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Real Estate agent with Terra Caribbean Andrea Chase (left), Executive Vice President & General Manager Sagicor Life Inc Edward Clarke (right) and Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn admire The Estates at St. George development to be constructed in Boarded Hall St. George.

Financial literacy key

‘We must educate our young people’

NOW more than ever there is power in using financial literacy to drive positive change in the lives of all Barbadians.

So says Executive Vice President & General Manager Sagicor Life Inc., Edward Clarke, who was speaking during the official opening ceremony of the inaugural Sagicor Financial Fair 2019 yesterday.

He made the point that as the country goes through macroeconomic adjustments, restructuring debt and setting goals for the future, it stands to reason that citizens should take more than a passing interest in their fiscal health and towards their own improvements.

“It has been proven and recorded that a financially literate populace can be positioned to succeed, that they can manage financial adversity and uncertainty, must be able to deal with unexpected expenses, ride the rising cost of living and deal with a decline or loss of income, which some of us have experienced over the last few years.”

He added that, globally, it is said that most people don’t expect to have enough money to retire comfortably, tend to live pay cheque to pay cheque and don’t have enough for an emergency.

“The research is also more astounding for our young people. Millennials are said to have more long-term debt, have inadequate financial knowledge, are not happy with their current financial situation and have the lowest level of financial literacy among various age groups. That is serious and something that has to be corrected, not just globally. Barbados, we need to do better as a country to educate our young people.

“Marketing is one thing, but understanding what is there for you to benefit from in the long term is why we are here, for wise financial thinking... to help educate…our customers and bringing new people, educating them and letting them understand the benefits of insurance retirement planning, pensions, mortgages, mutual funds, you name it, it is financial planning.”

Clarke said that as experts in insurance across the Caribbean, the value of planning cannot be understated, particularly as it relates to retirement.

Noting that many people in Barbados depend on the State to help them in their later years, he opined “the State, as we can see, cannot afford to do these things continuously and more and more you are going to see people having to rely on their own financial planning. We believe that we can start with people from the very young age group to understand that you have to be responsible yourself for your own retirement and you might be able to get National Insurance pension and so on, but you have to take the opportunity to plan from young and save a little something for your long-term future,” he said. (JH)

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