Why financial literacy efforts do not work well ?

pink pig figurine on white surface
Picture by Fabian Blank

In big picture, if you really look at it, the power/money structures do not want the general public to be good at finances. Look at our society- we are awkward, ashamed and it is a taboo to talk about money in our families.

Why? because we think money is secondary -the money can’t buy happiness crap.

But truth is, unconsciously we believe money is evil. We despise wealthy people as corrupt. We do not let ourselves be wealthy. So when our unconscious minds work against money, even though we want to do well, our minds won’t let us succeed, because we feel guilty.

There are many financial literacy curriculums, workshops and awareness programs running in Sri Lanka. They are run by corporates to make their staff do well, in apparel factories to help low wage earners to better manage their lives, by NGOs for disadvantages communities and in some schools as an extra curricular thing.

Middle class swear by their credit cards. Lower class pawn their gold and recycle ‘seettu’. Many are squeezed by micro credit legitimate sharks, pyramid scammers and “game poli mudalali.”

Financial literacy should help us take better decisions. But why it isn’t ?

  1. By definition literacy is knowledge. Not application. So having knowledge about finance and practicing good financial habits are worlds apart. Practice require patience and planning.
  2. These programs are mostly delivered to a person, not to the whole family. He gets knowledge and disappears in to the family and society. He has no leverage. He’s alone and fights the battle in his mind. He keeps financials as a secret. Most spouses do not know what is happening with their family finances.

Solution:

Involve families.

Get the family members to talk about money. Plan together. Grow and sometimes crash together.

Our school education fragment the family, the society.

We play down real practitioners for illusion of certificate knowledge.

It’s time to get back to family, involve all of them, if you are interested in making people financially strong.

This is on each and everyone of us.

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