The following blog post was written by Ruby Hamm, a faculty member at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement.
I walked into the bank because I needed to talk to a teller. Talking to a teller is not something I do very often but what caught my attention was the line in front of me. It was payday in a community where there is a large immigrant population working for a specific employer. Many of the people in the line took their cheques to the counter and then walked out with the cash. It made me wonder if this was what they did with every paycheque.
How much money do you have in your purse or pocket? I don't mean cards but real cash, either coins or paper money?
Carrying cash, keeping cash, how much? Or even should we?
Cash is something that is used by fewer and fewer people now but I wonder if this is true for our literacy learners. I think also of learners who are paid "under the table" with only cash exchanging hands. Or of the learner who was beaten and then robbed of the cash she was carrying.
All of these stories make me realize just how important it is that we talk to our students about the dangers that can come from carrying cash or keeping cash in their homes. As well, our learners need to understand how important it is that they receive a T4 slip for the work that they do so that they can file their income taxes at the end of each year.
Although cash can be used most easily for most purchasing transactions, our learners need to be given the option of using a bank to secure their money and then only withdrawing safe amounts. As well, if they are taught how to pay using cheque, debit or credit, they will have proof of payment.
Knowledge can be very empowering. Our literacy learners need that empowerment so that they can use their money and not have it used against them.