Most extensive outreach under the Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults

For three days in mid-August, 30 SMU students, who were trained to deliver the Citi-SMU Financial Literacy (Fin Lit in short) Programme for Young Adults, coached 3,000 first-year students from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) in a fin lit programme specially tailored to meet their needs.  The ITE students were taught the basics of personal finance, including budgeting, saving, credit and borrowing – all essential skills to give them a head-start in future.  Thirty teachers from ITE also underwent workshops helmed by SMU’s faculty members so that they can go on to coach the remaining student population at the Institute.

The Citi-SMU Financial Literacy (Fin Lit in short) Programme was first launched in April 2012 as Singapore’s first structured financial literacy programme for young adults.  It aims to equip those between 17 and 30 years old with essential personal finance knowledge and skills to give them a firm foundation in managing their money and a financial head-start early in their working lives.  Since then, 55 SMU students have been trained under a train-the-trainer programme, and have been involved in various outreach initiatives since they completed their training.  The collaboration with ITE, however, is the largest and most extensive outreach to date.

[Photo: Launch of the three-day Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults at ITE College West in mid-August.]

 

On the opportunity to coach her younger peers, SMU trainer and third-year business undergraduate Loh Mei-e said, “Most of them are 17, so they are at the age before they go out to work where they will earn their first pay cheque. They will greatly benefit in getting a head-start on how to spend the money and better invest the money… I learnt a lot from this experience – how to look at investing from everybody’s perspective, and how to teach people from different walks of life on how they can spend their money.”

On the receiving end were first-year ITE students – Nurulhuda and Putra.  Nurulhura said, “Now I know that we have to budget, that budget is important.  We can’t just spend all we want, we need to set limits for ourselves.”

“Now I know how to save, and spend wisely,” commented Putra.

[Photo: A Citi-SMU Financial Literacy workshop in-progress at ITE College West.]

 

Dr Benedict Koh, Programme Director, Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults, and Professor of Finance at SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business, spoke about the significance of the programme.

“Singapore is facing a fast aging population which might not have generated enough retirement savings or ‘nest eggs’.  One of the challenges is therefore to help Singaporeans generate enough retirement income to last them through their retirement years. If youths today can’t live within their means, they will not be able to save and accumulate enough retirement funds when they age.  We hope to turn that around gradually through programmes such as this,” he said.

On the partnership, Dr Jeremy Goh, Programme Director, Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults, said, “The level of financial literacy among Singapore’s youths is generally low, the main reason being the lack of exposure to such life skills through their formal educational journey.  We are very happy to have found a like-minded partner in ITE and are able to reach out to such a large number of youths this time round.  The knowledge on basic financial concepts and planning tools that we have incorporated into our programme will lay the foundation for these youths to attain financial security in adulthood.”  Dr Jeremy Goh is also an Associate Professor of Finance at SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business.

[Photo: SMU’s collaboration with ITE was made possible by a Letter of Collaboration signed on 13 August 2013.  Representing SMU and ITE were Dr Jeremy Goh (left), Programme Director, Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults, and Dr Yek Tiew Ming (right), Principal of ITE College West.]

 

Dr Yek Tiew Ming, Principal of ITE College West, said, "We are delighted to collaborate with SMU and Citi Foundation on this Financial Literacy Programme. As we prepare students to step into the working world, the programme will be useful in teaching students personal financial knowledge, budgeting and responsible spending habits.”

Mr Michael Zink, Head of ASEAN and Citi Country Officer, Singapore, said, “Financial education has been a key focus of our corporate citizenship efforts since 2002.  At Citi, we believe that we can make a difference in people’s lives by improving their financial capability as a natural extension of the work we do as a financial institution. There is no better investment than empowering young adults with the essential knowledge and skills to make wise decisions on their finances today.”

 

Click here to view a video on the Citi-SMU Financial Literacy for Young Adults programme at ITE College West.

 

[Featured Photo: Launching the three-day Financial Literacy programme for ITE students on 13 August 2013 were: (left to right) Dr Yek Tiew Ming (right), Principal of ITE College West; Dr Jeremy Goh, Programme Director, Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults, and Associate Professor of Finance, SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business; Dr Goh Mong Song, Deputy Principal (Academic), ITE College West; and Mr Adam Abdur Rahman, Managing Director, Head of Corporate Affairs, Citi Singapore.]

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