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Survey on Financial Literacy Skills

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.

Leave a Comment:

tired says 14 years ago

1. No. It is a snowball effect and people tend to get complacent and only feel the full effect when it hits. Those youths who felt it the most are prob the ones who just graduated and are finding jobs. Although it couldn’t be avoided, the effects wouldn’t be so huge if more regulations and guidelines were in place and followed.

2. As people are learning from the current crisis with investors being more wary and central banks placing more strict regulations for financial institutions to follow, future crises would show many early warning signs.

3. MAS has a program called MoneySense that holds roadshows, talks and commercials as well as ads aimed to improve the financial literacy of the public. There are actually many games online that require buying/selling techniques which in turn is in some way related to trading and youths can learn from here as well.

4. These programmes benefit youth by giving them insight on how to be financially savvy as well as to plan for finances.

5. Budgeting, financial planning for the future and value of money.

6. From young, we have been inculcated to believe that we should all spend within our means. Even for parents, by giving youths a fixed amount of pocket money each week/month, in a way this is educating their child to budget within their limits (i.e. allowance) so that they have sufficient to eat and also save for the new toy or upcoming gadget that they wish to purchase.

7. There can be debates held related to financial issues or discuss them in schools.

8. Yes it is. A very huge population of youths nowadays play games and they tend to be more interactive as well.

James Tan says 14 years ago

1. The 2008 financail crisis caused a severe credit crunch & shrinkage of money supply.. Yes, it could have been avoided, if not for the pure greed & blatant carelessness of the players ( bank lenders ), who allowed property loans to be given to every Tom, Dick & Harry, without solid collectoral and without checking whether the borrowers can service the said loans. The sales commissions simply blinded the perpetrators.

The consequence of their actions affect devastatingly the world integrated economy , so that everyone is badly affected especially the investors, the employers ( genuine borrowers ) and in turn the current & future employees (young people graduating currently ).

2. All governments and players must go back to basic economy & common sense in handling money prudently. There is no need to minimize any negative impact, if it is nicked in the bud early, by having early warning signs.

3. All schools should teach basic course in money matters, so as to be financial savvy.

4. To be finacail savvy, one has to start from very young.

5. Value of money & budgeting.

6. Reasons & causes of a financial crisis and lessons to prevent similiar future ones.

7. Newspapers reports of such crisis should be discussed immediately in the classes, so that students are aware of what’s going on in the world outside their respective class.

8. Of course. Young people learn better/faster with games, props , plays , etc, and form of illustrations that touch their various senses.

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