Director of JN Bank’s Youth Banking Unit Michael Collins reiterates call for financial literacy to be added to the curriculum of more schools in Jamaica to give young people a head start on financial success.
“We need to expose our young people to simple concepts, such as budgeting, saving and investing, and to more complex ideas such as interest, compounding, inflation, diversification and bond prices,” he said.
With April being observed as Financial Literacy Month, Collins said now is the right time to focus on educating more Jamaicans about ways to improve their financial IQ and, that doing so, to provide them with the knowledge to make smarter financial decisions.
He noted that personal finance education should start early, at home and at school.
“Ideally, personal finance concepts should be taught in elementary and high school and continued in college or university. In math, you start with counting, move on to addition and subtraction, then move on to division and multiplication. You have to learn the letters before you can read. Similarly, personal finance education should be a cumulative process, with age-appropriate topics taught each school year,” the JN Bank director advocated.
He pointed out that the reality is that many people don’t receive any substantial personal finance education until they reach adulthood. “By then a lot of people would have already made countless mistakes with their money and often those mistakes take years to fix,” Collins said.
The director of JN Bank further pointed out that research shows that people with high levels of financial literacy make better personal financial decisions. He said financially illiterate people are less likely to have a savings or checking account, an emergency fund or a retirement plan or to own stocks.
“They’re also more likely to use payday loans, only pay the minimum amount owing on their credit cards, have high-cost mortgages, and have high levels of debt and bad credit. higher,” he said.
“As a society, we need more education programs that increase the number of financially literate citizens who can make better and wiser financial decisions in their own lives. Such programs are not only good for the individual, but also useful for society.
Collins said the JN Group continues to do its part to increase the financial literacy of Jamaicans through its BeWi$e Financial Empowerment program.
The initiative, which began in 2014, aims to influence adults and young people to improve their financial awareness, and provide them with tools to make wise money decisions, achieve their financial goals, and become financially independent.
Over the years, thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds have been trained in areas such as budgeting, effective use of credit and debt control, wealth creation through asset building, retirement planning, as well as the use of insurance to manage life risks.
“We offer a compact, life-changing two-hour workshop where we expose participants to a wide range of topics aimed at improving their financial IQ. The goal is for people to leave our sessions feeling enlightened and empowered to take take charge of their finances and embrace the idea of taking responsibility for improving their financial education,” Collins said.