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Teaching kids to be savvy with money
PRUDENTIAL Singapore's commitment to corporate social responsibility initiatives are driven in part by the strong interest its employees and financial consultants have expressed in making a difference to society.
Speaking to The Business Times, Yeoh El Lynn, head, community investment at Prudential Singapore shared: "As one of Singapore's oldest life insurers, we believe it is our responsibility to give back and to strengthen the fabric of our society."
The insurer has done so by relying on its expertise as a financial institution to involve its volunteers in Cha-Ching, a financial literacy programme for children (aged between seven and 12 years). The programme was launched by Prudential's regional community investment arm - Prudence Foundation - in 2011.
Such a move falls in line with the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre's (NVPC) four "I"s framework for corporate giving - Investment, Integration, Institutionalisation and Impact. This initiative covers "Integration", or how well "giving" fits in with business functions and interests.
When developing Cha-Ching, Prudence Foundation used findings from a study on financial literacy conducted by Prudential in 2011 to address the growing need for children to gain money management skills.
The study showed that while 95 per cent of parents knew the importance of having their children learn money management skills, only 13 per cent believed their children possessed them.
With these findings, Prudence Foundation teamed up with Cartoon Network in 2011 to drive home the message of financial responsibility using fun visual imagery through a series of three-minute music videos.
In 2016, Prudential Singapore rolled out a curriculum with non-profit Junior Achievement (JA), to help primary school children learn basic money management - earning, spending, saving, donating.
Prudential volunteers give of their time to cover the curriculum in schools and community centres. "Volunteers go through a structured two-hour training session with JA Singapore, after which they pair up to teach school children," Ms Yeoh said.
In 2017, the curriculum reached more than 1,000 children across nine schools and community centres in Singapore. The insurer hopes to reach more than 3,000 students here by the end of the year, Ms Yeoh explained.
Nigel Chan, a management associate at Prudential Singapore, said: "I was inspired to volunteer with the Prudential Cha-Ching programme so that I could help children learn skills that would benefit them as they grew older."
Financial responsibility should be taught when one is young so good money management habits can be formed from an early age."
At a regional level, Prudence Foundation also supports communities in South-east Asia in a number of other areas including disaster preparedness and emergency relief. Also, Prudential offices in each market contribute in developing market-specific programmes relevant to each community.
Such regional initiatives led by the foundation include Safe Steps in 2014 and Safe Schools in 2013. Safe Steps comprise a series of public service announcements that aim to raise awareness and provide educational information on life-threatening issues.
Meanwhile, Safe Schools is focused on making students, teachers and the local community more resilient to natural disasters.
Since its inception, over 82,000 students and over 33,000 teachers and community members have participated in Safe Schools in five South-east Asian markets that include Thailand and Indonesia.