Financial literacy focuses on the knowledge and skills you need to make effective and informed money management decisions. Gaining the knowledge and developing the skills to become financially literate is a lifelong process that begins with something as simple as putting a few dollars in a piggy bank and evolves to more advanced subjects such as budgeting and risk.
Because financial literacy is not emphasised in the education system, most children lack the knowledge and skills needed to become financially responsible adults.
Strategies by the Financial Literacy Initiative and Bank Windhoek aims to educate the public, but in essence, all things "money" are still taught at home, where the role of financial educator falls primarily on parents, guardians and other adults. Unfortunately, many grownups find it tricky to talk about finances – something that is often made worse when adults lack confidence in their own finances. Unsure of where to begin and worried about saying the wrong thing, they may avoid talking about money at all.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in a report found that, while financial education concerns all ages, the education of younger generations on financial issues has become all the more important since they will likely bear more financial risks and be faced with increasingly complex and sophisticated financial products than their parents. Second, the young have access to and are being offered, financial services at ever earlier ages (through pocket money, cell phones, bank accounts, or even credit cards). Yet, most recent surveys show worrying low levels of youth financial literacy and in many cases, significantly lower levels than older generations.
What is important for adults to remember, however, is that even if you are not a financial whiz, you have experience and perspective on your side and can draw both from your financial mistakes and successes to share essential knowledge and skills with your children. It starts with a simple conversation regarding the importance and understanding the way money works.