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Financial Literacy in the Caribbean

Odd Cents - Banking and Finance

In some countries in the Caribbean and internationally, April is Financial Literacy Month. Keep reading and celebrate financial literacy in the Caribbean with Odd Cents.

As certain significant events pop up, I am reminded that there were several reasons why I started Odd Cents back in September 2011. The reason that comes to mind during Financial Literacy Month is the fact that I wanted people in the Caribbean to understand their finances. It’s important to understand how money works; how you can make your money work better for you; steps that you can take to have control over your money; and what you can do to make better financial decisions.

The United States and some Caribbean organisations celebrate financial literacy during the month of April. The celebration was conceptualised by National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) as a one day event to promote financial literacy for young people. In 2000, they handed over management of the event to the Jump$tart Coalition. They eventually expanded the celebrations to an entire month and it’s still that way to this day.

Financial Literacy in the Caribbean

When I look back at the hundreds of articles on the site, I think that I have kept close to this mission. However, in recent times, I have decided to push more content that is specific to our region. That’s why I’ve decided to take a look at financial literacy in the Caribbean, by highlighting articles that speak specifically to the subject. I’ve always felt that we need to do more because many of our young people are leaving school without basic knowledge of taxes; saving and investing; emergency funds; managing credit cards; and the ins and outs of mortgages and loans.

1. Caribbean Credit Bureau Ltd.: Steps to Increasing Financial Literacy

Knowing where to start when trying to improve your financial knowledge can be daunting if you don’t know where to look. A good place to start is with this article by the Caribbean Credit Bureau Ltd. The article explains that you can improve your financial literacy by reading a book; listening to a podcast; or subscribing to a personal finance blog.

2. Ideas Matter (IADB): Financial Literacy in the Caribbean – The Case of Barbados

This blog largely covers the results of a financial literacy survey by the IADB which was conducted in Barbados in May/ June 2020. One of the revelations that stands out for me is that when you have financial skills, you plan your finances, prepare for retirement and accumulate wealth. It also revealed that there is not enough data on financial literacy in the Caribbean.

3. Island Origins Magazine: Financial Literacy in the Caribbean American Community

Even though the author Earl Carl does not live in the Caribbean, he is of Caribbean descent and shares many of the financial lessons that he learned growing up. One important lesson, which is useful when teaching children about financial literacy, is when he wanted a bicycle. His mother told him that if he wanted the bicycle, he would have to work for it.

4. Financial Centsibility: Financial Literacy in Jamaica

I believe it’s important to understand the statistics on financial literacy in the Caribbean. Gilly J shares results from a by World Bank report on a Financial Literacy Around The World survey by Standard and Poor’s about simple financial literacy. The report reveals surprising numbers for the Caribbean. Gilly said it right when she said; “we have some work to do in improving understanding of basic financial principles.”

5. CAF Development Bank of Lain America: Inclusion and Financial Literacy, Keys to Reducing Gaps in Latin America and the Caribbean

Did you know that the CAF Development Bank of Latin America partnered with the OECD to publish a financial study? The study, National Strategies for Inclusion and Financial Literacy in Latin America and the Caribbean: Implementation Challenges, identifies challenges facing the region when implementing financial inclusion and financial literacy policies, and shares lessons learned and success stories.

6. Financially S.M.A.R.T. Advice: Developing Financial Literacy in Jamaica

This insightful article which I actually found some years ago, looks at the programmes which aim to improve financial literacy in the Caribbean. Cherryl Hanson Simpson highlights the importance of national national financial literacy programme in Jamaica and why the authorities should get on board. She carefully explores programmes in other countries and how they are benefitting the recipients.

7. OECS: Improving Financial Literacy

Dr. Terrance K Martin Jr.’s roots rise from the earth of St. Kitts and Nevis and propelled him to a doctoral degree in Personal Financial Planning. His story of perseverance, is a personal finance story in itself. He tells of how he secured scholarships to ease the financial burden of his education and took on extra courses to ensure that his tuition was covered in the stipulated time.

Happy Financial Literacy Month to you! If you come across any resources that should be included in this page, please send me a message using the Contact form.