Rose Miller, grants manager at the JN Foundation

JN Foundation to Host Online Financial Webinars April 27-29

The JN Foundation, through its BeWi$e Financial Empowerment Programme, will host a series of webinars on financial literacy on April 27- 29.

Rose Miller, grants manager and team lead for the BeWi$e Financial Empowerment Programme, said the webinars will target students at the high and tertiary levels, who are JN scholarship recipients; as well as the parents and guardians of these scholars. Another is also being hosted for members/customers of the JN Group but is also opened to members of the public.

“These sessions have become even more relevant now as we go through the pandemic, now in its second year.  COVD-19 has impacted the lives of everyone socially and emotionally, but by far its greatest impact has arguably been financially. Those who are going to survive are those who are mentally prepared and truly understand money and how money works,” she informed

 Mrs. Miller said the focus of the sessions is to increase awareness about financial matters; assist persons in improving their money management skills; and to discuss how they can navigate financial transactions using technology, during this challenging period where working from home, curfews, occasional lock-downs, social distancing and the reduction of large gatherings are implemented as part of the solution to help in the fight against the Pandemic .

“We have been encouraging persons to use the available technology, such as the use of an app to monitor their finances as well as budgeting; pointing persons to sign up for online banking  to carry out activities such as bill payment,” which she said is convenient, efficient and safer.

Mrs Miller said while some Jamaicans have expressed concerns about using technology, it is time that they embrace the technology as the pandemic has forced many to adapt.

Turning to the webinar scheduled for JN members and the general public, on April 29 at 7:00 p.m., Mrs. Miller encouraged everyone to log on and join the conversation.  “We must be continually working to improve the level of financial literacy of our citizens so that our families and country can be more financially stable.”

The session entitled ‘Ask Me Anything About Money’, will be facilitated by experts from across the JN Group along with special guest, Michelle Toylor-Carter, Chief Executive Officer, of Credit Information Services.

“Persons attending may register on the JN Foundation website and JN Group social media platforms for an informative discussion on charting a path to financial security,” said the JN Foundation grants manager.

The JN BeWi$e Financial Literacy Project was launched by the JN Foundation, in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank, in June 2013.

Initially targeting remittance customers, many of whom were unbanked, the programme has been expanded to include other groups, including children.  Utilizing a toolkit designed to debunk the myth that financial independence is a dream attainable by only a few, the programme promotes the idea that with knowledge, discipline and commitment, this desirable status can be achieved by many.

Revamped in 2015, the initiative has become one of the most sought after programmes at the JN Foundation, as individuals become more aware that proper money management is necessary in their quest to achieve their financial goals

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JN Foundation Donates Water Conservation Devices to the Wortley Home for Girls

JN Foundation Donates Rainwater Harvesting System and Water Efficiency Kits to the Wortley Home for Girls

Parris Lyew-Ayee (right), chairman of the JN Foundation presents water efficiency kits to Tanya Wildish (second left), director, Wortley Home for Girls. Sharing in the moment are Mary Allen-Smith (left), director of the JN Foundation and Delores Bailey, manager, Wortley Home for Girls. The home also received a rain water system at a handing over ceremony on World Water Day, March 22, at the home. The donation is in an effort to implement water adaptation measures and curb water usage within the home.

The JN Foundation, through its initiative, the Water Project Jamaica, has donated a rainwater harvesting system and 12 water-efficiency kits to the Wortley Home for Girls at a handing over ceremony on World Water Day, March 22, 2021, at the Home. This is in an effort to implement water adaptation measures and curb water usage within the Home.

Grappling with high water bills, the Wortley Home was established by the Anglican Diocese in 1918 to provide a home and a safe space for girls ages seven to eighteen. The institution was recently rebuilt following a fire in 2015, and now provides a loving environment and Christian upbringing for 14 girls, from a variety of backgrounds.

“In observance of this year’s World Water Day, we want to emphasize the value of water, whether in homes, schools or communities. And, we want to spread the message of water conservation and efficient water use as a part of valuing water. Our donation to the Home will increase its efficient use of water, and decrease the burden of high bills,” expressed Mr. Parris A. Lyew-Ayee, Chairman of the JN Foundation, who made the presentation of the items to the Home this week.

