World Investor Week 2022

The Birth Of The Institute For Financial Literacy (IFL) And Its Dedication To Promoting Personal Finance Education

On 16 October 2003 then DPM and Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, announced the launch of a national financial education program called MoneySense, to bring initiatives in financial education for “a long-term, sustainable program” to enhance the basic financial literacy of Singaporeans. IFL was formed later in 2012 as the outreach arm of MoneySense, to conduct free and unbiased financial literacy training and workshops at companies and organizations.

The Collaborative Journey: MoneySense And Singapore Polytechnic’s Partnership Leading To IFL’s Establishment

Money Sense Campaign FHC

“Leveraging on Singapore Polytechnic’s (SP) Professional & Adult Continuing Education (PACE) Academy for their experience and outreach to Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) and on SP Business School for its domain knowledge and expertise, SP responded to MoneySense’s invitation to submit a proposal to set up IFL in 2011, which was accepted and led IFL to where we are today.”

Mastering The Four Pillars

“Our approach covers these 4 aspects – or vertical pillars. Horizontally across these 4 pillars we deliver content and training on how these 4 core aspects impact a person over his/her entire life stage – from youth and early working years, to starting a family/buying first home, imparting good financial habits for their children and into pre-retirement/retirement planning.”

Inclusive Learning

“Our workshops and talks are free and anyone from youth and above who are able to follow the trainings (usually in English but we do have some Mandarin modules) are very welcome. We deliver our sessions both virtually as well as in person. We also have content via our electronic learning management system called FinLearn@Academy – – for self-directed learning. This year we also launched our webinar workshop series on Facebook Live.”

Adapting To Unprecedented Challenges

“The pandemic closed off the option for physical face-to-face training and many organizations which were doing this struggled to continue providing training for their staff. We also could not provide public physical sessions. In time as we saw more people working from home and getting more adept to engaging via various digital platforms, for different purposes, we decided to pivot our content and training using similar digital platforms for delivery.

This required modifications to content such as how activities are done during a typical financial literacy programme (e.g., utilizing Kahoot! and Mentimeter), getting trainers to be able to host and manage virtual training while using various edu-tech applications. Eventually, over time and with the support of our pool of dedicated trainers and determined organizational partners we were able to offer all our sessions today both in person as well as over commonly used digital platforms.”

Empowering Confidence: IFL’s Unbiased Approach To Boosting Financial Planning Skills

“All our training is free and unbiased. They know we are not driven directly or indirectly by any commercial agenda, so the information provided is both objective and impartial. This reputation has enabled Singaporeans over the years to trust in IFL’s agenda which in turn enables Singaporeans to have confidence in relying on our training and recommendations in managing their own financial planning needs.”

Empowering Everyday Life: IFL’s Tailored Approach To Financial Education

“We develop our content from the outset by making the information not only as simple as possible but also intuitive. Additionally, examples and activities/case studies are contextualized to the daily experiences and concerns of Singaporeans, be it from youth, working adults, couples, young families with kids, or pre-retirees.

For instance, during a pandemic, we focused on building resilience to ride out financial issues around loss of job/lowered income due to the pandemic, concerns on managing debt and insurance premiums due to job losses, and also assistance from govt agencies. Another great example is our popular Money Sense for Your Child series – wherein we provide age-appropriate resources and ideas to help parents inculcate various core principles of money sense and seed good money management habits for their children.”

Empowering Financial Independence: IFL’s Ongoing Goals and Future Endeavors

“DPM Lee said (when launching MoneySense in 2003) that financial literacy would be more critical in future – “In the new and (increasingly in next decade) changing environment, Singaporeans need to become more self-reliant in their financial affairs. They must acquire the knowledge and skills to manage their day-to-day finances, make prudent investments and plan for their longer-term needs. They must also be equipped to exercise their rights as consumers, so that financial institutions will treat them fairly, or else lose customers. This makes it important to educate Singaporeans to be knowledgeable in financial affairs”.

This is something that IFL is always working towards, to support the acquisition of such knowledge and skills, and play a pivotal role in this from a trusted, public training angle, to complement the commercial efforts of the wider finance industry.”

Enhancing Financial Well-being: Introducing IFL’s Financial Health Clinic (FHC) Program

Financial Health Clinic (FHC) Program

“Apart from our core training mission cited above, we would like to highlight our recently launched community self-help called Financial Health Clinic (FHC) program. This community driven project involves volunteers (our trainers and licensed financial advisors) giving their time pro-bono to help fellow citizens and residents who have questions on their financial planning and money management issues, to close their knowledge gap in order to boost their confidence towards taking right decisions for their financial well-being and improve preparedness for the future. It is both complementary and confidential, and extremely beneficial to all. Do sign up with us for your Financial Health Clinic!”

The Path To Financial Mastery: IFL’s Advice For Aspiring Individuals Seeking Financial Literacy

OECD’s International Network on Financial Education (INFE) – defines financial literacy as: ‘a combination of awareness, knowledge, skill, attitude and behaviour necessary to make sound financial decisions and ultimately achieve individual financial wellbeing.’

Therefore, to achieve mastery of financial literacy requires someone to have willingness as well as desire to seek out and develop this very combination. This starts by seeking and participating in training such as those offered by IFL. 

Visit the Institute for Financial Literacy’s website here.

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