St. Kitts – Nevis Financial Literacy Month Logo
Basseterre, St. Kitts
September 25, 2008 (SKNIS)
October is Financial Literacy Month in St. Kitts and Nevis and officials are stressing discipline as analysts become increasingly concerned over the impact of a worsening global economic and financial climate.
“Manage Your Money…Live Your Dreams” is the theme for the observance which is also being marked in the seven other member territories that use the EC dollar making up the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).
During an interview on SKNIS Perspectives, Sybil Welsh, Deputy Director of Corporate Relations at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank said that the theme was designed to remind residents of the ECCU that they can accomplish their dreams.
“Maybe a person wants to be a homeowner. Maybe a person wants to be a business owner, or a college graduate, or a land owner, or owner of a car,” she stated. “Whatever those dreams are it requires planning, and managing one’s money and setting goals and achieving them incrementally. If we plan, we can live our dreams.”
Highlighting such, is exactly why Financial Literacy Month was conceived in 2002 after a directive was given by ECCU Heads of Government. Since then, the ECCB has partnered with public and private sector agencies and the media to increase the awareness and understanding of the population of the need to save and invest.
Stressing that message and refining the implementation techniques over the years have boosted the effectiveness of the initiative. Ms. Welsh said the addition of features such as thematic jingles have done wonders, particularly when reaching young people. She added that getting the message home is critical in these tough global financial times.
“When you look at what were the seeds of this crisis (in the United States) it goes back to the mortgage crisis “¦ (where) persons were afforded loans which they could not afford to pay,” the ECCB official explained. “It’s not just mortgage loans we have to look at. We as borrowers have to ask ourselves “˜Can I afford this?’
We need to ensure that we have good savings because in times of rising food prices, rising oil prices “¦ what we do have control of is what we spend. We have control about making sure we save.”
Ms. Welsh indicated that residents need to beware of the offers from institutions which offer no down payment or low credit options.
“We may fall into the trap of saying I can’t get a bank loan, but I can get it on hire purchase, and so we end up with five different hire purchase items from five different agencies,” she noted. “Hire purchase or any sort of credit is a loan we have to repay. The longer you take to pay back a loan; chances are the more interest you will pay. If you are able to cut down the loan amount by having a down payment, it means than that you are saving on interest and a penny saved is a penny earned.”
Messages like these along with safe investment choices will be highlighted all month.
Minister of Finance Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris opens the observance of Financial Literacy Month with a speech on October 1. Other activities include a lunch time concert on Bank Street on October 4, Financial Exhibition at the public library on October 13-17, and a Children’s Library Financial Hour on October 18. Additionally, discussions with church groups and visits to secondary schools by the relevant authorities will help to inform money management issues.