“Each water-efficiency kit includes a showerhead, aerators for the kitchen and bathroom sinks and a toilet leak detector. In addition, we handed over a rainwater harvesting system which will be installed by Instant-Save Conservation Solutions Jamaica Limited,” Mrs. Cornelia Walters-Jones, Project Manager, added.

Rainwater-harvesting systems capture rainwater by directing it from large surfaces, for example, roofs, to an underground or over-ground holding tank. The harvested rainwater is filtered and then pumped directly to the appliances or to a header tank. Domestic or commercial applications include flushing toilets. The Home will use its system to reduce water consumption primarily in the laundry area.

“Water means different things to different people, and we, at the Foundation, have started the conversation surrounding water conservation and what it means to adapt to water saving measures,” stated Mr. Lyew-Ayee. “Adapting means adjusting, and our aim is to influence the narrative that water is important to your home and family life, your livelihood, your cultural practices, your wellbeing, and your local environment, so it is up to you to value and preserve it the best way you can.”

The water project, which was started in 2017, is a joint collaboration with the JN Bank, the JN Foundation, the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and IDB Lab.

“The funding from our partners has allowed us to take on impactful and meaningful projects, such as this at the Wortley Home for Girls, as we aim to make a difference. We have also produced useful resources such as a water savings calculator; water adaptation guidelines for homeowners; offered training in water harvesting and carried out a 12 month-long household pilot study,” pointed out Mrs. Walters-Jones.

“A major shock to us at the Home came when the monthly water bill cost us over one hundred thousand dollars,” noted Mrs. Tanya Wildish, Director of the Home. “Most of that money we would have hoped to put into purchasing personal and educational items for the girls and fixing up the home.”

“With the installation of the devices, we are excited to see how much money we are able to save by cutting down our water usage,” added Mr. Keith Sangster, who is also a Director of the Wortley Home for Girls.

In addition to the installation of the devices, the visit to the Home featured a socially distant but interactive session with JN Ambassador, Agent Sasco and the girls, as well as a tour of the facility grounds.

To learn more about the Water Project Jamaica and its corporate philanthropy initiatives, please visit

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Saving and Investing: A Path to Financial Security

Chavelle Campbell, Youth Empowerment Officer, with Ministry of Education, Youth and Information

Chavelle Campbell knows too well the importance of saving and investing and how these financial tools have assisted her in achieving her financial goals.

The 30 year-old, Youth Empowerment Officer, with Ministry of Education, Youth and Information learned from an early age that preparing for her retirement should commence as soon as she lands her first job – a knowledge which was imparted to her through the BeWi$e Financial Empowerment Programme, an initiative of the JN Foundation.

“Coming out of university, I did my internship at the JN Foundation with the Resolution Project and that is when I was introduced to the BeWi$e Financial Empowerment Programme. Through the programme, I learned about saving to invest, and since then, I have implemented many of those lessons in my life,” she said.

“I learned then that your first pay cheque, is when you [should] start saving for your pension,” she added.

Campbell said through discipline, she was able to purchase her home by the time she was 30 and most of her financial goals are on point.

“One of the things I have learned from the BeWi$e programme is that each ‘one, teach one’. So since then I have been extending my knowledge to everyone,” she said.

Aneika Vassell, a student nurse
Aneika Vassell, a student nurse

For Aneika Vassell, a student nurse who cares for patients with advanced dementia, budgeting was key to improving her finances.

“A budget is the first tool that you can use to create wealth. My husband and I have been using this tool in our everyday life to manage our money better,” she said explaining that it assisted in keeping track of spending and achieving financial goals.

Vassell, however, admitted that in the beginning it was difficult and that it took a lot of discipline, but, she noted, it has paid off, as there have been improvements in their savings and investment.

“So far, we are reaping our rewards. We have improved in our savings, we have improved our investments and we have been diversifying our portfolio, which is very important,” she said.

Rose Miller, grants manager at the JN Foundation
Rose Miller, grants manager at the JN Foundation

Rose Miller, grants manager at the JN Foundation and team lead of the BeWi$e Financial Empowerment Programme said that a budget can be created by using apps or Microsoft Excel/Google Sheets.

“Select the most suitable method to help you create your budget.  It can be as simple, or as complex as you like. Be prepared to input information about all income and especially expenses as they happen. Whichever method you choose, you will still need to be disciplined to achieve your financial goals so sticking to the budget is very critical. If possible, set an alert to warn about overspending,” she said.

