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Growth & Jobs |Use technology to improve financial literacy – JN manager

Published:Tuesday | April 20, 2021 | 12:05 AM

Michael Collins, team lead for the Youth Banking Unit at JN Bank, is encouraging more Jamaicans to use technology to help improve their knowledge of financial matters and take control of their personal finance.

April is Financial Literacy Month and JN Bank is observing the period under the theme: ‘Tech over Your Finances’.

Collins, who is a JN BeWi$e Ambassador, noted that technology provides several avenues through which more Jamaicans, especially young adults, can expand their financial education and be empowered to better manage their spending and potential access to loans.

According to a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, young people nowadays face more challenging financial choices, given the fast digitalisation, technological changes and socio-economic transformation of the global landscape.

The report further noted that the buying power of young adults has increased over the years, and so it has become extremely important to increase the financial knowledge of the next generation.

Collins pointed out that the advancements in technology has placed young people in a much better position to surpass their parents’ and grandparents’ level of financial education.

A 2015 Standards and Poor’s Global Financial Literacy study shows that only about 33 per cent of adult Jamaicans are considered financially literate.

“Technology influences every aspect of our lives. It impacts entertainment, news, and even how we connect with friends, family, and colleagues. Therefore, if technology is so ubiquitous and is constantly changing and evolving, why not use it to improve other aspects of your life?”

He noted that to better navigate their financial futures and be prepared to make smart choices, young adults need to learn early about earning and spending, saving and investing, using credit wisely and responsibly, paying for college, and recognising and avoiding financial fraud.

“Many young people, before they even start their first jobs, are already financial consumers who encounter complex and varying financial decisions, including applying for an educational loan,” he pointed out.

Collins stated that while many Jamaicans use technology for entertainment, few are making the most of technology’s ability to transform their finances.

Here are some ways, he suggests, you can use technology to improve your financial education:

Consider financial apps

There are countless financial technology companies that have created apps and other technology products to help you with your finances. There are many apps currently available that can be used to improve your money management, budgeting skills and investment decisions. These include Mint, You Need a Budget (YNAB) and Wally. Do your research to find the best apps that fit your lifestyle, whether that includes investing or getting out of a significant amount of debt.

Tune in to podcasts

There are also several personal finance podcasts that persons can tune in to for financial advice. Whatever you’re interested in, when it comes to personal finance, the right podcasts will help you make the right decisions to improve your money management. Examples include The Dave Ramsey Show, So Money and Bigger Pockets Money Podcast.

Personal finance videos

Another important resource for anyone interested in improving their financial education is YouTube. Watching YouTube videos is an easy and accessible way to learn more about personal finance and financial security. Some videos or channels persons can tune in to include My Fab Finance, Absolutely Adonis and The Financial Diet.

With a myriad of apps, videos, podcasts, and much more information available right at your fingertips, it’s easy to increase your knowledge of financial matters and perfect your approach to managing your money with the help of technology.

“It’s Financial Literacy Month. Why not use this opportunity to sharpen your money-management skills, learn more about your investment options or research financial terms that you aren’t too sure about,” Collins recommended.