ARKIB : 12/05/2010
By Rohami Shafie
A special report by Utusan Malaysia on the borrowing trend among the young in the country is at the right time. According to statistics issued by the Credit Counseling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK), the trend should be given attention by everybody.
The increasing trend in the AKPK financial management programme (PPK) since 2007 proves that Malaysians, especially the young, should be given high awareness on proper financial management, otherwise the will be problems.
We have heard of marriage breaking up because of financial problems.
We have also heard of ah long threatening the life of the borrowers and those of their families . We will also not forget the case of three borrowers who were hand-cuffed and confined by ah long last year. Cases like this will always happen in our society is there is no awareness on proper financial management.
Those in the 30-40 age group should be financially independent, but unfortunately , they form the most number of PPK AKPK clients.
Most interesting, those in the single category make up most of the PPK AKPK clients compared with those who are married, when logically, the singles should be having less financial problems because they have less financial commitments.
In terms of gender, young men are more financially problematic than women.
Among the factor is the uncontrolled use of credit cards. It is generally known, debts can lead a person to bankruptcy.
Not only individuals can have this problem of being declared a bankrupt, but also a country if it does manage its finances well. This is proven in then case of Iceland and Greece .
The question here is how a person can be financially independent? None other than through financial education. Therefore, a suggestion by AKPK chief executive officer Mohamed Akwal Sultan for the Islamic Development Department Malaysia (Jakim) and the Islamic Religious Department in the states to include a slot on financial management in marriage courses for potential brides and bridegrooms should be considered seriously.
We often talk about education which are more academic-oriented. If possible, we want our children to be an all rounder, but it is seldom that we discuss financial education with students or children, when it should be the most important thing to practiced when they enter the employment market.
Education should begin at a young age. Likewise, education and understanding on finance must be taught when they are still at a young age. How far has that being made a culture in our society.
This writer always ask university students what they would do after getting their scholarship or loan payments. Some say they used the money to buy things that are not connected at all with their studies.
What is weird, when told to buy text books, it is difficult to get them to use their money, the easiest way to safe the money is to photostat them because it is cheap, but there are also under-graduates who are good at managing their finances that they can keep their money for future investments. It is those from this group who will not have problems when they start work.
Therefore, the writer wants to make a suggestion for financial education be taught at a young age. If possible, financial management be made a core subject at school.
The young generation should be taught to make them future computer literate so that they will not be cheated later on. Financial education is also important to teach the young generation on how to save and spend wisely.
They should also be taught to be responsible to pay their loans and not to borrow if they have the financial resources.
Emulate that of a rich man in the world, Carlos Slim, who learned about financial management when his father gave him a savings book to manage their income and expenses. He was taught how to be financially independent at a young age and now he has achieved what everybody hopes to be.
The writer is Senior Lecturer, Accounts and Finance,College of Business , Universiti Utara Malaysia