Giving advice on tips on how to improve saving, Mrs Miller said it is best to apply the following:

  • Pay yourself first– Use online banking to transfer money or automate deposits from your pay to your savings, investment, or emergency fund account. Remember the 10-10-80 rule:

10% – Savings

10% – Donate

80% – Spend

  • Create an Emergency Fund–   If you do not yet have an emergency fund account, it is time to set one up.  Remember you should maintain a balance to cover at least six months  living expenses  in your emergency fund,” she said.
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Bridgeport Primary Gets Upgrade under JN, UNICEF Project

Lorna Lewis (right), principal of Bridgeport Primary School tours the infrastructural upgrade done at the school with Jodi-Ann Bowen (second at right), monitoring, evaluation & special projects officer at the JN Foundation; Camal Briscoe (third right), director of Alison Construction and Roberts Stephens, technical consultant at the JN Foundation.

When students at the Bridgeport Primary School in St Catherine return to face-to-face classes, they will be entering a safer environment, where commuting to school will be much easier.

This is because the school has received infrastructural upgrades, including sidewalks, road signs, and a newly painted crosswalk. The work was conducted under the X-Marks the Spot initiative, a school crosswalk road safety campaign being implemented by the JN Foundation, in collaboration with UNICEF and the ABERTIS Foundation.

Lorna Lewis, principal of the school, said the institution was grateful for the infrastructural upgrade.

“We are extremely pleased and we are grateful to the foundations for all that have done for us. Not only the students have benefitted, but also the community members, in terms of where they would wait for the buses; and even for the cross walk, which has been repainted to make it safer for our boys and girls when they return to face-to-face classes,” she informed.

Jodi-Ann Bowen, monitoring, evaluation & special projects officer at the JN Foundation, said the organisation is happy that the school has been made safer, as a result of the improvements to road safety infrastructure.

“Road safety is one of the priority areas of the JN Foundation, and we are happy that through our donor partners, the ABERTIS Foundation and UNICEF, Bridgeport Primary School has benefitted from such improvements,” she related.

She also noted that children should be protected at all cost, as they are vulnerable members of the population.

Lorna Lewis (right), principal of Bridgeport Primary School tours the infrastructural upgrade done at the school with Jodi-Ann Bowen (second at right), monitoring, evaluation & special projects officer at the JN Foundation; Camal Briscoe (third right), director of Alison Construction and Roberts Stephens, technical consultant at the JN Foundation.

Samantha Gayle, education support consultant at UNICEF, who has responsibility for the road safety programme, said she was grateful to have upgraded Bridgeport Primary School, which did not have any safe road infrastructure in the vicinity.

“I’m glad that we were able to complete a major part of the work and the quality of the work done is in keeping with our standards. I wish that the students were here at the moment, so that we could actually see the impact it has on them,” she said.

The school crosswalk campaign was initiated in 2018 and is focused on encouraging advocacy and discussions about road safety in schools and households.

Hazard Primary School in Clarendon was the first school to be upgraded under the campaign. The educational institution benefitted from the erection of signage for bus lay-bys; and pedestrian gates as well as, the widening and paving of the sidewalks.

The campaign was informed by a Child Road Safety Assessment Report commissioned by the JN Foundation, which provided the baseline data, to improve the safety of children on roads, particularly near, or on their way to school.

The research identified specific schools and zones, where children were most vulnerable to incidences of road traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities. These areas required specific infrastructural and/or safety interventions, both at the physical and social levels.

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Russell Barrett Is the Oliver Clarke Graduate Scholarship Recipient in Leadership and Governance

Earl Jarrett (left), deputy chair and chief executive officer of The Jamaica National Group explains to Russell Barrett (right) the importance of the Oliver Clarke scholarship. Meanwhile, Parris Lyew-Ayee (second right), chairman of the JN Foundation and Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation look on. Mr Russell made a courtesy call at the organisation’s head office in Kingston, recently.

Twenty-five year-old Russell Barrett, who resides in St Elizabeth, is the recipient of the Hon. Oliver Clarke Graduate Scholarship, which was awarded to celebrate the life and legacy of the late chair the board of directors of The Jamaica National Group, a media mogul and Jamaican business stalwart.

