Financial literacy

New Zealand financial literacy resources among the best in the world

Concern over the lack of financial literacy education in schools has led to the development of several world-class personal finance programs for children in New Zealand.

Both MoneyTime
and Banker High were finalists for Best Non-Financial Services Company at the inaugural Money Inclusion and Awareness Award (MAIA) earlier this week, with MoneyTime runners-up in what the judges considered to be the night’s most hotly contested category. The category winner was MoneyPrep, a Canadian children’s show.

Neil Edmond, CEO of MoneyTime, says he was alarmed to learn that his children hadn’t been taught financial literacy in school. “I just assumed they would be. Money management is such an important skill that affects the outcome of every child’s life.

A former marketing consultant, Edmond began researching financial education programs for children and, finding nothing satisfactory, decided to create his own. His company launched MoneyTime in 2018 and with the program now in nearly half of all 7th and 8th grade schools in New Zealand, they have turned their attention overseas.

“MoneyTime has clearly filled a void for Kiwi teachers, we enrolled 40 schools in the first two weeks. However, over time I have confirmed the intuition that lack of financial literacy among children is a problem global, so in early 2020 we began marketing the program internationally, and MoneyTime is now used in schools and homes across South Africa, Australia, and the United States.

The Singapore-based MAIA Awards were created with the same concern that people don’t learn about money. In the preamble to the presentations, it was noted that at least on the planet are financially illiterate. Examples he gave include American teenagers not knowing the difference between a credit card and a debit card, nearly half of all Indonesians with only a 7-day financial cushion, and people in Spain having their savings in a checking account.

“We do better than that here in New Zealand,” says Edmond, “but there’s a long way to go before financial education is treated as seriously as subjects like literacy and maths in schools. It’s just as important for the outcomes in children’s lives, it really needs to be a separate subject in the curriculum.

Edmond believes that with the quality of the funders, the professionalism of the rewards and the quality of the participants, the MAIAs will become the global benchmark for financial literacy.

“There were some really impressive initiatives, with 150 entries from all over the world. We are delighted to know that we are among the best of them. Second place motivates us to do better next year,” he said.

MoneyTime’s award follows another international award it received recently, for Parenting Program of the Year, Financial Responsibility and Decision Making, presented by the Institute for Financial Literacy.

The award was announced at the 16th Annual Excellence in Financial Education Awards (EIFLE) (www.EIFLewards.org) on April 25, 2022 at the annual Financial Education Conference in the United States. The EIFLE Awards were established in 2007 to recognize the innovation, dedication and commitment of individuals and organizations advancing financial literacy education around the world.

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