The strength and firmness of a foundation for a building, marriage, education, business and health of individuals or companies are very vital for their success and longevity. The more knowledgeable you are, the better you are equipped to manage your money to create wealth.
Therefore, reducing poverty in families, ethnic groups and nations will depend on the kind of knowledge and wisdom that will be instilled in the future leaders of that society. Money management, entrepreneurship and sound education are the keys to poverty reduction in every society, not corruption nor magic. Savings and investments must start early in the schools if we want to build a nation of millionaires and billionaires. Entrepreneurship is a great asset that must be instilled in our children and when they grow up, they will not depart from it. However, it has been relegated to the background of our basic education for long. I was enthused when l read that it may be included in a new curriculum of the basic schools.
In the famous programme Springboard, Rev. Albert Ocran always emphasizes the teaching of entrepreneurship from the Kindergarten level in our schools, which is a laudable idea. I wish to add that financial education also be taught as a core subject from Primary schools up to the university level.
In our Ghanaian culture, there are some foods and activities that run side by side. The few examples include roasted plantain with groundnuts as well as banku with tilapia. Similarly, teachers and students are most of the time together. The driver and driver’s mate work together to take their passengers to their respective destinations. God also created a helpmate for Adam to abode together.
In the like manner, the Entrepreneurship and Financial education must go together to equip our children for a better future. Many companies have collapsed and some investors have run into bad debts due to lack of financial education.
Many financial experts and money management coaches have different definitions for this subject. The simplest definition is the skill and the ability to make, manage, grow (multiply) one’s money. It is a knowledge that must be acquired, to be practice over and over again.
In his book, 50 prosperity classics, Tom Butler- Bowdon said, the authors of One Minute Millionaire clarify,“I make millions, I save Millions, I invest millions, I give millions away”.
Students need to be taught how to earn money. In that vein, it will be difficult for them to find shortcuts to make money; they would understand that money must be earned through hard work and full commitment to one’s vision. When money-making is not taught in schools, students would get it wrong from their peers that making money comes by good luck and corruption which will create the spirit of laziness among them.
The second is money management, which involves savings, spending, fencing, giving to the needy, etc. It must be clear that, about 50%, 60 % or 70% of the earned income is to meet essential needs, like food, accommodation, transportation, utility bills and others. Savings and investment must be done first before spending. It must be explained that earned money has different parts. If taught correctly, students would think to reverse the belief that one must spend before investing the rest, as many people think and know.
In this regard, the percentage of one’s money to save, percentage to invest, percentage to give to charity and the rest for spending shall be determined by individuals after money management coaching, which will depend on one’s earnings. Details of this can be part of the syllabus in the country.
The third has to do with multiplication of the earned money. Every good seed multiplies when sown on fertile ground under the right conditions; the same applies to money. One seed of maize can be multiplied within a matter of years to feed a whole community. Money, if invested for a considerable period, also multiplies just like the talent receivers in the Bible. About 20 to 30 percent of all regular or irregular earnings can be invested to create wealth.
It must be understood that some investors saved and invested for 20, 30, 40 or 50 years to become millionaires and billionaires. When well explained to students, they will cultivate the habit of savings and investments early in life that will make them financially free when they grow. Children have no financial commitments and they can invest about 70 percent of all gifts they receive.
Wealth creation is like building skyscrapers, laying a block at a time with mixed cement, sand and water in between. With time the edifice will be appreciated by society.
Children like toys, football, tricycles, games and others things. When they get the understanding that savings and investments will buy these items for them, they would practice it. Buying assets like cars, houses, equipment, factories, etc. can be done by consistent savings and investment for a long period of time.
When children learn to understand entrepreneurship and financial education, the tendency of keeping money under the pillow at home will reduce, especially when compounding interest and charts are added to the subject.
Budgeting is another important tool in financial education. It will help them spend less than what they earn, and be masters of their money as well. Students can be taught the importance of having multiple accounts, such as emergency account, investment accounts, business supporting accounts and many more; these will build a solid money management foundation for them.
Retirement will one day happen since aging is there for us all. Students need to understand that planning and preparation for one’s retirement is key and should be considered over instant gratification. Many retired persons are struggling to make ends meet. Some depend on their SSNIT only, which is not enough. Most retirees die before their time. When the drum of planning and preparing for the future is repeatedly beaten to them, they will prepare well for retirement.
Hard work, smart working, studying hard, making lots of money, attending the best schools and universities in the world ALONE will not give financial freedom or make us millionaires, but money management will.
As a nation, we believe in God and therefore pray to him and worship Him often. Our children need to understand that prayer, fasting, all nights’ prayers, being good to people, paying tithes, reading the Bible every day along with other good books ALONE will not make them rich or wealthy, but entrepreneurship and financial education will.
A nation with money management in their syllabus from primary to the university level will grow millionaires, billionaires, trillionaires and wealth creators and will reduce poverty.
I pray that our children will have a better future and prosperity than us.
(A preacher, author, environmentalist and money management coach)