Russell, a senior public procurement officer of the Southern Regional Health Authority, said that being selected as the first recipient of the prestigious scholarship was an overwhelming and grateful feeling.

“I’m most thankful and excited. The donor’s name, in which the scholarship is presented, is within itself most prestigious. Mr Clarke has a legacy of his own, and I am proud and honoured to be presented with this scholarship,” Russell said with pride.

He is pursuing a Master of Science Degree in International Public and Development Management, at The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. He informed that the graduate programme is a sought after course for middle managers.

After completion, Russell hopes to continue to work at his organisation, where he aspires to be promoted to regional director within the next five years.

The Calabar High School old boy said that the scholarship, which is valued up to $2 million, will cover all his educational expenses, a burden which he said has been lifted from his shoulders.

A graduate at The UWI, where he pursued a first degree in International Relations, Russell knows the challenges which go into the financing of an education, as he shared that while doing his first degree, he was not qualified to get financial funding for his studies. However, his parents, who are from humble beginnings, were determined that their first born would get a tertiary education.

“It is from the sweat of their brow that I was able to go to university,” he said, as he revealed that his mother would buy and sell retail clothes, to finance his education, with assistance from his father.

He also worked on campus whenever he had no classes to earn extra cash to cover the shortfall. He noted that these challenges served to mould his character and made him into a thrifty person, who benefited from the value of saving.

“I was a member of the Jamaica National School Savers Club; and therefore, I had a bank account by the time I was 11 years-old,” he boasts.

He said that, with the guidance of his father, he continued saving with the institution; and was able to get a mortgage from the institution, to purchase his first home.

His advice to young people is to aspire to do well and seek higher education. “Hard work and dedication will take you far, but a good education will give you the edge,” he said.

Earl Jarrett, deputy chair and chief executive officer of The Jamaica National Group congratulated Mr Barrett and shared that Mr Clarke was passionate about stamping out corruption and mismanagement of public resources in the public sector and that The Jamaica National Group thought it was fitting to honour his legacy with a scholarship fund that would invest in a generation of young leaders who will not be corrupt and will shout out corruption when they see it and put in good management practices to safeguard against corruption.

Parris Lyew-Ayee, chairman of the JN Foundation said good leadership especially in procurement will be especially needed in the public health sector in the COVID-19 pandemic and post pandemic.

“Leadership procurement to deal with corruption is very important. This is why we are going to need people with backbone, high morals and values to take charge,” he said.

Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation said that the scholarship was introduced for the first time last year, following the death of Mr Clarke in 2020.

Ms Allen informed that two grants were awarded from the scholarship fund to Jamonte East, who is pursuing a Masters in International Public and Development Management and Keenan Falconer, who is doing a Masters in Science and Development Studies, at The University of the West Indies.

The scholarship offering will be replicated over the next two years and one person is expected to be selected annually.

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JN Foundation and UTech Partner on Academic Programme & Research for Drought Solutions

The JN Foundation and the University of Technology (UTech) have forged a partnership to train more persons in water adaptation as one of the solutions to address the country’s drought challenges.

The partnership was formalised through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently, which will see the development of a course certifying persons for careers in water adaptation and research relating to rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling.

The Hon. Earl Jarrett, deputy chairman and chief executive officer of The Jamaica National Group, who signed on behalf of the JN Foundation, said that the MoU was a significant collaboration with both organisations working to protect the environment and meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“We are committed to those goals and we have participated in other UN Sustainable Goals activities. One of our activities is that we will be developing targets for the Group over the next few months, in terms of carbon footprint; and therefore, this project fits in with what we are doing at JN Group,” he informed.

“In respect of the environment, a change in behaviour comes from learning and knowledge; and you are in a position where you are conducting research, you are teaching and communicating. And hopefully, through this MoU, we are signing today, we can get more people to use more water adaptation tools and technology. We will also communicate to Jamaicans that we have to change, in order to live longer and sustainably,” he said.

Professor Colin Gyles, president of UTech, in response, stated that the university was pleased to participate in this particularly important alliance with another home-grown Jamaican organisation.

“A part of what we must seek to practise is collaboration for the common good; and I believe that this particular partnership between two institutions, which are indelibly etched on the landscape of Jamaica, speaks volumes as what we, as a nation, should seek to do,” he said.

