A group of students are looking for respondents to a survey on issues and problems concerning the financial literacy skills of youth in Singapore. This is for their GCE A Level project work.
I have attached the questions as well as my replies below.
If you don’t mind giving a helping hand to the students, please feel free to post your ideas or comments on any of the questions below.
1. Was the 2008 financial crisis avoidable? What was the impact on young people?
In hindsight, everyone suddenly becomes an expert and is able to explain why it happened. There are certainly warning signs but nobody wanted to change the status quo.
You can refer to this other post I made which a link to a well organised summary and documentary of the crisis done by CNBC.
While the crisis certainly would have impacted everyone, I think the youths who would feel it the most would be those who have just started work or have close family members who were financially affected by the crisis.
2. How can we be prepared for future crises like this and how can we minimize its impact?
One thing we can be sure of is that crisis similar to this will happen again. Throughout history, we have seen many bubbles and their eventual collapse. Just to name a few, we have the tulipmania in 1800+, South Sea bubble in 1700+ and dotcom bubble in 2000.
The bubbles might take a different form but as long as human psychology doesn’t change and there is greed and herd instincts, we will continue to have bubbles in the future.
Those who are able to spot bubbles when they come will be able to profit massively from them.
3. What kinds of programmes can youth participate in to be financially literate?
The government has a program called Moneysense which aims to enhance the financial literacy of consumers in Singapore. So that is a good place to start. Another one is IM Savvy which might appeal more to the youths of today. They also run talks from time to time which you can attend.
There are also plenty of books you can read on this topic. One book I recommend is The Millionaire Next Door
4. How do those programmes benefit youth?
They provide a platform where important basic concepts of financial planning can be easily found.
5. What financial knowledge is essential for youth today?
For a start, things like budgeting and managing their own money.
More importantly, to understand the value of money and the difference between wants and needs.
6. What are schools and society’s role in educating youth in a financial crisis?
I think the question should not just restrict to a financial crisis, but to the bigger picture of financial literacy of youths. Financial literacy needs to be built from young. Given that everyone has to attend some form of compulsory basic schooling, schools would be the obvious and best way to get them started.
A structured financial literacy program could be developed by MOE and implemented nationwide.
Of course, parents play a very important role as well.
7. How do we enable youth to be more aware about the crisis? I.e. more initiatives to take action instead of regarding it as something that does not concern them?
The fact remains that youths have other more important concerns on their mind rather than financial events happening worldwide. To make them want to be aware of such things, the “how it affects them” has to be given to them first.
8. Is an online game an interesting way to help youth learn and apply useful and relevant financial knowledge?
To engage youths, you have go to where they hang out. So, online gaming would be a good way. You can also look at social networks like facebook and perhaps develop game applications within them.