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Financial Literacy in the Philippines Essay

Money. That word enough is enough to turn the heads of almost any one in this world today. It’s not a hidden fact or a myth, or an exaggeration that money indeed makes the world go round today. In legal matters, money is the only reasonable way to amend some matters. In a cynical point of view, you could say that money is the law. In these times of corporate international booming, there’s no exaggeration that money holds your life today. Financial literacy is the knowledge that is the answer to these times of finance emphasized earth. But what is financial literacy?

Financial literacy is, according to Wikipedia, “the ability of a person to understand how money works”. It is basically how one is skilled at handling financial matters, and how one is informed of insurances, investing and over-all money management. Knowing this term, then I am asked, Am I financially literate? As a young adult, it is necessary that one knows how to manage money. Especially that I go to school everyday, riding public transportation, eating out; One can say that isn’t everyone financially literate because they know how to budget their money after all?

If it’s that easy, then I could say I am, but it isn’t. I’m not financially literate. As far as my money goes, I only know a little about saving. In fact, I don’t even own a real bank account in this age of 20. I know very little about insurances, investments, let alone the stock market. I only save money so I can spend it on going out with my friends, not for, as they say, the rainy days. Bank accounts are the only thing I know about and as far as I’m concerned it’s just about them keeping my money secured.

I’m supposed to be a little embarrassed, but then I look around my community and see I’m not the only one. No, in this country, I’m one of the majority that is not. Why am I not? Why are most of us not financially literate in this world where money is a crucial necessity? I’ve read one article in the internet by Randell Tiongson entitled “Pinoys and Financial Literacy”. The article tackled how us Filipinos are not as financially literate as we think and the fact that most Filipinos give very little attention to actually be more knowledgeable in handling finances.

In contrast though, it states that little by little, we are getting better; but still we have a long way to go to being called a financially stable country. I learned that most Filipinos have the same mind set as I have. We think having a bank account is already financial security. I think I am one of the population that is generally very clueless. Looking at other countries, they have these programs where they actually give seminars and lectures on being financially literate; to them the booming money world can only be survived through education.

All I see in our country today are seminars about bank accounts and piggy banks. Where is the education that us Filipinos need in this world of financial dependence? We may turn our eyes from it, but money is a concrete fact of living. All my life I’ve been taught that saving money is the best thing you can do to your money; budget and management. But those are all kids stuff. I’m actually now worried that I am not well informed. One of the reasons I am not financially literate is definitely because of poor education on these matters.

No one really taught me the words ‘investing’, or ‘insurance’ or ‘the stock market’ in school. Well maybe in definition, but I never came across how-to’s and guide to how to use these terms in the practical world. I think I would be scolded that I’m asking to be spoon-fed but, to be frank, this country never really made me grow up with concerns about financial literacy. And I am even one of those people with a good education… how about our co-citizens with even less? Another reason is probably how our traditions and culture never really had a chance to understand these legal matters formally.

Unlike other countries, we are generally the most traditional ones. We held our religions close, believing that everything happens in God’s time, if it’s safe to say, I think we are relying in Him too much. They didn’t talk about life insurances in the bible. We tend to believe that whatever happens, it happens on God’s will. Religion has been our security for ages. And I think that is why my own parents doesn’t have too much of a clue in investments issues. And as their child, how am I supposed to have a grasp in this area.

No matter how I am accused of having enough resources because of the internet, it’s still not enough to carry a curiosity on finance matters. Because as tradition was, in this country, if you have a bank account, you’re saved. My family isn’t really one of those homes where everyone’s so money-savvy. I think it’s also because we’re a young family, with me as the eldest child. So I think I should be the one starting, learning about financial literacy. And this goes, with my last reason: Families with low financial status tend to not to be exposed in these opportunities.

We’re not exactly in the higher middle class which many people may think because I’m studying in Mapua. We’re extremely in the middle middle class and as I have observed in television and the internet, those who already have the money are the ones only given the chance to be literate financially. It isn’t a theory that you need money for education, though there are other ways to stay informed but this is the truth. Most people in this country are lower middle class and could you even imagine the opportunities given to their level? It’s just concerning.

Money-education for only those who already have money, or the promise of it. And I think that should be the one of the main concerns of this country. In conclusion, the main reason is our own country’s lack of financial literacy education. Resources: https://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Financial_literacy , http://www. investopedia. com/terms/f/financial-literacy. asp ,http://www. randelltiongson. com/? s=financial+literacy+in+the+philippines , http://www. getsmarteraboutmoney. ca/en/managing-your-money/planning/investing-basics/Pages/what-is-financial-literacy. aspx.

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