Developing Financial Literacy in Jamaica

More than the past eight many years, I have been actively concerned in writing, teaching and coaching on subjects relating to financial training. Via interaction with thousands of Jamaicans from all walks of life, I have realised that the amount one particular issue that prevents most individuals from achieving their financial objectives is their lack of understanding of basic cash principles.

Economic literacy is defined as the capability of folks to make suitable income decisions by finding out the principles that relate to the management, development and preservation of their money. When folks are educated about the suitable actions to take with their money, then they are more probably to save towards their goals, manage their debt, obtain assets such as a home, and make constructive contributions to the financial advancement of the country.

Anecdotal proof points to an overwhelming demand from Jamaicans for practical information on or about fundamental fiscal methods this kind of as budgeting, debt manage, investing options and retirement and estate arranging. Though some economic institutions have been providing public seminars to address some of these issues, their initiatives have been insufficient to meet the country’s needs.

There is now an urgent need to supply a coordinated national monetary literacy programme to adequately disseminate critical details throughout all sectors of the Jamaican society. I usually wonder why I learnt so a lot of subjects in school that later proved irrelevant to my existence, yet a vital subject such as cash management was by no means addressed in my primary to tertiary schooling.

About the globe, fiscal literacy education is an essential concentrate of governmental agencies involved in finance. Let’s search at some of the programmes that have been created in some other nations:

FDIC Money Wise Programme

The Federal Deposit Insurance coverage Corporation (FDIC) was established In the United States to preserve and advertise public self-confidence in the fiscal program by insuring deposits in banks and thrift institutions. In 2001, this independent agency of the US federal government developed a national financial education campaign referred to as Cash Intelligent, to “help folks outdoors the monetary mainstream develop fiscal skills and constructive banking relationships.”

The FDIC collaborates with economic institutions, non-profit organisations, and neighborhood- and consumer-primarily based groups to disseminate financial schooling employing its Funds Intelligent educational materials which covers topics such as saving, borrowing, credit card management and property ownership. To date, the agency reports that it has distributed over 750,000 items of Money Wise curricula and has reached above 2.4 million consumers across the world.

NFLP in Trinidad &amp Tobago

The National Fiscal Literacy Programme (NFLP), launched in January 2007, is spearheaded by the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. According to the NFLP’s site, the objective of the programme is to produce “a nation of citizens who are conscious about and capable of managing their finances.” The NFLP’s aim is to change people’s beliefs, attitudes and behaviours all around funds problems, and give them the capabilities to function in a sophisticated monetary setting.

The NFLP carries out main college interventions and is at present functioning with their Ministry of Training to incorporate monetary literacy in the secondary school curriculum. They have already educated over 200 teachers to impart the economic material in colleges. Other initiatives include addressing the requirements of individuals with disabilities, with documents converted to Braille and sign language in their television advertisements. The NFLP has also created fiscal literacy training materials pertinent to small and micro entrepreneurs.

ECCB’s Economic Literacy Programme

The Eastern Caribbean Central Financial institution (ECCB) has been playing the lead function in promoting financial education in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). This union comprises seven countries including Antigua &amp Barbuda, St Lucia, Montserrat and Dominica. According to the ECCB, “educating the public about fiscal and economic matters is key to supporting the bank’s stability, development and improvement objectives.”

The ECCB training initiative includes providing 10-week cost savings and investment courses teaching subjects this kind of as budgeting, understanding loan documents, avoiding monetary scams and understanding wills soon after-work seminars, a month-to-month economic newsletter schools programmes with presentations, competitions and mentorship components radio programmes and monetary month actions held every single year in October.

CARTAC Financially Fit Campaign

The Caribbean Regional Technical Help Centre (CARTAC), a regional resource which supplies coaching and assistance in financial management for member countries, is funded by international companies such as the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Inter-American Advancement Financial institution (IDB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

CARTAC not too long ago launched its financial literacy website www.financialliteracycaribbean.com, which is designed to educate readers on economic terms and pertinent details to help them to boost wealth and prepare for unforeseen situations. The website gives practical guidance on topics such as budgeting, saving, risks and returns of investments, and estate planning and also offers resources to assist Central Banks and other regional economic supervisory agencies.

Given their present emphasis on achieving good financial adjustments, it is now the excellent time for our local fiscal authorities to join with the above 60 nations close to the planet which have developed structured programmes to educate their citizens about simple economic principles.

Copyright © 2010 Cherryl Hanson Simpson

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