An SA-based broker has said that she is “concerned” with the level of financial literacy in Australia and has called for an increased focus on financial education in schools.
Speaking on The Adviser’s Elite Broker podcast, Rise High Financial Solutions director and broker Marissa Schulze said that improved financial education was needed as “there are a lot of adults out there that really lack the basic financial literacy that they need to help to make the basic decisions that we need to make every day with money”.
Ms Schulze said: “It does concern me… I think that financial literacy needs to be increased in Australia… and I think that it’s obviously a big challenge to tackle.”
According to the OECD, around a fifth of Australian 15-year-olds don’t have a basic level of financial literacy, while only 15 per cent have a high level of proficiency (i.e., they can understand and analyse complex financial products and solve “non-routine financial problems”). It also said that Australia’s household debt is among the world’s highest, with Australians owing more than $32 billion on credit cards alone.
Ms Schulze continued: “I do believe that there is an element of financial literacy in the [school] syllabus, but I also I believe that it’s very difficult for teachers to teach the sort of financial literacy skills that we teach, because they don’t really work in finance or really understand finance. And often, they may not necessarily be that good at managing money themselves.
“So, I think that the financial literacy component in the syllabus is not enough, and I believe that we need to do more in schools to give children financial literacy education.”
Ms Schulze told The Adviser that she believes all students should finish school “understanding what a credit card means, understanding what a credit contract means… what superannuation is, they should have a really good understanding of how to manage their money in terms of saving and budgeting, and understanding the difference between needs and wants, and also understanding the consequences that if they don’t manage their money well, how that will impact them later in life”.
The SA-based broker has therefore launched her own financial literacy program, Rise High Rookies, which goes into schools to teach children about managing money and what finance means.
Ms Schulze explained: “Through Rise High Rookies, we’re able to volunteer our time to going to schools and spend time with the students and increase their financial literacy and increase their understanding of money and decisions that they’re going have to make when they start bringing in their own money and making their own money.
“It’s been a lot of fun. It is a volunteer program that we do run, and I think it’s been a really fantastic initiative and we’re planning on growing it every year and continuing our service in that area.”
The broker and director concluded: “Our business model has always focused around education, and since day one, it’s always been about educating the clients… keeping them for life and making sure we can give them the information, the resources, the education that they need to take the steps that they want to take in their lives. So, that’s a really important underlying element of the service that we provide. It’s all about education.”
Find out more about Marissa Schulze’s Rise High Rookies program and how she got started in broking in her episode of The Adviser’s Elite Broker podcast.
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