Financial institutions play a pivotal role in a society as they provide a variety of information on financial topics to ensure populations are financially educated.
Therefore, as we wrap up our financial literacy series for the month of April we thought it would be important to highlight some of their efforts to maintain high levels of financially literacy for generations to come.
The City of Bridgetown Co-operative Credit Union Ltd stands out as an institution which operates on customer friendly policies with an overall goal to promote the financial well-being of their members by ensuring that they are equipped with the knowledge and skills to effectively manage their finances.
Member Services Executive, COB Credit Union, Creig Jones. (GP)
For Member Services Executive Creig Jones, being financially literate goes beyond traditional definitions: “Here at the COB Co-operative Credit Union we make sure that all of our members understand the buying power of their money and assist them on how best to utilize money to achieve their goals.”
With the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic still looming over Barbados and the world, it is critical that citizens recognise how unforeseen circumstances can result in financial turmoil. The COB Co-operative Credit Union recognises that such economic challenges coupled with a lack of financial education results in people making rash decisions, simply because they lack the power that financially literacy holds.
Therefore, based on recent economic reports from a variety of economists and organisations on the financial outlook of the world, Jones highlights that financial literacy is now more important than ever as it provides persons with the skills on how to make better decisions on personal matters and the ability to navigate and adapt to the changing financial environment to maintain a secure financial future.
Since credit unions are member based organisations, it is out of social responsibility and genuine care that the COB Co-operative Credit Union offers programmes specifically based on financial education. One such being the C.A.R.E.S programme which was designed specifically for young people, with an aim to sculpt their minds and cement the importance of savings.
These efforts are also coupled educational dialogues in a variety of schools across the island. In addition, Jones highlighted that credit unions members and the wider population have access to a variety of financial tips which are shared via their social media channels.
“With the rapid development of the digital world, we have begun to share information on saving, budgeting and investing as a way to reach out to citizens and make sure that they are equipped with the necessary information and tools to ensure a financially stable future.”
While financial institutions play a significant role in providing education on a variety of financial topics, Jones believes that it is imperative that financial education finds its way onto the syllabus in schools.
“Since children spend most of their time at school, that is an ideal way to start and ensure we have a financially literate generations. However, it is also important that this teaching of the importance of handling money begins at home and within the family.”
Therefore as we navigate in a more progressive society parents and guardians must dedicate their efforts to ensuring that their children and younger family members understand the value of money and how financial choices can affect their lives in the present and the future.
Jones emphasised another key factor in being financially literate is understanding the importance of investing.
“A person ought to set out clear plans for the future and understand that although investments come with a risk, they are extremely beneficial. However, they must also be aware that sound financial investments are not simply for quick returns but require a level of patience and financial understanding of the economic climate.”
An essential indicator of whether people are able to make sound financial decisions depends on their level of financial literacy. Therefore, it is critical that people have the knowledge and understanding of financial concepts, and the risks of financial decisions to assist in their ability to navigate life and ensure a relative measure of comfort and stability.