Learning to be financially literate begins in childhood


  • Letters
  • Wednesday, 31 Jul 2019

“PENNY wise pound foolish” and “Save for rainy days” are two phrases I remember learning during English lessons in my school days. Teachers rewarded students with higher marks when they incorporated such phrases in their essays.

In retrospect, I realise that these phrases are lessons on financial literacy and emphasise the importance of budgeting and spending within one’s means. Being illiterate on these matters could lead to situations where one would, as Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said, face difficulty in repaying their loans, “PM: Some living beyond their means” (The Star, July 24).

Though the household debt in Malaysia is under control, it is

still at a higher rate compared to other countries. As such, initiatives like the “Malaysia National Strategy for Financial Literacy 2019-2023” reflect the efforts undertaken by the government to alleviate the financial suffering of the people.

The National Strategy for Financial Literacy 2019-2023 is a five-year plan with five strategic priorities aimed at elevating financial literacy and promoting responsible behaviour and rational attitudes among Malaysians.

The first priority is aimed at young people. Being the generation of the future, it is important that they be accorded priority. However, the task of educating them is not solely the responsibility of teachers.

In my view, parents are the best teachers in transmitting financial literacy to their children. Since seeing is believing, the parents’ way of handling money would set an example for their children to follow.

Parents should start to instil money management skills in their school-going child.

At the beginning of the week, they could sit down with the children and draw up a list of things they would need to spend on, including food they would like to eat during recess.

Doing this would nurture the children’s ability to anticipate their future needs. Hence, when they become adults, they would be able to anticipate their current and future financial obligations.

DR RAMESH RAO

Kuala Lumpur

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