INCLUDE MONEY MANAGEMENT IN SCHOOL CURRICULUM
The strength and firmness of the foundation for a building, marriage, education, business and health of individuals or companies are very vital for their success and longevity. The more knowledgeable you are, the better equipped you are to manage your money to create wealth. Therefore, reducing poverty in families, ethnic groups and nations will depend on the kind of knowledge and wisdom that will be instilled in the future leaders of that society.
Money management, entrepreneurship and sound education are the keys to poverty reduction in every society. Savings and investments must start early in the schools if we want to build a nation of millionaires and billionaires. The spirit of entrepreneurship is a rare value that must be instilled in our children and when they grow up, they will not depart from it. However, it has long been relegated to the background of our basic education. I was enthused when l read that it may be included in the new curriculum of basic schools.
In Springboard, a popular programme aired on Joy FM on Sunday evenings, Rev. Albert Ocran always emphasizes the need for the teaching of entrepreneurship from the Kindergarten level in our schools. This is a laudable idea. I would also like to add that Financial Education should be taught as a core subject from primary up to the university level.
In our Ghanaian culture, there are some foods and activities that run side by side. A few examples include roasted plantain with groundnuts as well as banku with tilapia. Similarly, teachers and students are most of the time together. The driver and driver’s mate work together to take their passengers to their respective destinations. God also created for Adam a helpmate with whom to live. In like manner, Entrepreneurship and Financial Education must go together to equip our children for a better future. Many companies have collapsed and some investors have run into bankruptcy due to lack of financial education.
Many financial experts and money management coaches have different definitions for this subject. The simplest definition is the skill and the ability to make, manage and grow (multiply) one’s money. It is a knowledge that must be acquired, to be practised over and over again. In his book, 50 Prosperity Classics, Tom Butler-Bowdon said, the authors of The One Minute Millionaire clarify; “I make millions, I save Millions, I invest millions, I give millions away.”
In the first place, students need to be taught how to earn money. In that vein, it will discourage them from trying to find shortcuts to make money; they would understand that money must be earned through hard work and a full commitment to one’s vision. When money-making is not taught in schools, students would get it wrong from their peers that making money comes by good luck and corruption which will engender the spirit of laziness among them.
The second is money management, which involves savings, spending, fencing, giving to the needy, etc. It must be clear that, about 50%, 60 % or 70% of one’s earned income is supposed to take care of essential needs like food, accommodation, transportation, utility bills and others. Savings and investment must be done first before spending. It must be explained that earned money has different parts. If taught correctly, students would begin to discard the erroneous notion that one must spend before investing the rest, as many people tend to think.
In this regard, the percentage of one’s money to save, to invest, and to give to charity can be determined by individuals after they have had the benefit of money management coaching. All this of course will depend on one’s earnings. Details of this can be included in the school curriculum.
The third has to do with multiplication of the earned money. Every good seed multiplies when sown on fertile ground under the right conditions; the same applies to money. One seed of maize can be multiplied within a matter of a few months to feed a whole community. Money, if invested properly for a considerable period, also multiplies akin to the talents in that famous biblical parable. About 20 to 30 percent of all regular or irregular earnings can be invested to create wealth.
It must be understood that most investors saved and invested for 20, 30, 40 or 50 years to become the millionaires and billionaires that they are now. Students, when well taught, will cultivate the habit of savings and investments early in life which will make them financially sound and secured when they grow up. Children have no financial commitments and can as such, invest about 70 percent of all gifts they receive. Wealth creation is like building skyscrapers; laying a block at a time with mixed cement, sand and water in between. The completed edifice will be appreciated and admired by society in due time.
Children like toys, footballs, tricycles, games and other such gifts. When they get the understanding that savings and investments will enable them buy these items, they will practise it. Buying assets like cars, houses, equipment, factories, etc. can be done by consistent savings and investment for a long period of time. When children learn to understand entrepreneurship and financial education, the tendency to keep money under the pillow will reduce, especially when they get to appreciate the phenomenon of compounding interests and charts.
Budgeting is another important tool in financial education. It will help students spend less than what they earn, and be masters of their money as well. Students can be taught the importance of having multiple accounts, such as emergency accounts, investment accounts, business supporting accounts and many more. This will help build a solid money management foundation for them.
Retirement will one day happen since aging is there for us all. Students need to understand that planning and preparation for one’s retirement is key and should be considered over instant gratification. Many retirees are struggling to make ends meet. Some depend on their SSNIT benefits only, which is not enough. Others die before their time due to hunger and misery. When the importance of planning and preparing for the future is repeatedly impressed on their young fertile minds, they will prepare well for retirement.
Hard work, smart working, studying hard, making lots of money as well as attending the best schools and universities in the world ALONE will not guarantee financial freedom or make us millionaires, but money management will. As a nation, we believe in God and therefore pray to him and worship Him often. Our children need to understand that prayers, fasting, night vigil prayers, paying tithes and reading the Bible every day along with other good books ALONE will not make them wealthy, but entrepreneurship and financial education will.
A nation with money management subjects in its curriculum will grow millionaires, billionaires, trillionaires, and wealth creators. This will ultimately culminate in poverty reduction. I pray that our children will have a better future and be more prosperous than we are.
Source: Daniel Martey
(Preacher, Author, Environmentalist and Money Management Coach)