In a bid to up its national financial literacy ante, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, in partnership with Singapore Polytechnic, has recently launched the MoneySENSE – Singapore Polytechnic Institute for Financial Literacy (IFLS).
At the launch of the IFLS last week, Lee Chuan Teck, Chairman of the Financial Education Steering Committee (FESC) and Assistant Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, expounded that the Institute is an integral component in the republic’s financial education agenda and a key step towards achieving a financially literate nation.
Mr. Lee further underscored the importance of financial literacy in Singapore on the micro as well as macroscopic levels. Microscopically, an individual with financial health will be better placed to make sound economic decisions for the family, pursue aspirations and cope with difficult times. A well-informed consumer base subsequently compels the financial industry to meet higher service standards and reduces the consumer’s risk of incurring unnecessary liabilities associated with misinformed or uninformed purchase of financial products.
On a macroscopic level, a financially responsible population contributes to the financial resilience of a country. A populace endowed with financial skills and knowledge can manage financial difficulties well on the local front, as well as outlast global economic turbulence.
The Institute will equip working adults in Singapore with core financial knowledge and skills through a range of targeted public programs. Through these programs, FESC envisions that every adult in Singapore will understand how to make effective and informed decisions based on an astute understanding of fundamental financial concepts. For example, financially educated individuals will learn to achieve fundamental tasks such as managing cash flow and living within one’s means; planning ahead for sufficient income in the long term; buying a house; as well as becoming financially prepared for unforeseen events such as accidents and illnesses.
The Institute will conduct approximately 220 financial education talks and workshops in workplaces, publish a range of e-modules for consumers, as well as develop a grassroots program to reach out to consumers in middle to lower income brackets, among other key awareness strategies.
“In essence, an individual’s financial decisions ultimately affect his well-being as well as that of his community. A financially knowledgeable individual can make prudent financial decisions that will not only allow him to live comfortably in a developed city-state like Singapore, but empower him to be of service to the larger community beyond his nearest and dearest. Hence, if every working adult has his financial literacy basics right, as a nation, Singapore will be in good stead to tackle greater economic issues,” agreed Mr. Satish Bakhda, General Manager and Head of Operations at Rikvin, a Singapore Company Registration specialist.
Singapore was ranked ninth among the world’s most expensive cities in this year’s Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual cost-of-living survey. Just recently, the Ministry of Manpower has raised the salary threshold for Singapore employment pass and S pass holders who wish to relocate their dependents i.e. spouses and children, owing to the city-state’s escalating cost of living.
“Singapore is not a welfare state in the sense of having an extensive social safety net, hence social security is the onus of the individual rather than the government. Hence, once again, in the bigger scheme of things, a financially literate population contributes to an economically resilient nation,” explained Mr. Bakhda.