I have been asked to comment on the article Londoners grapple with new ways to solve old problems written by Glen Pearson, co-director of the London Food Bank. Hat off to Glen and the excellent work done by this organization. It is one of my personal favourites and I believe I am still recovering from the Thanksgiving Day 6 kilometre Gobbler Gallop run.
In my line of work I am exposed to the struggles of every day Londoners as they attempt to make a better life for themselves through home ownership. My view on these ‘old problems’ is that efforts are treating the symptoms of the issue rather than the issue itself. I find that many who struggle have never been educated on basic ‘financial literacy’ such as establishing credit, maintaining credit, budgeting, paying off high interest debt first, living within ones means etc. A course within our education system would solve much of this problem; it will minimize the need to treat issues, caused by a lack of education, with social resources down the road.
The first step in addressing the problem at the source is taking personal responsibility for ones actions. It should be the expectation that family members help family members who struggle financially; use of the social safety net should be viewed as an exception, a short-term solution, and not as a preferred way of way of life.
I would be happy to volunteer my time to teach others about financial literacy. An open invitation to all Londoners. We welcome your comments.