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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Financial literacy should be added to school syllabuses -- S post

The need to accelerate financial literacy, as expounded and championed in South Africa by (perhaps most appropriately) an online loan vender, who have published their "Do you understand debt" initiative on their website, is rapidly gaining support all over the world. Even places like the United States, which are often seen as already being financially literate, are grasping the nettle too.

Alabama, USA pushing for financial literacy to benefit future generations

The based in Florence, Alabama, has recently published an article entitled “The push for financial literacy can benefit future generations;” an article which centres on the failure in the US to educate citizens and children about handling money. The article opens up by saying that only a paltry 4.2% of the population have any savings.

The article, published in the newspaper, refers to how uncomfortable many people are when it comes down to talking about their financial situations. The same is true even of family members all living in the same household and this reluctance to talk freely about money has created something of a stumbling block, meaning that many children grow up knowing little or nothing about managing their money, their debt, and spending within their budgets. The article refers to the fact that as a result, many do not know how to balance their cheque books or even reconcile their monthly bank statements.

This is a situation that is reflected around the world, and in many countries (like Saudi Arabia for example), many young adults having had little or no exposure to official institutions like banks and finance companies. Instead, they turn to friends and family for advice;but given the low levels of financial literacy, they often do not get appropriate help.

Sweet Home state of Alabama adds personal financial instruction to school syllabus

In Alabama, also known in the US as the “Sweet Home” state, they had the foresight to launch a financial awareness initiative back in 2003, when the state made it a legal requirement that personal finance instruction should become a mandatory part of the 9th grade prospectus; an initiative that should soon start to reap benefits as school leavers go out into the world with a little more financial savvy than some of their predecessors had.

Adding personal financial awareness and instruction to school syllabuses is perhaps something that should be adopted more widely. Having good numeracy skills is one thing, but knowing what you need to know in order to compare the terms of the various offers that the various lending establishments make, is something else.

Wonga helps potential lenders to work out if they can afford a loan or not

That why the guide to debt seems like such a good idea. Putting it on the website means that it is available to those people who may benefit from it most – those actively seeking a loan product. The same basic knowledge principles apply, whether it’s a long term loan that is being considered or a short term loan like a payday loan.

The informative article that Wonga SA has compiled tells readers what the difference is between good debt and bad debt, and together with illustrations, helps readers to work out for themselves whether they can afford the debt they are considering. It’s an important tool that potential lenders could and should use to their best advantage.


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