THE introduction of hire-purchase is one of the biggest curses that has befallen us, says seasoned hotelier Radike Qereqeretabua.
He made the comment as he highlighted the issue of indigenous Fijians' participation in the capital markets considering their disposable income today, which one had to have to be able to participate in the capital markets.
"By this, I mean it is making it easy for us to acquire wants, not needs, wants that we cannot afford but acquire at exorbitant repayment interests, and thus piling up on our liabilities," Mr Qereqeretabua said.
"This makes us easy prey for the money lending sharks, keeping some indigenous Fijians in debt for life," he told practitioners at the recent Reserve Bank of Fiji Capital Markets Development Workshop.
"I believe that we should be taught that wealth is not how much income we get but how much money we save, and for what length of time."
Mr Qereqeretabua said it was also common to see that when one went up the corporate ladder and got a higher salary, one tended to go for a bigger car and a bigger house - "all with borrowed money, rather than investing the new income in assets that earns dollars".
"There is a saying which goes like this - money not saved is money soon gone," he added.
Mr Qereqeretabua said there was also a lack of knowledge on financial principles like assets and liabilities.
"The understanding of these terms, as you know, is the basis of financial literacy which most of us lack. Once we grasp this, you can then proceed to teach us how to accumulate assets, which is real wealth," he said.
Mr Qereqeretabua also stressed the need for parents to be involved in preaching the gospel of savings to their children.
Highlighting one of his favourite best sellers, he said bad financial advice was risky "and most bad advice is handed out at home".
"Not because of what is said, but because of what is done. Children learn by example more than words," he said.