A Comparison of Money Management Techniques in Families

Kaitlyn Schmidek, Rebecca Nelson and Preston Pellegrini, Human Ecology 322 students, explore family money management practices.

To gather research material, six couples participated in interviews about the money management system in their home. A predetermined set of questions were used and included questions such as, the number of bank accounts the couple had and who was responsible for certain household expenditures. The interviews were recorded and the interviewees’ answers were written down on a standard document.

While the study only included one common-law partnership, we found a notable difference in this particular couple’s money management style, which may suggest that marital status is a significant determinant of the type of system the couple adopts. The results revealed that married couples were more likely to use a pooling system (incomes are combined to jointly pay for expenditures) while the common-law couple used an independent management system (incomes and expenses remain separate). This seems also to be the case in recent research: only two percent of Canadian couples have been observed to use an independent management system while 52 percent of Canadian couples use a complete or partial pooling system.1,2 No differences were revealed between the two sub-populations’ total household income. As for how the couples viewed money in respect to their relationship, five out of six couples viewed themselves as one financial entity. In general, the results were consistent with our initial expectations.

The majority of couples identified themselves as using a joint money management system and considered themselves as one financial entity. This is important in regards to family businesses, since a couple’s money management style and money values may be correlated to the management style and success of the business.

Additional research is needed in order to solidify the inferences that were drawn with the research completed in this small study. A change in project scope, from single and dual income earning families, to marital status may show more significant differences with respect to the money management system used. Also, a larger sample of couples that incorporated more income variability would allow for comparisons to be made based on the socioeconomic status of households.

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Financial Literacy: A Comparison Between Chinese Families in Canada and China


We support our students and recognize excellence in programs of study. This contribution comes from Zhaowen Mei, Msc graduate student, Human Ecology, and is an abstract titled “Financial Literacy: A Comparison Between Chinese Families in Canada and China.”

Financial literacy is important because it affects our daily financial lives as well as long run family economic well-being. Recently, Statistics Canada conducted a national study on financial knowledge of Canadians. According to its results, the average financial knowledge score of Canadians was 67%, and immigrants did even worse (Keown, 2011). The present study focuses on the financial literacy of Chinese-Canadian families and Chinese families still living in China because China represents the primary source country of immigration to Canada and their financial literacy is under-researched.

The purpose of this paper is to: 1) examine the financial literacy of Chinese-Canadian families and Chinese families; 2) explore the associations between financial literacy and personal demographic characteristics and financial behavior; 3) compare financial literacy of Chinese-Canadian and Chinese families; and 4) compare financial literacy of the two sub-groups with the national sample of Canadians examined in Keown’s study (2011).


The present study is based on the research of Keown (2011), which used a standardized financial knowledge quiz to measure the financial knowledge levels of Canadians. This study adopted the same quiz for the target groups, but adjusted a few questions and translated the quiz into Chinese for participants in China.

Key findings:

The results show that both groups did very well on the quiz. Their scores were 91.1% and 82.1% for Chinese-Canadian and Chinese respondents respectively. The factors influencing their financial literacy were education and country of residence. Gender, age and labor force status showed no obvious effect. The results of this study, when compared to those of the larger, more representative sample in Keown’s study (2011), seem to support the association between financial literacy and immigrant status and household income. Specifically for immigrant status, Statistics Canada (Keown, 2011) demonstrated that Canadian citizens by birth had an average score of 67.9% on the quiz, 4.9% higher than the long-term immigrants and 10.3% higher than the recent immigrants. In my study, all four Chinese-Canadian participants are long-term immigrants, with the length of time since they immigrated to Canada ranging from 15 to 23 years. Obtaining an average score of 91.1%, these immigrant participants not only surpassed the average of the sampled Canadians, but they also did much better than the Canadian-born group (Keown, 2011). Recent immigrants may have a lower level of financial literacy due to unique challenges, such as language and cultural gaps. Policy makers and practitioners should consider resettlement services targeted at new immigrants in order to orient them to the financial environment in Canada.


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Rural connectivity: What’s the question?

By Andy Blundell, President, C3T Action Research Corp   With Writing Contributions by Nick Conrad

Kevin Edwards of Three Hills said it best when he suggested that the broadband reality we’re seeking is “the widespread conviction by Albertans that they need to exercise the opportunities provided by technology.” Basically, information communication technology (ICT) is causing a fundamental transformation that rural communities cannot afford to ignore.

