The Oriental Daily Newspaper article
Published 12 February, 2007
Translation from Chinese to English
Gerard Louis: Understanding one's behaviour towards money is the starting point
in learning how to manage our money and educating people about their behaviour shouldn't
Based on this principle, Abacus For Money's Carol Yip and HELP now offer
financial planning workshops for university students, and Gerard supports this
initiative whole heartedly.
"You see, even Bank Negara is setting-up the Credit Counselling and Debt
Management Agency to help those in financial debts."
Gerard Louis believes financial education is the first step towards anyone's
financial freedom. He asked: "Why is "primary school" called "primary"? It's
because it is the golden stage of life, it is the most important, crucial time
for people to learn. If kids are being taught the correct and appropriate way of
thinking, then they will be able to plan their financial life better.
But, don't kids find these issues too abstract to grab or understand?
Gerard Louis: "In Western countries, children start to learn the value of
money in pre-school. Of course, this is simplified in
interesting fun ways to educate them. And children learn to understand the value
of money through different stages
of their life. This type of education, is important to be imparted not just
in theory but also in practice."
Gerard Louis: "Why is it nowadays young people always spend more than they
earn?" Most probably they grow-up with the idea, that they get what they ask
Gerard Louis: "As a career counsellor, my duty is not only to counsel the
young on how to get a job, but also to teach them what to do when they receive their pay
check, how to
do financial planning and manage their money."
Gerard Louis: "There are lots of temptations in the market, young people are
easily hooked into financial difficulties. No matter how great the career
counselling young people receive is, if they are faced with debts early in life, then their
future career can easily get in trouble."
Gerard Louis said very firmly that: "Because of this, it is very important to
start educating the kids about managing their money when they are young."
For this reason, HELP and Abacus For Money are collaborating on a series of
workshops in financial planning, targeting young people aged 16-20 to start.
Because those young adults are about to start work, this is the best time to
educate them about basic financial planning before they actually enter the work
force, hoping that the knowledge they will gain from those workshops will
help them in life. This kind of program organised by the university can help the
graduate to have a stronger sense of money.
Gerard Louis: "Even if these graduates did not major in finance, they will
hopefully have the basic knowledge in this area."
Carol: "The government of Singapore has a money sense program, which aims at
having colleges and schools to incorporate financial planning in their
And of course, we hope that our government can have a similar program like this
in place soon, to teach kids from a young age about the importance of money.
Compared to children in other countries, Malaysian children are a bit late to
encounter and learn about the value of money. Deputy President of Financial
Planning Association of Malaysia (FPAM) said: "This is our first step, we hope
in the future we'll have more programs structured and introduced at primary
school levels. He said it is better late than never. It's never too late to
Carol: "Parents play an important role in educating their children in the
value of money, because how the kids are brought up determines what sort of
future they will have. Quite often in the past, when the kids were so excited to
tell their parents about what they had learned, the parents were not supportive
enough, and this attitude did not encourage them to learn further about money
Carol Yip believes that parents play an important role in encouraging and being
supportive of their kids' learning experiences. She pointed out that the
majority of parents too often start conversations about money with "in my days ... when I was young ...".
but, parents have to
realise times have changed and so must the way we teach our children about
managing their money so that they can grow up to be financially independent.
She believes the kids are refusing to listen the traditional methods of
learning about money skills from their parents, because they find it too
difficult or complicated and respond better when being taught by professionals.