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The Australian Government established a National Consumer and Financial Literacy Taskforce in 2004, which recommended the establishment of the Financial Literacy Foundation in 2005. In 2011 ASIC (Australian Securities & Investment Commission) released a National Financial Literacy Strategy (www.financialliteracy.gov.au) — informed by an earlier ASIC research report 'Financial Literacy and Behavioural Change' — to enhance the financial wellbeing of all Australians by improving financial literacy levels. The strategy has four pillars:
In Singapore, the National Institute of Education established the inaugural Financial Literacy Hub for Teachers in 2007 to empower school teachers to infuse financial literacy into core curriculum subjects to embed pedagogically sound activities to engage students in learning. The Singapore government through the Monetary Authority of Singapore funded the setting up of the Institute for Financial Literacy in July 2012. This Institute aims to build core financial capabilities across a broad spectrum of the Singapore population by providing free and unbiased financial education programmes to working adults and their families.
In Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Economic and Development Company, SEDCO in response to the massive need for a program that teaches people how to manage their money more effectively and to change their perception towards money being an infinite resource launched a program that addresses this need in 2012. Through this flagship program called Riyali, 50,000 citizens of Saudi Arabia from different walks of life including college students, high school students, and low-mid income group learn basic financial skills such as budgeting, saving, investment and other vital abilities required to make wise financial decisions in daily life.
The US Treasury established its Office of Financial Education in 2002; and the US Congress established the Financial Literacy and Education Commission under the Financial Literacy and Education Improvement Act in 2003. The Commission published its National Strategy on Financial Literacy in 2006. For all those efforts put in, recent surveys by Institute for Financial Literacy & Council for Economic Education found that 58% of American does not have enough financial skills and know-how to manage their finance & investment properly.
The United States of America is among the worst developed countries in the world when it comes to financial knowledge and literacy of its citizen. Been the No.1 Current Account Deficit in the world with over 18 Trillion Dollars (larger than the size of its economy) speaks of the dire needs of educating Americans with basic financial education and knowledge.
The United Nations have a long history of supporting financial education and promulgating the virtues of financial literacy. The Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations were developed as the foundation for a roadmap and strategy agreed upon by all nations and the world’s leading development institutions. The goals have stimulated extraordinary efforts to bring together governments, NGOs, corporations, foundations, academia and other important players to develop and proceed with a bold agenda on financial literacy.
Financial literacy proponents in the U.N. are moving ahead aggressively in an effort to help prevent financial setbacks for the hundreds of millions of individuals and families in many developed and 3rd world countries that are exposed to greater financial stress by virtue of their lack of financial knowledge and education.
Globalization all over the world in the past 20 years has created many benefits as well as setbacks. One of the biggest issues is wealth inequality which has widened year after year with no exception. High-net-worth individuals (HNWI) and countries manage their finances and investments well, so they continue to be richer and powerful.
The same cannot be said about majority of the 2 billion middle-income class as well as over 3 billion poor people in the world today. Hence, awareness of the importance of financial education is gaining momentum among policy makers in economies the world over.