 “In relation to the project itself, it could have hardly come at a better time, because as we enter the drought season, we are keenly aware that Jamaica has a problem with water, the land of wood and water. The truth is, there is no reason why…with the brilliance and innovativeness of our people…we should be having that problem. And, I do believe that this project, in fostering water harvesting, water treatment, and innovation; as well as supporting the development of these, is long overdue,” he said.

Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation, said that the charitable arm of The Jamaica National Group was pleased to be teaming up with the university, to develop the course and commence the programme.

She stated that in addition to programme development, the MoU will allow for research, particularly in the areas of sustainable development, climate change, and energy efficiency; as well as related areas associated with water, housing, and land management.

The MoU was facilitated through the Water Project Jamaica, which is being administered by the JN Foundation. Its objectives are to facilitate the uptake of water adaptation measures in the housing sector across Jamaica. These include:  the use of rainwater harvesting systems; water efficient taps and showers; low-flush toilets; efficient irrigation systems; and grey water recycling facilities; as well as, other appropriate efficiency measures.

Other objectives of the project are to: increase climate resilient housing in Jamaica through greater awareness about the business and financial cases involved in developing and building homes, with water efficient measures.

The project also aims to promote efficiency in the use of water by Jamaicans in their homes; improve the reliability of water supplies; and thereby, enhance the country’s water security and climate resilience.

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Karen Oliver Is The 2020 JN Foundation Staff Scholarship Recipient

Karen Oliver, Communication Specialist in the Corporate Communications department, is the 2020 JN Foundation Staff Scholarship Recipient.

Karen, who has been employed to The Jamaica National Group since 2001, is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Communication for Social and Behaviour Change, at The University of the West Indies (UWI).

“It took a few seconds to sink in, after reading the email, that I was the 2020 JN Foundation Staff Scholarship Recipient.   I’m elated to be selected, because not only will this scholarship help to offset a part of my tuition at The UWI; but the thought that I’m now a JN Foundation Scholar is also very meaningful to me.  I’m really grateful to the Foundation for this wonderful gesture,” she said, as her face lit up with pride.

Karen, who has responsibility for staff and member publications for The Jamaica National Group, is a consistent academic performer. In two consecutive years, 2018 and 2019, she was named the top overall student, in the Department of Communication Studies, at the Northern Caribbean University(NCU).She also received the Director’s Award for academic achievement, East Jamaica Regional Campus of NCU.

She graduated from that institution in 2020, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications Studies (Journalism major), Magna Cum Laude.

Karen attributes her success to hard work and determination. “These are attributes, which I have acquired over the years, and they have contributed to building my character,” she related.

She has also displayed these outstanding achievements on the job; and  she was named the Employee of the Quarter in 2012 for the Corporate Communications department; and was again a nominee for that award in 2014.  In that same year, she was appointed Respect Ambassador, to assist with culture transformation, during the transition of the Jamaica National Building Society to become a commercial bank. 

Also, in 2014, she received the inaugural Innovation Award from the Group Human Resource Development department, for initiating and implementing ‘$mart Wid Mi Money’, a unique money management programme for employees.

Tanya Pringle, executive, Corporate Communications at The Jamaica National Group, said she was proud of Karen’s achievements and her consistent high performance on the job.

“Karen is a ‘go getter’ who always excels at whatever task is given to her. She owns her projects and champions them without much supervision. I’m overjoyed at her recent accomplishment”, she said.

Karen’s other achievements include being a trained public speaker who, in 2015, achieved the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) designation, the highest designation in the Toastmasters International programme; Toastmaster of the Year for the JN Toastmasters Club in 2012 and 2016; as well as Toastmaster of the Year for Division B, comprising Jamaica, The Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands, in that same year.

In 2016, she achieved the most educational awards (12) in Toastmasters District 81, which comprises 24 Caribbean territories.  From 2014 to 2015, she served Toastmasters International, as one of six Area Governors for Jamaica.

In that same year, she received double recognition on the JN Wall of Fame, which was initiated to acknowledge the outstanding achievements of employees. Karen is a member of the Planning Committee of the Governor-General’s Achievement Awards programme. She is married with two daughters and enjoys speech writing, public speaking, sewing, and gardening.

