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Visa Canada's Practical Money Skills survey reveals that money talk at home better prepares students for financial independence

Four out of five students surveyed who talk about financial planning are more likely to develop and maintain a budget

TORONTO, Sept. 23 /CNW/ - With the back to school season well underway, results from Visa Canada's new Practical Money Skills survey shows that parents can play a pivotal role in helping their teenage children become more financially responsible. Surveying more than one thousand Canadian students in their final year of high school, the survey shows that respondents frequently turn to their parents (77 percent) for information on financial planning.

Respondents were also more likely to develop and maintain a budget compared to those who had never discussed financial planning with a parent or guardian (24 percent versus 15 percent).

"The website helps students take charge of their money with its no-nonsense approach," said Amy Cole, Acting Head of Corporate Communications, Visa Canada. "It includes handy online resources for managing expenses and drafting budgets that are appropriate for parents and students.

Visiting the site is also a great way for parents to initiate discussions with their children about making responsible financial decisions."

More than 80 percent of graduating high school students surveyed will attend post-secondary institutions next year, with half indicating they will rely on student loans. While almost 80 percent of students surveyed are realistic about the amount of debt they will accumulate, almost two-thirds indicated unrealistic expectations about their future starting salaries and their ability to repay student loans. Only 15 percent of students surveyed expressed concern about long-term financial goals, indicating they may lack awareness about the need for long-term financial planning. Interestingly, more than three-quarters of students surveyed agree that money management and budgeting should be mandatory school curriculum.

For students surveyed who have found it tough to follow a budget, the challenge seems to be integrating money management skills into their daily lives. When asked the primary reasons why they don't stick to a financial plan, 30 percent of respondents said that it was "totally unrealistic" and 27 percent believed it was "way too strict and hard to follow." The Practical Money Skills website and booklet can help as both encourage students to identify S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-related) goals and breaks the budgeting process into manageable steps; making the financial planning process less intimidating by encouraging students to "track, trim and target" their finances.

"While nearly half of the students surveyed felt prepared or very prepared for managing money after high school, one-third of respondents had never created a budget before," said Cole. "The tools available through help high school, university and college students to manage their day-to-day finances and create a realistic plan to achieve financial independence."

In an effort to make the information more accessible to students and parents, visitors to can download the Practical Money Skills brochure in English, French, Spanish, and Chinese. Punjabi and Arabic versions are scheduled to be available in October 2008.

About Visa
Visa operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys acceptance around the world and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit

Note to editors:
The national survey was conducted online in August 2008 by Youthography for Visa Canada. A total of 1,017 male and female students aged 16 to 19 who reported being in their last year of secondary school or going into their first year of post-secondary schooling were surveyed. The findings are accurate, plus or minus 3.06 percent, 19 times out of 20.

An outline of S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-related) goals and budget basics can be found at Budgeting

For further information: Carla Morin, Visa Canada, (416) 860-8850,;
Janine Allen, Fleishman-Hillard, (416) 645-3657,