles, such as RRSPs and TFSAs, round out her top five list of personal finance pitfalls—mistakes that could be avoided with some expert help.

“There are a lot of helpful resources online, but the challenge for many is the time it takes to build depth of knowledge in certain areas, such as investing,” Gagno says. “An advisor has deep experience to draw on that can save you time and costly personal financial mistakes.”

About Valley First

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 38 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has $7.7 billion in assets under administration, more than 177,000 members and close to 1,300 employees.

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