Understanding how to manage money is an important life skill. But for many people in our societies there is very little opportunity to develop much, or any, financial aptitude. Caroline Underhill, our Global Marketing Director and Head of CSR, explains why helping people develop financial literacy skills is so important to us.
Last year we chose to focus on financial literacy as one of the core areas of our CSR work. We feel very strongly about improving financial literacy, particularly within communities who have little or no access to financial education. Sadly in these situations a lack of financial skills means that people can frequently fall foul of exploitation and manipulation. As an aside, it’s worth noting that even in developed countries, including the UK, financial education isn’t taught to children in schools. As a result, it’s no surprise that for many people the concept of money, and managing their finances well, can be a daunting or seemingly impossible task.
So improving financial literacy has become something we’re keen to champion. In the past 12 months our work has already seen us involved in two key projects – to provide for migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong enabling them access to financial education courses, and, to support the translation of a financial journal into Bengali to help bring financial education support to the Bengal migrant worker community in Singapore. These steps are helping shape our wider CSR approach, and we hope will make a meaningful difference in these particular communities which are often been overlooked.
As a next step, and to help raise awareness of the importance of financial education, we are sponsoring the Money Awareness and Inclusion Awards. These awards have been established to celebrate and spread awareness of the work being done by individuals, non-profits and businesses to help provide education to improve financial literacy. The awards were created by Michael Gilmore, a respected financial professional, financial literacy activist and author of Happy Ever After: Financial Freedom isn’t a Fairy Tale, and the recently launched Little Book of Zen Money, which share stories and insight about the importance of people having some basic financial education and taking control of their own finances.
Our focus on financial literacy weaves into our wider purpose too which is to help people – our clients, our team and people in our communities – achieve financial freedom. The concept of financial freedom of course can have very individual interpretations – for some it may mean enjoying a particular standard of lifestyle without having to be overly concerned about financial responsibilities. For others it may focus on the ability to adequately provide for themselves and their families, or open up opportunities which might otherwise have been impossible.
We’re very proud to be a sponsor of the MAIA awards in their inaugural year and wish the best of luck to the 40 Finalists for 2022 who all do such incredibly valuable work. The winners will be announced on 31 May 2022 via livestream. Follow the MAIA’s on LinkedIn or sign up here to keep in touch.