The manager of the Youth Banking Unit at JN Bank, Michael Collins, reiterates the call for financial literacy be included in the curriculum of other schools in Jamaica to give young people a head start on financial success.
“We need to introduce our young people to simple concepts such as budgeting, saving and investing, and more complex ideas such as Interest rates, compounding, inflation, diversification and bond prices,” he said.
With April being celebrated as Financial Literacy Month, Collins said it’s an opportune time to focus on educating more Jamaicans on how to improve their Financial IQ, giving them the knowledge they need to be able to make smarter financial decisions.
He noted that personal finance education should start early, both 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, and then division and multiplication. You must learn letters before you can read. Likewise, personal finance education should be a cumulative process, with age-appropriate topics taught each school year,” advocated the JN Bank executive.
He pointed out that the reality is that many people do not receive a thorough personal finance education well into adulthood. “By that point, many people would have made countless mistakes with their money, and often those mistakes take years to rectify,” Collins said.
The JN Bank executive also pointed out that research shows that people with higher financial literacy make better personal financial decisions. He said people who are financially illiterate are less likely to have a savings or checking account, an emergency fund or retirement plan, or own stocks.
“They’re also more likely to take out payday loans, only pay the minimum amount owed on their credit cards, have expensive mortgages, and have higher levels of debt and loan defaults,” he said.
“As a society, we need more educational programs that increase the number of financially literate citizens who are empowered to make better and wiser financial decisions in their own lives. Such programs are not only good for individuals, but also helpful for society.”
Collins said JN Group continues to contribute to improve financial literacy among Jamaicans through its BeWi$e Financial Empowerment program.
The initiative, launched in 2014, aims to influence adults and youth to improve their financial awareness and Give them tools to make smart financial decisions, achieve their financial goals, and become financially independent.
Thousands of people of all ages and walks of life have been trained in it over the years Areas such as budgeting, using credit effectively and controlling debt, building wealth through wealth accumulation, planning for retirement, and using insurance to manage life’s risks.
“We offer a compact, life-changing two-hour workshop in which we introduce participants to a wide range of topics aimed at improving their Financial IQ. The goal is for attendees to leave our sessions enlightened and empowered to take charge of their finances and embrace the idea of taking responsibility for improving their financial literacy,” said Collins.