Why financial literacy needs to start at the local level

49% of South Africans are deemed financially illiterate and only about 5% of South Africans will be able to retire comfortably. These facts are beyond frightening considering the impact that personal finance plays on the future of an individual and a country.

“I think financial literacy needs to be introduced into the high school curriculum urgently,” says PocketFin founder and entrepreneur Pierre Van der Merwe.

In a rapidly changing world currently fueled by dramatic developments in technology and access to information, it has now become easier than ever to self-educate in a range of important subjects and skills. Unfortunately, many don’t begin to understand personal finance and topics such as debt management and investing until their late 20s or 30s, often after many financial mistakes have already been made. which could determine how good or bad a person’s financial health is. retired.

“I met with and proposed to the Ministry of Education to urgently roll out a financial literacy program both digital and printed for learners aged 16-18, as I believe the impact this could have on our young people can be monumental as they enter adulthood, it will ripple through to future generations,” says Van der Merwe.

South Africa has about 26,000 schools, including 6,000 high schools which train about 13 million learners. The Department of Basic Education has been allocated a budget of R29.6 billion for 2022.

At a difficult social, financial and economic time around the world following the Covid 19 pandemic, emerging countries like South Africa in particular are facing rising inflation and interest rates, staggering unemployment, especially among young people, and high debt levels. This further impacts the number of entrepreneurs and small businesses in South Africa and proves that steps need to be taken to improve opportunities and education which can ultimately lead to increased GDP among others important figures for South Africa.

“Until something can be done to improve the skills of our young people and educate high school students about personal finance, I strongly encourage South Africans to spend only five minutes a day to learn more about financial literacy,” says Van der Merwe, who is on a personal mission to teach young people even the simplest topics such as opening and managing a bank account, understanding debt and loans. students, savings and investment.

Sarah J. Greer