The 2008 global financial crisis highlighted the detrimental effects of poor financial decisions on communities and society (How S'pore can prepare for next global financial crisis; Sept 11).
Yet, many surveys have shown that a large segment of the population does not have a good working knowledge of how to handle financial products and services.
Many individuals do not know how to make important financial decisions and plan for their future. This can have a detrimental effect on them and their family's well-being, including a lack of savings, an over-reliance on credit, and becoming victims of fraud.
The need to improve financial literacy is further compounded by the fact that the number of consumers of financial services has been increasing. In addition, these services have become more complex, and when they are sold to financially illiterate parties, there can be negative consequences.
To help Singaporeans strengthen their financial position on a sustainable basis, the authorities should engage key stakeholders from the public and private 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 less educated.
Financial education should start from a young age and continue at every stage of the formal educational process and throughout the life-long learning journey.
Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)