SAINT JOHN (GNB) – The Financial and Consumer Services Commission encourages people to get financially fit while having fun during its 30-day financial wellness challenge, titled Sweatin’ to Financial Wellness. It is part of the commission’s activities during Financial Literacy Month, which takes place every November.

To encourage participation, the commission is circulating a promotional video that parodies the Sweatin’ to the Oldies exercise videos. The video introduces four weekly challenges: Budget Breather, Debt Detox, Spending Cleanse and Saving Steppers. Participants can register for the challenge on the commission’s website.

“Talking about money can be daunting, but it does not have to be,” said Erin King, the commission’s senior education and website officer. “Our promotional video is meant to be lighthearted and fun, and will hopefully get people talking and taking action. By participating in our challenge, New Brunswickers can learn steps to be more financially fit with the chance to win prizes.”

According to the Canadian Payroll Association, nearly half of Atlantic Canadians live paycheque to paycheque and 45 per cent feel overwhelmed by debt. Studies have linked money stress to high blood pressure, insomnia, depression and other health problems.

“These studies reveal that financial or money stress can have big, long-term impacts on people’s lifestyle, happiness and health,” said King. “Having open conversations and getting on track financially can help change these patterns.”

Financial Literacy Month is a nationwide initiative led by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. The month is dedicated to sharing resources that help Canadians take control of their finances and reduce financial stress. The commission’s challenge builds on the national theme, Invest in your financial well-being.

Each week of Financial Literacy Month will have its own theme:

•           Week 1 (Nov. 1-3): Invest in your financial well-being

•           Week 2 (Nov. 4-10): Have a plan to pay off your debt

•           Week 3 (Nov. 11-17): Make informed decisions

•           Week 4 (Nov. 18-24): Start good habits early

•           Week 5 (Nov. 25-30): Take control of your finances

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada ensures federally regulated financial entities comply with consumer protection measures, promotes financial education and raises consumers’ awareness of their rights and responsibilities.

“Each year during Financial Literacy Month, I am thrilled to see the creative ways that the Financial and Consumer Services Commission supports our shared objectives of strengthening Canadians’ financial literacy,” said Jane Rooney, the national agency’s financial literacy leader. “I know that the commission’s fun and engaging challenge will help New Brunswickers make the right moves to improve their financial fitness by investing in their financial well-being.”

The commission will also share tools and resources throughout the month to help New Brunswickers manage their finances, including a free budget template to help track expenses and prioritize spending, the Make It Count! guide for parents and teachers, blogs and two 3 Minute Money videos.

“The Financial and Consumer Services Commission has resources that can help New Brunswickers invest in their financial well-being,” said King. “Reducing financial burden and stress contributes greatly to your overall health and wellness, and we want to encourage New Brunswickers to take control of their finances.”

The commission has the mandate to protect consumers and enhance public confidence in the financial and consumer marketplace through the provision of regulatory and educational services. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of provincial legislation regulating mortgage brokers, payday lenders, real estate, securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, co-operatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. It is an independent Crown corporation funded by the regulatory fees and assessments paid by the regulated sectors. Educational tools and resources are available online.