FSRA sets out four step plan to help save consumers money and prevent a financial headache
To mark Financial Literacy Month this November, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) is setting out four steps Ontarians should take before making major financial decisions.
“It’s more important than ever to spend and invest smarter. The opportunities are there, consumers just have to take advantage of them,” said Stuart Wilkinson, Chief Consumer Officer at the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA). “This Financial Literacy Month we are encouraging all Ontarians to check out the resources available on our website and learn more about the various ways to help safeguard and grow your personal finances. By investing this time, we believe it could lead to better decisions and possibly savings down the road.”
Ontarians regularly have to make important personal financial decisions that could impact their life savings, and recent FSRA survey results show they may not be considering all of their options when it comes to financial advice.
The survey found that the most common source of financial advice was word of mouth (40 per cent), followed by the internet (35 per cent).
FSRA research also found that people may not be spending enough time to consider important financial decisions:
- Nearly 40 per cent of respondents spend more time planning their vacation than understanding their mortgage.
- Fifty per cent spend more time researching their last cellphone purchase than they did their financial services professional.
- Only 30 per cent of Ontarians actively seek out the lowest auto insurance rates.
- Six in 10 people with private mortgages do not have an exit strategy for transitioning back to a traditional mortgage.
- Nearly 50 per cent of respondents know more about their favorite TV show than the inner workings of their pension plan.
“All financial decisions carry weight,” said Wilkinson. “Although making important financial decisions can be a difficult and intimidating process, FSRA is here to help Ontarians navigate these choices. An informed consumer is an empowered consumer.”
Four steps to help improve your financial literacy:
1) Working with a mortgage broker? Verify the brokers' credentials and ask questions to understand how the mortgage they are recommending will impact your financial situation.
2) Considering a private mortgage? Create an exit strategy. Private mortgages can be an option for some consumers, such as those who are unable to qualify for a traditional mortgage. But it’s important to remember, the terms can be very different and private mortgages should be a short-term stop gap, not a long-term solution.
3) Buying auto insurance? Shop around. When it comes time to renew your auto insurance policy, consumers should shop around to get the policy that best suits their needs and coverage.
4) Working with a Financial Advisor or Financial Planner? Ask the right questions. What credentials do you have and from what credentialling body? Individuals using the Financial Planner and Financial Advisor titles in Ontario must hold a credential from a FSRA-approved credentialing body. This means they will be required to have a minimum standard of education and will be held accountable for their conduct.
To help promote financial literacy across Ontario, FSRA is currently accepting grant applications from organizations hoping to develop consumer education initiatives or research that focus on financial literacy or awareness.
FSRA continues to work on behalf of all stakeholders, including consumers, to ensure financial safety, fairness, and choice for everyone.
Learn more at www.fsrao.ca.
For media inquiries:
Sr. Media Relations and Digital Officer
Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA)
Email: [email protected]