Financial literacy education could help steer Bermudians to good careers – The Royal Gazette
Key knowledge: A little advice on financial life planning at a young age could be very beneficial for our society
In the latest of our Focus on Financial Literacy for Life Success 2022, a regular monthly column, we examine feedback from a recent column in The Royal Gazette.
One of the final comments in the article, written by Christopher Famous, was: “Flower words won’t change the fact that we have fewer and fewer Bermudians able to work as skilled workers.
“The harsh reality is that whatever training opportunities are available in our high schools and at Bermuda College, unless our young people are constantly encouraged to take these courses and supported along the way, we will have nearly empty classrooms. . ”
These two sentences highlight the author’s deep concern and frustration.
There are also anecdotal innuendo that some of the best, most determined, forward-looking, brightest are leaving, are gone, or will not return to bolster Bermuda’s workforce.
First of all, we must certainly recognize and applaud the huge positive support efforts that are already in place from many local and international organizations to help, upgrade, inspire young people and adults to improve their hand skills to achieve career growth and financial security.
The list below is just a few of the many organizations and people who offer help, tutoring, courses, internships, scholarships, support and other learning incentives –
• Bermuda Insurance Institute, now with contemplated absorption into Bermuda College course offerings
• Bermuda CPA Association
• Accounting and audit firms
• Local and international law firms
• Banks and financial services companies
• The international business community and their associations, notably Abir, Biltir and Abic
• Society of Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) of Bermuda.
• The Bermuda Reading Clinic
• The Bermuda Sloop Foundation
• Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, led by Erica Smith, Executive Director, promoting, assisting and developing local entrepreneurs and start-ups
• Minister Jason Hayward’s Bermuda Government Workforce Development Department – Career Readiness Program and others.
All of these efforts are so well-intentioned, moreover, evidence of many fantastic results is regularly heralded in numerous local media articles about successful candidates in various career fields.
So why aren’t we reaching more young people? What groups are not hearing, not seeing, not realizing the life-changing potential of these enhanced job skills support programs?
I suggest that the positive message of developing financial literacy – i.e. financial life planning – the exposure and acquired ability to use financial knowledge must begin at a very young age – and with the correlation of adult support.
Bermuda is not alone in these concerns; financial literacy for success in life is a recognized global issue.
Let’s review the research data verifying the global message in the latest OECD-PISA global results of 2018 (tests are only done every three years – 2021 delayed due to Covid), the United States, the UK and Canada, which we most resemble, are included!
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is an intergovernmental economic organization, which today has 38 member countries, and was founded in 1961 (replacing the Marshall Plan) to stimulate economic progress and world trade.
Their mantra “better policies for better lives”, endorses the founding principle of the previous organization which stated that “their economic systems are interdependent and that the prosperity of each depends on the prosperity of all”.
How’s life? their Better Life Index lets you compare well-being across countries, based on 11 topics that the OECD has identified as key, in the areas of material living conditions and quality of life. https://tinyurl.com/4yatp9r7
The Program for International Student Assessment PISA is an international study launched by the OECD in 1997 and which now covers more than 80 countries. Every three years, the PISA survey provides comparative data on how well 15-year-olds perform in reading, math and science and what they can do with what they know.
It provides the most comprehensive and rigorous international assessment of student learning outcomes to date, where the results indicate the quality and equity of learning outcomes achieved around the world, and enable educators and decision-makers to learn from policies and practices applied in other countries.
Performance test results point to startling evidence. The countries most advanced in the 15-year scores in the Western world were not at the top of the list, but various countries in the Far East, such as Singapore, consistently are. Singapore has had a government mandate for free-for-all higher education programs since the 1960s.
Financial literacy test scores are even more important.
For the third time, PISA has assessed the ability of 15-year-old students to deal with real-life situations involving financial issues and decisions with results indicating that many struggle with financial literacy. https://tinyurl.com/2p8aap4r
Some 117,000 15-year-olds took part in the test, which assessed teenagers’ money and personal finance knowledge and skills, such as managing bank accounts and debit cards, understanding interest on a loan, choosing between a variety of mobile phone plans, and more financial problem solving, not just taking quizzes.
PISA also examines various aspects of students’ lives related to money, describing their attitudes and behaviors related to money and their digital financial activities.
Only one in ten students achieves the highest level of financial literacy, on average across OECD countries and economies; this 10% group of students are able to make financial decisions in contexts that will only become relevant to them later in life.
The message is clear and it is heard.
We all need to do more.
In the United States, the state of Ohio, which has over 600 school districts, is now the tenth US state to require mandatory financial literacy classes. https://tinyurl.com/5bwdhuvc
The UK FT survey recognized the dramatic problem of lack of financial literacy. In September 2021, the Financial Times Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign (FT FLIC) unveiled its strategic plan to strengthen the financial literacy of young people, women and disadvantaged communities. https://ftflic.com/
Readers, many more to come! Bermuda needs a national mandate for financial literacy.
That’s my mantra this year, next year and beyond. Financial literacy (life planning) for all. Webinars, podcasts, digital and print books, interviews, success stories and more.
• Anyone wishing to help me with this FINLIT-BERMUDA™ project, please contact me at email@example.com