Develop blueprint to improve Singaporeans' financial literacy

To help Singaporeans strengthen their financial position on a sustainable basis, the Government should engage key stakeholders from the public, private, people and political sectors to develop a blueprint to improve financial literacy on a national level.

The blueprint should aim to help all Singaporeans from different backgrounds and across all ages, including the elderly and the lowly educated.

Financial education should start from a young age and continue at every stage of the formal educational process and throughout the lifelong learning journey.

As schools and teachers may not be fully equipped to conduct financial education and help students become self-regulated learners and investors, they should engage the help of parties from the community and financial industry.

These volunteers can bring real-world knowledge and experience to the classroom. They can help to conduct practical exercises to help students develop competence in financial investment.

Students should be assessed on a regular basis to ensure that they have cultivated essential knowledge and skills. They should be able to upgrade themselves to capitalise on evolving financial schemes and tools, and other opportunities in the new economy.

Employers should also help to upgrade their workers' financial intelligence. By doing so, they can prevent their workers from incurring unnecessary debts that will affect their productivity and results.

The People's Association can do its part by conducting appropriate financial investment programmes in community centres.

The Government should continue to educate the people and prevent them from adopting a gambler's mentality in the investment market and spending beyond their means.

It should prevent consumers from being saddled with detrimental financial burdens by regulating financial institutions and instituting safeguards in major financial transactions.

Money may not be the most important asset in life, but when properly earned and utilised, it can do a lot of good for the people and environment.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)