A Financially Capable and Responsible Person

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A “Financially Capable Person” is one who:


  • The Basics of Money and Financial Matters: What we use as money, how to make good money decisions, basic banking, and how to make choices when it comes to using money.
  • How to Access Good Information and Help: Knows about reliable sources of information, how to get the information, and how to use the information to help make good money decisions.
  • How to be a wise consumer: Knows how to make choices about products and services wisely taking time to think about quality, price, affordability, and options.
  • How to Save Effectively: Knows saving helps a person to meet future needs, achieve goals, be prepared for the unexpected, and knows how to find ways to save and use “compound interest” to help build savings for the future.
  • How to Invest Wisely: Knows how to invest funds (when and if they are available) that fit with their goals, their comfort with risk, and their situation and make investments they understand that can help them achieve their goals.
  • How to Protect Their Income and People Who Depend on Them: Knows how to use insurance to protect income in case of a sudden loss of their ability to earn an income due to illness, disability, or death.
  • How to Protect Things of Value That They Own and Acquire: Knows how to use insurance to protect things of value (e.g. car, home, valuables) and knows how to avoid frauds and scams and to protect one’s identity.


  • Ask Good Questions: Ask good questions before making important economic and financial decisions and try to get answers from reliable sources.
  • Track Expenses and Keeps Up With Payments: Track how they use their money to know where it is going and be able to work with a budget to keep good control of their money – and pay bills on time to avoid unnecessary late fees, penalties, and interest charges.
  • Borrow Money Responsibly: Borrow only when necessary and limit borrowing to the level that can be afforded, compare and know the costs of borrowing, pick the best option, and pay back the highest cost debt first.
  • Obtain an Income If Desired or Required: Know how to look for work, keep a job if employed, or how to set up and operate a business if they are interested in being self-employed.
  • Use Financial Services Wisely: Know, and know how to use, financial services and products that are available that can help with managing money – and know how to keep the costs and fees as low as possible.


  • Consider Needs Versus Wants and Trade-offs: When thinking of buying something, think whether it is “needed” or “wanted” and the trade-offs that would be made – that is, what would be given up – both today and in the future.
  • Live Within One’s Means: Manage money so that it does not lead to great stress, buy what is needed/wanted – but not what can’t be afforded - i.e., where spending is continually greater than income - and keep a good credit rating.
  • Think About the Costs – Today and in the Future: Make major money decisions (e.g. having children, buying a home) only after careful consideration of the costs there will be – both today and possibly in the future.
  • Pay Required Taxes and Obtain Available Benefits: Pay one’s fair share of taxes, know about tax deductions and tax credits that are available – and also government benefits that may be available to help.
  • Consider Needs of Others: Consider the situations and needs of others, how decisions and actions may affect others, and ways in which people can help others in need.
  • Consider the Possible Impact of Decisions: Consider the possible impact of their actions and decisions on the lives of others and their community – including the environment
  • Set Goals and Seek Balance in Life: Think what is important in their life and set goals, and develop a plan, to achieve a balance between material things and other things that will affect their quality of life and happiness.


  • Sustainable financial lifestyle – in the present and in the future
  • Making informed spending, saving, borrowing, investing, and protection decisions
  • Manageable level of debt, and maintenance of good credit rating, if debt is required
  • Not paying penalties, fees, taxes, or interest charges beyond what they should or what is reasonable
  • Has planned and prepared for major life events, goals, and unexpected outcomes
  • Aware of general financial position at any point in time and posses knowledge and skills to adjust if need be
  • Able to access help and advice as needed
  • Has a sense of control over personal and household financial affairs

By: Gary Rabbior, President,
Canadian Foundation for Economic Education