I was 18 years old when compounding interest and all the genius behind it became clear during my first week of university, but better late than never!
As someone passionate about business and studying Commerce I was instantly fascinated with my course. In one semester I’d learnt more about money than I had in my 13 years of school. If only I had received some form of financial literacy during my schools years, so I’d have something to take away besides algebra and calculus. But don’t get me wrong maths is great.
When the Banqer team presented me with the task of writing a blog, I decided to do a bit of research. I found it’s estimated that only 33% of adults worldwide are financially literate according to the S&P Global FinLit Survey, which is insane. Then I looked at New Zealand and saw that we’re 11th in the world out of 148 countries which isn’t too shabby. But, then I saw the stats and that only 61% of New Zealanders surveyed could pass a financial literacy test. I’m sure you can agree this isn’t ideal.
If you think about it, it’s not hard to understand how people can fall into situations where a lack of understanding of money could result in financial trouble that is difficult to recover from.
It then occurred to me that the lack of financial literacy throughout my years of school was somewhat typical. If you think about it, it’s not hard to understand how people can fall into situations where a lack of understanding of money could result in financial trouble that is difficult to recover from. The best way to help Kiwi kids avoid future financial trouble is making being money-wise second nature for the kids of today providing a base of financial knowledge that will help them unlock their potential. Luckily for many kids today, Banqer has made that possible.
Even through 5 years of high school, I feel I didn’t receive a sufficient amount of education around financial literacy. As someone who did NCEA, it would’ve been great if NCEA stopped for a second and thought that personal finance might be a useful life skill to encourage schools to assess. I’m just so grateful that studying Commerce has allowed me to fill in the gaps. When talking to friends who study Health Science, they couldn’t explain to me what a bond is, or what impact different compounding periods have on the growth of the value of an investment for example. It just makes you think what if they had the opportunity to have a tool like Banqer in their crucial foundation years, and how sound their financial knowledge would be without any intention of going into a financial field.
When I finally realised how silly I was for not thinking about simple things like KiwiSaver and investing in portfolios for the long-term It instantly changed my mindset from focusing on short-term gains and focusing on my future. “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago,” is a great quote from Warren Buffett that helps characterise my thoughts.
Eventually when the Banqer kids of today get to adulthood, things like budgeting for your weekly shop, saving for a house, and dealing with rent won’t be the first time they’ve had to tackle the idea of the task. All because they’ve been able to learn about the consequences of debt and the rewards that credit enables within a safe learning environment without any physical consequences, teaching a crucial lesson of being responsible with money that is better to understand at a young age than learn the hard way as a young adult. Encouraging kids to be proactive with their money instead of just keeping it in a piggy bank where no value can be gained.
As a young adult seeing what the Banqer team have been doing in schools is simply inspiring. They’re making a difference for the future of New Zealand. Whenever I explain to someone what Banqer does for schools, there’s a common theme of ‘If only we had that at school’ and ‘I wish I had that knowledge when I was growing up’, and that’s exactly what I thought when I first heard about Banqer.