However you describe what this transformation is or looks like—globalization, increased reliance and integration with ICT and/or the Internet—it can be described as the Digital Divide. Why do rural residents and businesses use information technology less, and arguably in different ways, than their metropolitan counterparts? Looking at rural Alberta’s connectivity issues this way helps us to understand that the problem is multi-dimensional, complex and as much cultural as it is technological. Instead of an issue of access, it’s an issue of adoption.

Recently, a round table meeting on promoting rural connectivity, called Beyond Access, was held at the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus in Camrose. Thirty people from government ministries, the telecomm industry, and community and province-wide organizations were at the meeting which was financially supported by ARDN and Xplornet Communications.

Lars Hallstrom, Director of the U of A’s Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities, says promoting the use of rural connectivity is “a wicked problem.” This means that we have to think in new ways about the changing infrastructure in rural areas— but how should we approach this issue? The meeting discussion generally focused on outcomes instead of selling technology. One example was to get a clear statement from the telecom industry of its interest to help build stronger communities through education.

There were plenty of other suggestions such as the compilation and publication of success stories, a rural roadshow, identifying local champions and providing them with a support network and a workshop, conference or similar event with the Intelligent Communities Forum  (ICF) to develop a model for collaboration between communities, industry and other stakeholders.

So how do you use the Internet? Some research suggests that rural users use tools like MySpace (shows how old the research is!) How do we keep our knowledge up to date?

Some community representatives at the meeting felt the knowledge and desire for technology use was already well established while others emphasized the need for skills development, and understanding the challenges facing individual businesses and communities.

What is the link between connectivity and development?  There is consensus that unless rural businesses get connected they will be left behind. But will the Internet play a destructive role as Netflicks closes the Main Street video store? Some old-school community leaders can be resistant to change caused by new technology but without its adoption, without the opportunities to use it, rural communities will become more marginalized.

For a detailed account of the Beyond Access Round Table, click here to read a blog from Cybera, a not-for-profit that supports innovation for Alberta through IT infrastructure. You can also contact Andy Blundell atandy@c3t.ca for more information on how you can get involved.

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Business Advice From John Stanton Sr. of the Running Room (ABFI’s 2011 Signature Family)

John Stanton Jr., John Stanton Sr., Jason Stanton

As many of you know, our 2011 Signature Family is the Stanton family of the Running Room. In July of 2010 John Stanton Sr. (the founder of the Running Room) was interviewed by the Globe and Mail. During this interview John provided the following advice on building a national business one community at a time. One of the reasons we are so proud to celebrate the Stanton family’s success is because of their incredible commitment to their community and their deep connections with their customers.

John Stanton’s three-step approach to building a national business:
(See original Globe and Mail story here)

  1. Earn customer loyalty and respect
  2. Become a part of customers’ lives
  3. Support the community

1. Earn customer loyalty, and respect. Running Room becomes part of people’s everyday lives by helping them achieve their fitness goals, from setting them up with the optimal gear selection to advising them on technique. We hold weekly training clinics, led by committed and motivated local store staff. The decision to start a running or walking regime often marks a new chapter in people’s lives. Ensuring they succeed has driven our 30 years of steady growth.

2. Become a part of customers’ lives. Our 100-plus Running Room locations act as community centres. Every Wednesday evening and Sunday morning we organize free group runs and walks where like-minded people come together to exercise and socialize. The end result is both physical and mental fitness. In several cases we’ve even brought future husbands and wives together.

3. Support the community. We sponsor 600-plus running and walking events a year. Yes, this raises the profile of the Running Room but it also generates millions of dollars for worthy causes. Our staff and volunteers champion these grassroots events. I take part in many of them and I see first-hand the strong connection people feel toward Running Room and our staff. If you sincerely put the best interests of communities first, everyone wins.

2011 Signature Event honouring the Stanton Family of the Running Room
October 3, 2011 – Calgary   
October 25, 2011 – Edmonton    

For more information go to www.abfi.ca or email abfi@ualberta.ca

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2011 Signature Family: The Stantons of The Running Room

John Stanton, John Stanton JR, and Jason Stanton

Since 2003, ABFI has honoured Canadian business families of distinction by hosting an intimate evening known as “Signature Event.” Past Signature families have included:

This year ABFI is pleased to announce the Stanton family of The Running Room as their 2011 Signature Family.

