Many Canadians lack basic knowledge of the economy and personal finance, and a portfolio manager and author says it’s because as children, they weren’t taught to be financially literate in school.

John De Goey, wealth management advisor and author of “Bullshift: How Optimism Bias Threatens Your Finances,” told BNN Bloomberg on Tuesday that parents are partially responsible for the knowledge gap.

“We assume that parents will be teaching it, but a lot of parents don't want to admit that they don't know what they don't know,” De Goey said in a television interview. “As a result, we have a gap.”

De Goey noted that debt levels among adults have increased as finances have become more complex and credit card use has become ubiquitous over the last few generations, but children are usually unaware of the trend.

De Goey said often asks guests on a finance podcast he hosts what they would have done differently in the past to improve their financial standing today.

“Half of them say we should be doing a better job of teaching personal finance to our kids,” he said. “They go on to say: ‘If I knew when I was a kid what I know now, I wouldn't have made all the mistakes that I've made over the course of my life.’”


In De Goey’s view, many children and young people today are getting financial advice from social media and other unregulated and potentially unqualified sources.

Teaching financial literacy in schools through regulated syllabuses and textbooks would give children and teens a credible, practical education they can use when they enter adulthood, he argued.

De Goey said there might not be enough material for a full-fledged high school course on financial literacy, but he suggested the material could be added to an existing courses like mathematics.

“I think our kids would be a lot better if they understood marginal tax rates rather than parallelograms and rhombuses,” he said.