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Should I Save or Invest My Money?

Rose Miller, Head of the JN BeWi$e Financial Empowerment Programme, says that as the world welcomes 2021, many Jamaicans are looking carefully at their finances with the hope that this year will be more prosperous than the last.

She noted that one of the big questions on some people’s mind is whether they should focus more on saving or investing in the New Year.

“With the economic and social challenges that accompanied 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many persons are looking to make changes with how they manage their money in order to safeguard and build their wealth,” Mrs Miller said.

She pointed out that if persons are wondering whether they should save or invest this year, the answer depends on their goals, timeframe and overall financial situation.

The JN Foundation grants manager explained that saving is putting money aside, bit by bit. “You usually save up to pay for something specific, like a holiday, a deposit on a home, or to cover any emergencies that might arise, like car repairs,” she said.

Mrs Miller further noted that saving usually means putting money into cash products, such as a savings account in a bank or building society.

Conversely, investing is taking a portion of your money and trying to make it grow by buying financial instruments that are expected to increase in value. “For example, you might invest in stocks, property, or mutual funds.”

Who should save?

She pointed out that when it comes to saving, everyone should aspire to build an emergency fund. The general rule is to have savings of at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses; including rent, food, school fees and any other priority items you would normally budget for each month. This emergency fund should be in an account that is easily accessible.

“Your emergency fund means you have a financial cushion if something goes wrong.”

Mrs Miller said once persons have built an emergency fund, they can now shift their focus to other financial goals, including a deposit on a house, a wedding or a trip. “It’s a good idea for them to continue saving at least 10 per cent of their income each month or as much as they can afford,” she advised.

Mrs Miller said the only time persons shouldn’t save or invest is if there are other pressing needs, such as getting their debts, especially high interest rate debt, under control.

Are you ready to invest?

“Whether or not it makes sense for you to invest depends on your goals, specifically if they are long, short, or medium-term,” she pointed out.

She explained that short-term goals are things you plan to do within the next five years, while medium-term goals are plans you hope to accomplish within the next five to 10 years.

“Longer-term goals are ones where you won’t need the money for ten years or more,” Mrs Miller said.

Short-term goals

She noted that for short-term goals, the general rule is to save into cash deposits, like bank accounts. “The stock market might go up or down in the short-term and if you invest for less than five years you might make a loss,” she advised.

Medium-term goals

For the medium-term, Mrs Miller said while cash deposits might sometimes be the best answer, it depends on how much risk a person is willing to take with their money to achieve a greater return.

“For example, if you’re planning to buy a property in seven years and you know you’ll need all your savings as a deposit and don’t want to risk your money, it would be safer in a savings or fixed deposit account,” she recommended. “The latter would provide a more favourable interest rate and would allow you to earn returns ahead of inflation.”

On the other hand, Mrs Miller said if an individual has more flexibility with their funds, and is prepared to take some risk with their original capital they might consider investing to try and achieve a greater return than would be possible by saving alone.

Long-term goals

The JN Foundation grants manager noted that for longer-term goals, a person may want to consider investing, because inflation can seriously affect the value of cash savings over the medium and long-term.

Mrs Miller said the stock market tends to do better than cash over the long-term providing an opportunity for greater returns on any money invested over time.

“You can lower the level of risk you take when you invest by spreading your money across different types of investments. This is called diversification.”

She pointed out that as the below table suggests, most persons will have several goals with different timescales, which means that they will have to do some saving and some investing.

“That is why it is important to look carefully at your goals and make a plan. Talk to a professional if you are not sure how to proceed,” she advised.

Buy a new carYou need a new car within two yearsSave
Put down a deposit on a houseYou’d like to move into your new home in three yearsSave
Pay for your weddingYou will be getting married in five yearsSave
Have a comfortable retirementYou’ve just turned 30 and you’d like to retire at 65Invest
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More Schools to Benefit from X-Marks the Spot Campaign

Two schools located in St Catherine and Westmoreland are the most recent educational institutions  to benefit from infrastructural  work,  through the X-Marks the Spot initiative, a School Crosswalk Road Safety Campaign, being implemented by the JN Foundation, in collaboration with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the ABERTIS Foundation.

