Competency in managing money appears to be a skill that doesn’t come naturally to eve ryone. Unless a person is exposed to the practice of money management, he/she is less likely to understand how it works and its long-term benefits. It is easy to develop poor spending and financial habits resulting in significant negative consequences such as a poor credit rating, denial of credit, rejection for a checking account and bankruptcy, to name a few. Early financial literacy is the best way to pre vent such consequences.
Financial institutions have a vested interest in supporting or providing financial literacy programs. Rrlative to cost, financial literacy provides both immediate and long-term returns. The most obvious is brand recognition and market share. Financial literacy offers an excellent opportunity to personalize ones institution among consumers who have myriad options in selecting financial service providers. Consumers who understand the merits of responsibly managing their financial resources are more likely to effectively and profitably utilize the services of a traditional financial institution.
Financial literacy is a good way to teach consumers about the benefits of having a relationship with a financial institution. Among these are economical access to funds and credit, the ability to establish a positive financial history, consumer protection and perhaps most important, a higher propensity towards savings, which increases net worth. Financial literacy can also break the cycle of poverty, which is often associated with the unbanked. Individuals who have experience handling a bank account and an awareness of other effective money management/asset building techniques are more likely to pass these on to their children.
Providing financial literacy training is not a one-size-fits-all effort . Financial literacy is most clearly divided into four categories: early intervention, basic literacy, credit rehabilitation and long-term planning or asset building.
Introduction at the earliest stage can often eliminate the need for corrective intervention at later stages. Given the breadth and variety of materials available, it may be useful to first determine your institution’s purpose and objectives for undertaking financial literacy training. This will assist you in specifying the audience you would like to reach and in identifying the most appropriate materials.
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