Friday, 10 May 2013

Financial Literacy, Our Government Can Do Better?

Financial literacy, a term many are unfamiliar with as it was never part of the Malaysian education system. Realizing far before hand the importance of imparting financial education at an early age drove the ministry of education in Singapore to start implementing financial education into relevant subjects such as Social Studies, Civics and Moral Education. This started way back in 2005!

Looking back into the education system in Malaysia, we were taught many different subjects, some necessary some not really. However the basic concepts of financial awareness were never imparted as far as I am concerned. With no prior knowledge of financial planning, many young adults are left to learn about financial planning on their own. Some pick up that knowledge by their own initiative while the rest never did and probably never will.

Could basic financial awareness prevent issues such as:

1) Living with a credit card debt? 

2) Reaching retirement age but still servicing loans?

3) Insufficient retirement funds?

4) Dubious investment schemes that we kept falling into?

The blame obviously fall upon the individual who is ignorant about personal spending, greed and failing to plan ahead. But then again could this problems be eliminated, if not reduced by giving basic financial education at a young age? The answer might not be a direct yes, but it is still an initiative worth trying. 

"The number one problem in today's generation and economy is the lack of financial literacy." ~ Alan Greenspan, an American Economist:

This brings us to the question on why our Education Ministry has done nothing about this while our Singapore counterpart has already started the initiative some 8 years ago? Instead the rakyat has to resort to informal financial education through various information source especially through social media!

The recently concluded General Election, political "ceramahs" are peppered with topics revolving around economy, spendings, inflation as well as how badly in debt our country is. Seriously, would you have heard about GDP some 10 years ago? Would you have known if promises of lower fuel cost or free education are feasible to be implemented or not? Then why does the 51% of the rakyat support the calls for free education and lower fuel cost if not for the understanding of basic financials that help them decided that these proposals are implementable?

The downside of this so called "informal financial education" is the validity of contents being shared. Information from social media such as Facebook are not verified and at times misleading. It's easy for us to be influenced into believing information that are being shared without questioning the credibility of it. Hence, we have to rely on our very own digression in order to determine which information should we accept and which one should be discarded.  

As a result of informal exposure of financial literacy through social media, many (not all) of us are able to differentiate between wrong and right, between feasible or just plain bullshit. Our concerns are changing from who can make more money to how we can ensure the country is able to sustain growth and progress. Our perceptions have reached out further then ever before through informal financial education.

I truly believe that more can be done by the relevant ministry to implement financial education at an early age instead of leaving many Malaysians to suffer and eventually learn their lessons the hard way later on. Be it plain ignorance or there is a hidden agenda to prevent the establishment of a financially savvy nation, I leave that answer for you to decide.

Cheers and Happy Learning!

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1 comment:

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