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April 4 is Children's Day (兒童節), and I’m reminded of the African proverb that declares “it takes a village to raise a child”. It's true that we all have a role to play when it comes to raising the next generation, particularly when it comes to the vital issue of financial education.

Financial education is a right. Some would say a basic human right. We need to make sure that every child in Hong Kong is getting what they need.

Currently there's a lack of financial education in our schools. It's true the situation is slowly changing for the better, but we need to overcome some pretty high obstacles including an already jam-packed school curriculum and a tendency to focus exclusively on exam-related subjects.

We need to start helping our children now!

An international survey (PISA) of 15 year-olds showed that two-thirds of them currently use a financial product. If you consider an Octopus card a financial product, the figure in Hong Kong would be even higher.

More kids than ever are expected to take control of their financial destiny. We really need kids to have a firm grasp of basic concepts like savings and debt management before they leave school.

Some theories suggest that early childhood is the best time to embed good habits and, as a rule, schools are a great learning environment.

Have input to what happens in your child's classroom by talking to his or her teachers about how financial education can be incorporated into other subjects. Some schools now offer money management as an extra-curricular subject. If it's not available at your child's school, ask why not!

Let's not forget that we all have a role to play in bringing up our children to be financially savvy. Teach your child some basic money management concepts this Children’s Day. It could be one of the most valuable lessons you ever share.

 

David Kneebone
General Manager, Investor Education Centre