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While COVID-19 has brought on challenges on all fronts, from healthcare to rising unemployment, it has also brought to light the need for greater financial literacy amongst Malaysians.

As many young Malaysians fall victim to high credit card debt and bankruptcy, the way forward is to empower young Malaysians to develop a healthy relationship with money from a young age.

Championing financial literacy since 2012, Allianz Malaysia Berhad (Allianz Malaysia), through its corporate responsibility arm, Allianz4Good, has conducted over 180 in-class programmes with schools and non-profit organisations nationwide to teach children and young teens basic financial knowledge and money management. 

In 2019, the Company piloted its FinWise Kids Programme, an in-house programme specifically curated to empower teachers to be financial literacy enablers. Developed and managed by EdSpace, the programme was carried out as an after-school co-curriculum programme by the participating school’s English Language Society or club, as advised and endorsed by the Ministry of Education (MOE). Further to that, the programme supports Bank Negara Malaysia’s goal of developing best practices for financial literacy in schools, as outlined in their National Strategy for Financial Literacy 2019-2023.

Eight schools, three from Kelantan and five from the Klang Valley, were invited to participate in the nine-month programme, which also entailed attending a kick-off training session where they received learning materials for the programme rollout. Three schools from Klang Valley, Sekolah Kebangsaan Yaacob Latif, Sekolah Kebangsaan Bandar Tun Razak 2, and Sri Bestari Private School from the Klang Valley, completed all nine modules of the programme and received a portable projector worth about RM2,000.

“The goal with our financial literacy programme was to equip young people with financial management skills and the ability to make prudent financial decisions. And through the activities, we hope to instil the desire to practice good financial behaviour,” said Ng Siew Gek, Head of Allianz4Good. 

To set youngsters on the right path toward becoming masters of their own money, start with the following: 

Teach them to differentiate between needs and wants
The first step towards being the master of money is to develop the ability to distinguish between wants and needs. Needs are categorised as basic essentials such as food, clothing, and shelter, while wants are usually anything extra. Encourage family conversations about it and get children involved in budgeting the family expenses. Get them to differentiate which items that are needs, and those that are wants. 

Make saving a habit
Encourage the habit of saving. Use the trusted coin box or tabung to serve as a designated place to store their savings and also as a visual reminder. Besides that, having a savings schedule like setting aside RM0.50 a day will encourage the saving habit. 

Make them set a goal for the money saved
It is important to reinforce the principle of money being a limited resource and the need to steward their finances responsibly. You can do so by helping them to identify their savings goal and develop a spending plan. Besides that, you can also use the savings goal as a secondary lesson to explain how they can use their money to help others around them and why it is important to share the resources they have.

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