Our Readers' Opinions
October 6, 2015
Financial Information Month – October 2015

So, here we are at the start of October 2015. This year is quickly coming to an end. There is a lot happening. Of course it’s the month in which we in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) celebrate Independence. It is also the month of remembering the breast cancer fight. But for us at the financial institutions, it’s also the month for reminding our customers and friends about financial information. In fact, it’s a month of financial information.{{more}}

Put another way it’s Financial Information Month (FIM)! It’s a time for sharpening your understanding of money matters. We, at the financial institutions, such as the banks, the credit unions, the insurance services, and the financial regulators, offer tips about financial management, and that means giving you insight into planning your financial present and future. In a formal way, Financial Information Month is a regional financial education campaign executed in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) since 2002. It is done through the collaborative efforts of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, ECCU member governments, financial and academic institutions, the media, other private and public sector institutions and community based groups. It aims to stimulate financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial thought and action.

Let me go back to the start of the article for a moment. I talked about independence. Well, think about it; independence for each of us is also being able to organize our personal finances so that we do not depend on others. And I talked about breast cancer. Any illness can create problems of money to pay for treatment. However, if we plan for various possible occurrences, we can minimize the impact of any event, including an illness, on our finances.

Thus FIM. A month to reflect on how we are organizing our money and help us in planning for the events known and unknown that are likely to happen. Having a saving (of any amount) is the first step in financial management. In fact one of our institutions says, “Save until it hurts …” Most purchase plans ask for an “amount down”, (a first payment or some such term). Well, you have to save to have that amount “to put down”. Saving shows that you can meet the payment on a credit purchase. It also shows you can make the repayment on a loan. Most importantly it shows “wise financial thinking”.

Let’s look at the theme: LEAD – Learn, Empower, Achieve, Develop – is designed to inspire and challenge all citizens to LEAD in order to effect the change needed to spur financial, entrepreneurial, business and economic success at the personal and institutional levels and in so doing transform our lives and the region’s economy in a positive way. The logo and the FIM theme song and video were launched during a media briefing on Thursday, 13 August 2015. The theme song was written and composed by soca artiste Orande “Bomani” Charles of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

So, what are the activities being organized for FIM this year? There are several and all will be advertised in due course. But for this article I’ll highlight some of them.

At the REGIONAL level:

* 8 October 2015 – ECCU Business Symposium and Innovation Forum The symposium, will run from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m., targeting CEOs, business executives, senior managers, board directors, business owners, entrepreneurs and academics. It will be at the ECCB Headquarters with video-conference connections to the other ECCU countries.

* 13 October 2015 – ECCU Train the Trainers Workshop for Teachers – Improving Interpersonal Communications To Enable You to Become a More Successful Leader

* 22 October – ECCU Train the Trainers Workshop for Financial Practitioners – Improving Interpersonal Communications To Enable You to Become a More Successful Leader

* 17 November – ECCU Train the Trainers Workshop for Financial Practioners – Risk Management

* 19 November – ECCU Youth LEAD Conference

At the NATIONAL level:

* 4 October 2015 – FIM Church Outreach at Faith Temple, New Montrose

– “Tips on saving for the rainy day.”

* 4 October 2015 – Community Financial Advice Workshop session for NOBA: “Learning National Insurance Services”.

* 12 October – Radio Discussion on Police ‘On the Beat’ programme on the topic of Savings and Budgeting.

* 18 October – Radio Discussion on NBC Radio Views and Issues

* 22 October 2015 -Financial Fair in the Square

* 30 October – Lead and Learn – Mini Educational Verandah at the ECCB Agency Office – Students and the public would be given insights on the work and functions of the ECCB and partnering institutions; a showcase of educational materials from the ECCB and partnering institutions.

* 31 October 2015 – Walkathon: Calliaqua -Choppins – Harmony Hall -Prospect – Calliaqua.

* Weekly newspaper articles on various topics related to financial management.

Also at the NATIONAL level, there will be a number of school visits during the month of October to share messages with our students and so help the youth of our nation grow into being better managers of their money.

Prepared by: Anthony Theobalds

Ministry of Culture

Member of FIM Planning Committee