Rose Miller, manager, Strategic Empowerment Programmes at the JN Foundation says a financially literate person can more easily detect when they are being scammed and so ward off financial danger.
Mrs Miller made the comment while addressing a financial empowerment lunch and learn session organised by the JN Foundation in collaboration with JN Member companies, JN Fund Managers Limited and JN Life Insurance Company Limited. The session was delivered to members of staff of The Jamaica National Group.
“Financial education is vital because when you are financially smart you understand how to manage your money. You are not likely to fall prey to scams and fraud because you can see and smell it a mile off,” she pointed out.
She also noted that due to a high level of awareness, a financially literate person can spot a financial opportunity early and because they are armed with the knowledge, can make financially smart decisions.
“You can analyse the situation and make good choices. You are also able to manage your debt. It is very easy to get into debt and if you don’t understand what you are doing and don’t know the basics, you are at a serious disadvantage,” she warned.
According to the Financial Literacy Around the World Report, published in 2019, which was undertaken by Standard & Poor’s with representatives from the World Bank, regarding simple financial literacy, only 33 per cent of Jamaicans surveyed indicated that they had knowledge of basic financial principles.
Mrs Miller lamented that the data show that too many Jamaicans have a low level of financial literacy.
“We advocate for financial literacy, 33 per cent of our people being financially literate is just too low and ignorance has a very high price. So, what would I suggest? We all should get on board,” she recommended.
The JN Foundation Manager for Strategic Empowerment Programmes suggested that to increase literacy, persons should take responsibility for their own financial education by seeking out information to improve understanding of basic financial concepts: the internet is a great resource, listening to financial programmes and attending financial literacy sessions are all ways to increase an individual’s financial IQ.
She said having garnered this information, persons are encouraged to practice what has been learnt and then share the knowledge with family and friends.
“If we are going to make this country better, we need to help each other on this journey, share what you learn and encourage action. One very good reason for this is because we are still in a ‘village’ and everything my neighbour does, affects me and so I encourage you to share the knowledge,” she stated.
The lunch and learn session was held on April 27 to close out Financial Literacy Month. The theme of the session was ‘Securing the Financial Future You and Your Family Deserve. What You Can and Should do Now’. Other members of the panel were Delories Jones, senior vice president of Sales and Marketing, JN Fund Managers Ltd. and Hugh Reid, general manager, JN Life Insurance Co. Ltd.