This opinion is skewed towards discussing numerous personal investments that we often make as a people. In as much as investments are a soul need in terms of preparations for one’s future and probably leaving a legacy for many more generations to come, it is imperative that the investment be of value. An investment is as good as the return in value. This does not mean that one should not take some risks in as far as investment is concerned. Investing is a must do. It is an exercise that is encouraged and should be done by all costs. What is discouraged are the ‘casual investments’ made out of ignorance or peer pressure. I am dedicating this submission to discussing financial literacy.
Financial Literacy is the ability to understand and effectively use various financial skills, including personal financial management, budgeting and investing (investopeadia.com). This 21st century skill is very scarce to many. The lack of it has some dreadful repercussions on the productivity of the workforce concerned. It also has some negative contribution on the future life of the concerned. Much as I am not a financial expert, my fifteen years in public service has made me go through the ‘University of hard-knocks’. My brief report is based on this personal experience and should not be interpreted as some truth based on any scientific research.
First and foremost, we ought to learn to buy with cash. What is with us in buying on credit? Most of us are buying even the smallest of the items on credit. Why should I buy a mobile phone worth P1500.00 on credit? Why should I date my wife or girlfriend on credit? Why should I buy clothes on credit? Why should I buy any of the small items that are mostly consumables on credit instead of cash? I suspect that we lack patience to save enough money to buy whatever the goods on cash. Impulsive buying is not only living us indebted for quite a good number of years, but it is affecting our lives miserably. We should normalize saving money. Through saving, we are going to be buying items at a reasonably cheaper price comparatively. Through saving, we would also be financing banks which in turn will finance other projects. In that way, circulation of cash is achieved, something that is very good for the economy.
The ‘University of hard-knocks’ has also taught me not to flimsily take upon all sorts of insurances. Imagine someone having two or three funeral coverage policies. One wonders whether people die twice or what. In any case, a corpse cannot be sliced into pieces so that it occupies two or three coffins. Such kind of deductions from our income are a waste kind of investments in my view. Why not put more money on small and medium enterprises? This reminds me of my belief that small retail investments do not require that one gets a loan. Through saving, one should be able to start some catering business, simple salons and bars, and butcheries. Instead we misdirect these small monies and decide to seek for financial help to start these small retail businesses.
Lastly, I want to encourage ourselves to ensure that we are comfortable in our daily lives. Let us not be casual and stingy with treating ourselves nicely. It is for the good of our own health. A friend of mine has just bought a very nice posh-car. In it are several accessories including aircon. Just last week, he was boastfully telling me that he has never used his car aircon before just because he does not want his car to consume more petrol. He would rather drive in the high temperatures or open up the car windows for the heavy wind to disturb his peace. I have a problem with his belief. In as much as it is a cost saving measure, somehow it affects his good health. I think we only live once. We cannot be saving extremely to the detriment of our own health. I wish I knew the temperatures experienced underground after getting buried. I suspect they are high. I therefore submit that we should enjoy tolerable temperatures whilst we are alive before we go get cooked underneath. It is important that I conclude by advocating for financial literacy skill to be incorporated in the Outcome Based Education system. I believe that this skill is needful to all persons regardless of the level of education. Having such skills, everyone can be able to engineer some monies in their little corner. Let us enjoy ourselves responsibly bearing in mind that we ought to define our own legacy today. Most importantly, we need not to forget that we live and die only once.