Canadian teens ranked among the highest in the world in financial literacy according to a new report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Thousands of 15-year-old students from seven provinces, including New Brunswick, participated in the study.
Marissa Sollows, senior education coordinator with the financial and consumer services commission in New Brunswick, said the study involved a large number of students from Canada.
"It did represent the entire Canadian population of 15-year-olds, so it was a very representative study."
Students were tested with questions about managing income and wealth in the short and long-term, understanding financial landscapes and risk and reward when it comes to transactions.
"It definitely was an exhaustive analysis," Sollows said .
They were also asked about consumer rights and responsibilities, the implications of contracts, and different forms of money.
"I think it's incredibly important for teenagers and even younger to start getting this financial information and getting these skills," she said.
"Allowing them to be prepared and kind of make mistakes and learn in a safe environment before these mistakes could have a real negative impact."
Sollows said students are taught budgeting, investment portfolio management, and understanding of interest rates as part of the high school math curriculum but that "there's always an opportunity for us to do more."
She said that teachers outside of the math class have also incorporated financial information into their lessons.
"We spoke to one teacher who taught English and the novel that the students were reading dealt with the Great Depression."
"He used that as an opportunity to bring some financial literacy and financial history discussions into his classroom."
A new era
Sollows said that with the growing popularity of pre-paid credit and debit cards, and the downward trend of using cash to pay for goods, students' concepts of money has changed.
"So it's not that they're not understanding or using money it's just a little bit different than perhaps previous generations that would have had more hands-on experience with cash," she said.
"When you're using a card … it makes the transactions a little less transparent. So you don't have the same experience with it in terms of understanding that there is a loss, you have to give up cash to get what you're purchasing in return."