If you need help with your money, talk to a new Canadian.

New Canadians are tackling financial literacy with gusto and effectiveness. According to a survey commissioned by Credit Canada (a not-for-profit, charitable credit counselling organization) and Capital One Canada, recent immigrants are more savvy about their credit ratings and scores than the general population.

And new Canadians are also more financially optimistic. Sixty-five per cent of those who have been in Canada five years or less and 74 per cent of those living here six to ten years feel they understand enough to make good decisions with their money.

In comparison, only 52 per cent of the general population feel confident about their financial knowledge.

Confusion within the financial services industry is endemic. However, newcomers actually find the banking system more accessible and understandable than everyone else. This is particularly good news as access to banking information and services is the foundation of a solid financial life.

Despite these positives, recent immigrants do not trust banks to the same degree as the general population. This finding isn’t so surprising when you consider that few countries have a banking system as stable as Canada.

The poll, conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion, has just been released to kick off Credit Education Week Canada (CEWC), an initiative of Credit Canada. Running Nov. 15-19, this year’s theme is The Language of Money.

For those who live in the Toronto area, I will be emcee of the Credit Education Week launch on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 8:30 a.m. at the YMCA in downtown Toronto. David Chilton (The Wealthy Barber) will be speaking. Come by for a free breakfast and a chat.

But those all across the country can benefit from the wealth of information on the event’s website. Go to www.crediteducationweekcanada.com and arm yourself with financial tools and tips to make your money life easier and more comprehensible. You can also call in for information and counseling at 1-800-267-2722.

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