At the National Financial Literacy Symposium (NFLS) 2022, the Financial Education Network (FEN) brought forth the topic of ‘Financial Literacy Intervention Strategies: What Works and How Can We Do Better?’
during its second plenary session, in line with the symposium theme of ‘Advancing Financial Literacy Towards Rebuilding Financial Resilience’
Moderated by Hawati Abdul Hamid, Deputy Director of Research, Khazanah Research Institute, she was joined by panel speakers Nur Izzat Aiman and Adam Tiam, Co-Founders, Financial Literacy for Youths; Azaddin Ngah Tasir, Chief Executive Officer, Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK); Alexander Clark, Senior Advisor, The Behavioural Insights Team; and Hann Liew, Founder, RinggitPlus.
The discussion commenced with a quick glimpse at the state of financial literacy among youths. The general consensus was that young adults were aware but lacked the basic fundamentals of financial literacy. This realisation tends to hit once these young adults start living independently. Some may even find themselves chained to debts that they have difficulty servicing as they are juggling a number of financial commitments at the same time.
During the dialogue, the speakers highlighted the various factors that could affect the financial literacy level among youths, such as socio-economic status, generational gap, income, access to trusted financial knowledge and assistance, cognitive biases, and financial behaviour. The panel conceded that financial literacy education must address these gaps and that necessary interventions are needed to improve the level of financial literacy among youths and empower them to make better financial decisions.
In the Malaysian Financial Literacy Survey 2021
by RinggitPlus, youths are digitally savvy, with higher e-wallet adoption and usage, including heightened interest in digital investments compared to the national average. However, they also tend to have worse personal finance habits when compared to the rest of the population. 57% of youths cannot survive beyond three months on savings alone, 45% are spending the exact amount or more than what they earn, and 55% have not started planning their retirement.
To sum it up, the panel agreed that there is work to be done to improve financial literacy among youths. The road toward financial resilience is a long one, and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. Young adults are encouraged to seek knowledge and assistance from verified organisations to strengthen their financial literacy. On top of that, relevant parties should work together to address the concerns and understand the barriers to positive financial habits so that they may overcome these challenges.
- Hawati Abdul Hamid, Deputy Director of Research, Khazanah Research Institute
- Azaddin Ngah Tasir, Chief Executive Officer, Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK)
- Alexander Clark, Senior Advisor, The Behavioural Insights Team
- Hann Liew, Founder, RinggitPlus