To kick off Fraud Prevention Month, the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) conducted a survey to see just how uncomfortable discussing finances can make Albertans.
It turns out that the idea of being tested on financial literacy was one of the last things residents would be willing to do, falling along the same lines as giving a public presentation, going on a blind date, or even swimming with sharks.
The online poll was administered to 481 Albertans from January 9 to 16, and only 12% of respondents stated that they’d prefer to be tested on their financial literacy. Swimming with sharks was at 9%, and public speaking was at 14%.
“We were not surprised at the fact that the majority of Albertans said that they had very negative feelings towards finances,” said Alison Trollope, the director of communications and investor education at the ASC, to Daily Hive.
“It feels kind of taboo, because it’s something that people just don’t want to to talk about.”
Trollope said that the ASC has put together some resources for Albertans that want to improve their financial literacy and security, and will be offering video tutorials throughout the month of March.
“In our view, even one dollar of a hard working Albertan’s money in the pocket of a scam artist is too much,” she said.
“The more you know about a subject the more comfortable you’re going to be with it, and the more you know about basic financial concepts the better you can protect yourself from investment fraud.”
They’ve even thrown together this tongue-in-cheek video titled “The F-Word,” showing that “the talk” about financial literacy doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds.
The ASC has also relaunched their website CheckFirst.ca, which offers Albertans some tips on how to recognize red flags when it comes to investors. Trollope said that high rates of return with low risk are usually a good tip off, and that prospective investors should be checking the registration of those offering the investment, as most people would have to be registered before making those offers in Alberta.
The ASC will be hosting a Facebook Live video with financial expert Kelley Keehn at the end of the month, where those who took part in the tutorials will have a chance to put their new knowledge to the test.
The video will be in the form of a game show, according to Trollope, and all Albertans are encouraged to participate.
“Any good education comes with a test at the end, so this one does too.”