Several institutions from the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors offer financial education programmes today. These Australian organisations are mindful of the reality that consumers require a significant amount of training when it comes to dealing with their hard-earned money. Also, they understand that financial stress is a severe concern affecting the people. In July 2017, local start-up Financial Mindfulness commissioned international think tank CoreData to find out about how financial stress impacts Australians’ physical and mental health, as well as their relationships. About 1,000 research participants took part in the study. The CoreData researchers discovered that nearly one in three citizens grapple from considerable financial stress. Also, the comprehensive analysis indicated that this adverse mental or emotional state could lead to relationship conflicts, depression, isolation, anti-social behaviour, sleep loss, and breakdown, among many other negative results.
Financial Mindfulness’s research project affirmed that a substantial number of consumers struggle with money management. These citizens find dealing with their finances overwhelming and stressful. Therefore, this reality calls for the need for financial education initiatives. These financially educational programmes involve training that can boost the financial capability of contemporary consumers. Financial education is an extensive journey, but it is essential because its benefits to individuals and society are considerable. Also, investing in financial skills and behaviours today would surely make a positive difference to plenty of people in the coming years.
8 Programmes in Australia That Boost Consumer Financial Capability
Entities from the public and private sectors, as well as some not-for-profit organisations, have launched initiatives in recent years which offer resources that relate to financial education. Interested participants who are either financially savvy or otherwise can find a wealth of tools which they can utilise to improve their financial literacy. These helpful resources include elementary budgeting tools, strategies for financial planning and everyday financial management, as well as the guidelines for investments and informed financial decision-making. Here are eight of these financial education programmes:
1. Financial First Steps
Westpac Banking Corporation launched this free workshop for employer groups, educational institutions, and the community via its financial education unit, The Davidson Institute. As a financially educational programme, Financial First Steps allows learners to discover more about how to save better and budget their money, as well as how to manage debt and credit card dues properly. Plus, this initiative encourages the participants to employ their critical thinking skills when making financial decisions.
2. The Smith Family’s Saver Plus
The Smith Family is an Australian standalone children’s charity. It helps disadvantaged people in getting the most of their education and empowers themselves for their future. The independent organisation offers a financial education programme for low-income families and individuals called Saver Plus. This educational initiative lasts for ten months, and it teaches the participants to learn how to develop advantageous saving habits. The education that the learners get enables them to obtain safeguards against financial shocks. Plus, they get to build their confidence when dealing with financial establishments and performing money management – all of which enhance their financial capability.
3. Reserve Bank of Australia’s Public Education Programme
The Reserve Bank of Australia has a public education initiative that offers educational and informative experiences to various audiences, including students and teachers. This programme of the country’s central bank delivers educative information about the institution’s significant role and activities, as well as the national economy.
Moneysmart is a programme that assists people in becoming more organised with their hard-earned money. Its portal is rich in resources about financial education. Moneysmart aims to aid Australian consumers in dealing with their debts, budgeting, banking, credit cards, insurance, loans, and many more. Also, consumers who need guidance in saving and investing will benefit from the resources about superannuation, retirement, planning, and investing. This initiative helps people interested in wealth-building as well.
5. Moneysmart in Schools
Australian schools may not give much focus on financial education in their curricula. Not all of these educational institutions devote a considerable amount of time in moulding their students to become highly financially literate. Thus, these young people may not get the necessary training they need to understand how to select the mortgage that is optimal for a consumer, and how to fill out one’s tax returns. Besides, they may need some training on budget organisation to pay off their Higher Education Contribution Scheme-Higher Education Loan Program (HECS-HELP) debt. Hence, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) designed Moneysmart in schools as a programme that offers today’s students with a head start on financial training. Young people will learn how to deal with real-life financial problems, and other significant concepts like expenses reduction, debt and credit, and getting one’s first job.
6. National Financial Capability Strategy
The ASIC has spearheaded the National Financial Capability Strategy. This programme undertakes measures and informs stakeholders regarding the way to upgrade the people’s financial or money management skills. Also, this initiative has identified three behavioural segments in which consumers can get empowerment so they can better control their financial lives. These areas consist of future planning, everyday money management, and informed money decision-making.
7. Start Smart
This financial education programme aims to boost young people’s financial literacy. It empowers the youth to make wise financial decisions for themselves. Start Smart believes that it is never too early nor too late for anyone to receive money management know-how. Also, this initiative, which started in 2007, has catered to primary and secondary school students. These young people benefit from the financial capability workshops customised based on their levels of learning, needs, and interests. Students learn about earning money, saving, spending, and investing.
8. ESSI Money
This online financial literacy game facilitates students to learn about the basic concepts of earning, saving, spending and investing (or ESSI) money. It is an online platform project which students play based on ‘virtual reality,’ and they can access it on any Internet browser across all digital devices. Also, young people can play ESSI Money at home and in the classroom. This financial education programme is primarily for Australian secondary school students. But young people from years seven to 12 can engage with the game effectively as well. The version 2.0 of the game is an upgrade of the original. It has interactive applications, recreating plenty of real-life dealings that involve money. Students learn about how consumers make decisions over a certain period, which can have both beneficial and disadvantageous effects on their financial situation. ESSI Money allows the learners to experience the results of the decisions in a safe, challenging, and above all, enjoyable manner.
The units from the government, private sector, and not-for-profit groups that organised these eight programmes are mindful that financial education is significant for Australians from all walks of life. They understand that financial stress caused by money worries decrease the people’s quality of life, and hence, preventive measures are necessary. Moreover, the eight programmes discussed in this article target aiding the consumers in getting on top of their finances. By engaging in one of the initiatives, people can get the empowerment they need to be in control of their financial lives in the long run. In this way, they get to prime themselves for their future, leading quality lives without the troubles that disorganised finances typically cause.