Together the Stantons have created an incredible Alberta based business that doesn’t just sell shoes and equipment; they have created a culture that is committed to improving quality of life through active living. This entertaining evening will provide you with the unique opportunity to hear how John Stanton built a legacy by opening just a small one room store in the renovated living room of an old Edmonton house and called it the, “Running Room”. Today he is proud to be working with his sons John Jr. and Jason, who are both actively involved in the family business which has expanded to over 111 locations across Canada and the United States.

October 3, 2011 – Calgary, Hyatt Regency Hotel

October 25, 2011 – Edmonton, Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

5:00PM: Registration & Reception
6:00PM: Dinner
7:45PM: Presentation & Q/A

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Guest Blogger Megan Oleksyn, Winner of The Perfect Pitch Competition

It’s not all about the giant plastic novelty cheque…
After the Perfect Pitch competition

Perfect Pitch Winner Megan Oleksyn (center) with ABFI Executive Director Shauna Feth (right) and ABFI Academic Director Lloyd Steier (second from left)

Megan Oleksyn
southpaw communications

Now, maybe I have seen too many episodes of Dragon’s Den but when I first heard about the Perfect Pitch competition, I was already devising bald-joke-comebacks for when some Kevin-type judge turned me down. But in fact, the competition had many facets to it, and the pitch itself was only one of the components we, as competitors, had to prepare for.  Although you cannot tell from the previous run-on sentences, the business I pitched was my communications consulting company, southpaw communications. After the initial pitch in Bashaw, the finalists began the journey to the finals. This journey was paved with business training, mentorship and resources provided by the many partners of the project. Besides the pitch itself, the most significant component to the competition was the business plan we had to develop to be judged in tandem with our final pitch. It was this business plan development coupled with the mentorship that gave me the confidence to take my business to the next level.

After going through the competition and coming out as the winner during the pilot year of the Perfect Pitch, I hauled home my giant plastic novelty cheque ( yes, you actually get one of those and no, it does not fit in the drive-thru ATM slot…) and put that money to work right away.  I immediately contracted a web designer to build me a website (www.southpawcommunications.ca) to promote my business and display my portfolio. I also paid a retainer to a writer so I knew I had enough help in the future to go after the bigger clients that I wanted to focus on.  That was the fun part. It turns out lawyers, accountants and all of the other people involved in making southpaw “official” wanted to be paid for their services, so the money from the Perfect Pitch soon dwindled, but my part-time passion was now ready to become my full-time career.

The greatest success the Perfect Pitch has given me? Well, when I entered the competition I had (and needed…) a day job. Not anymore! After the competition, I incorporated the business I had previously been running as a sole proprietor and just recently, quit my day job. That’s right – no more paycheque, no more company truck, no more expense account but more importantly, no more boss, meetings or schedule! After the competition, I was offered some significant contracts that made me realize this could be more than a part-time job.  I could always work from home? Make my own schedule? Go to the lake when it’s nice and work when it rains? Pick my own clients? Hire employees instead of being the employee? I decided those all sounded dandy and went for it!

But besides the start-up funding and the ability to now work from home, the Perfect Pitch has also provided me with additional benefits. For instance, one of the significant contracts (a post-secondary education institution) I landed after the competition approached me because they heard of my business through a newspaper article highlighting rural entrepreneurship and the Perfect Pitch. Additionally, I recently received a loan from the Community Futures partner to secure a company vehicle so I can tour the country meeting clients and helping people to deliver their messages to their audiences. So, it’s not all about the big plastic novelty cheque. The recognition, promotion, and exposure to partners and networking that the Perfect Pitch provides will do just as much for you as the money itself.

Today, I write from my sunny office at our home at the lake. I am working on two of those big aforementioned contracts and have another writer in Saskatoon working on a third contract for me. With work lined up for the next 6 months, I will soon begin to work on finding more contracts, but until then I will continue doing what Alan Jackson told me to do – doing what I love and loving what I do.

Creating Pathways for Entrepreneurial Families (the rural division of ABFI) is a proud  sponsor of “The Perfect Pitch” competition for rural Alberta youth. For more information on the second edition starting August 10, 2011 contact Sarah Wray at 403.741.2630 or theperfectpitch@farmon.com

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Behind the Scenes – Succession Planning in Fort McMurray

ABFI -Succession Planning – Video Blog 1 from ABFI on Vimeo.

Paul pinch hit for the ABFI team and accompanied Gary Coskey to Fort McMurray where Gary presented the 12 Steps of Succession Planning to family businesses and professional advisors. He also got a tour of the city from Ross Mayer Senior Economic Development Officer for the region

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