Onyka Barrett Scott, general manager of the JN Foundation, said that the upcoming work will include the erection of signage for bus lay-bys, pedestrian gates, and the widening and paving of sidewalks and painting of the crosswalks at Bridgeport High School in St Catherine; and Llandilo School of Special Education in Westmoreland.

“We are excited about these two projects, which will make it safer for students when they traverse the areas,” she said, explaining that the work should be completed by December.

“When these children return to school for face-to-face classes, they will be returning to a safer environment,” she said.

On completion of the project, the schools will join the list of 29 schools which have benefitted from improvement to their pedestrian crossings, signage or general road safety related improvements in 2020.

Ferncourt High School in Claremont, St Ann is one of the schools that benefitted from the campaign. Marissa Johnson-Howell, Dean of Discipline at the school, said the upgrading of the cross walk was welcomed, as its now safer for students.

“Road safety is of paramount importance to the care and protection of our students and members of staff. We are very appreciative of the JN Foundation’s initiative to paint a pedestrian crossing at the point of entry for students to access the main campus and look forward to their continued support in providing a safe and secure environment for our stakeholders,” she pointed out.

Mrs Barrett Scott stated that the aim of the School Crosswalk Campaign is to encourage advocacy and discussions about road safety in schools and households

Hazard Primary School in Clarendon was the first school to be upgraded under the campaign. The educational institution benefitted from the erection of: signage for bus lay-bys, pedestrian gates, the widening and paving of the sidewalks.

The campaign was informed by a Child Road Safety Assessment Report commissioned by the JN Foundation, which provided the baseline data to improve the safety of children on roads, particularly near, or on their way to school.

The research identified specific schools and zones where children were most vulnerable to incidences of road traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities. These areas required specific infrastructural and/or safety interventions, both at the physical and social levels.

Since the start of 2020, 22 children have lost their lives on the roadways. Additionally, an innumerable number of children continue to suffer from life-altering injuries, which are a direct result of traffic crashes, within 100 metres of school zones, during the past decade.

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Comedian Tells Young People Saving is No Joke

Popular comedian Ian ‘Ity’ Ellis is reminding young people about the importance of saving.

Drawing on part of a quotation from Earl Jarrett, Chief Executive Officer of The Jamaica National Group, Mr Ellis pointed out that “savings are not only the fuel for investments”, but that the money, which is put aside when times are good, is often what individuals and their families turn to in challenging financial times.

He was addressing the, ‘Ask Me Anything About Money’ Youth Forum, organised by the JN Foundation through its BeWi$e Financial Empowerment Programme.

The live chat was held at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in Kingston on Wednesday, November 25 and streamed LIVE via Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

“This season has really taught me the value of having some money set aside. I tell my daughter that the one thing I would change if I had the power to go back in time, is that I would save more,” said the accountant and entrepreneur.

“I am blessed to be in a position where if it were not for savings, my children would discover what it is to be hungry. Therefore, I would really like to emphasise to young people that they need to develop the habit of saving, especially when they come into some earnings.”

Mr Ellis, who was a special guest at the event, stated that the global pandemic has highlighted the importance of savings in the lives of many Jamaicans. He noted that many persons are now struggling to make ends meet, due to the severe socio-economic effects of COVID-19.

“I know it is said many times on platforms such as these. However, the truth is that the message is very relevant, especially now, as so many persons are struggling, because they didn’t save at all,” he said.

Onyka Barrett Scott, general manager of the JN Foundation, agreed with Mr Ellis, advising that the rule of thumb when it comes to saving is to, “pay yourself first.”

“When you receive your pay cheque each month, no matter how small it is, try to set aside at least ten per cent of your earnings,” she recommended. “Put that ten per cent in an emergency fund and don’t touch it at all, because there is going to come a day when you will really need it.”

Mrs Barrett Scott noted that this rule applies regardless of the individual’s income.

“Many young people will say that they don’t make that much; therefore, how are they going to save ten per cent each month? But, regardless of the amount you make in salary, you can still put aside something. Start with whatever you can and gradually move towards the ten per cent over time,” she emphasised.

The “Ask Me Anything About Money” forum was geared towards young people between the ages of 16 and 30-years-old, who were interested in financial education. It addressed issues such as saving, budgeting, investments, insurance, credit cards and pivoting during the COVID-19 crisis.

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