Report: Program boosts savings culture in Fiji

AN independent review of a financial education program in Fiji has found that participants are saving more and better able to withstand financial shocks.

The impact report for ANZ Bank’s MoneyMinded financial education program was launched in Suva yesterday which highlighted key impacts of the program’s efficacy.

The report was prepared by the University of the South Pacific which interviewed people who had participated in the ANZ MoneyMinded financial education program in Fiji.

The findings were based from a survey questionnaire administered to participants a few months after they had attended the MoneyMinded adult financial education program conducted by staff of ANZ Fiji.

The survey questionnaire was modified for local conditions, specifically in terms of education levels, income brackets and financial products.

With more than 7000 Fijians participated in the ANZ MoneyMinded program since it was launched in Fiji in 2011, the impact report revealed that 64 per cent of participants were now saving $50 a week or $2600 a year.

This compared with the 36 per cent that were unable to save anything before completing the program.

Participants were less vulnerable to financial shocks compared with 83 per cent have money to cover sudden loss of income compared with 40 per cent before the program.

According to the report, all respondents now believe their personal financial management affects their future. This belief is substantiated by their establishment of financial goals for the next 12 months and beyond.

It also found that participants of MoneyMinded had a greater capacity to make money last with only 13 per cent frequently running short of money before their next pay day.

In comparison, 80 per cent of respondents are more likely than not to have money left over by the next pay day.

In launching the report, ANZ Fiji country head Saud Minam said the impact report indicated that the program was working and making a real difference to people’s lives.

“The report found 91 per cent of participants feel more satisfied with life, less stressed about the future (86 per cent), better able to provide for their families (97 per cent) and more confident generally,” he said.

Mr Minam said the 90 per cent of participants were also paying their bills on time; 70 per cent saving up rather than buying things on credit and only 10 per cent are making impulse buys.

The report also highlighted that 87 per cent now have a good understanding of the different financial services available to them, with 43 per cent changing to bank accounts that better suit their needs.

Mr Minam however reiterated with the key findings, they remained committed towards strengthening MoneyMinded throughout the country.

“We are delighted to receive such a great ‘report card’ for MoneyMinded and will continue to invest so that more people in Fiji are able to benefit from the program,” he said.

MoneyMinded is a comprehensive suite of financial education resources designed by ANZ to assist adults in building their money management skills, knowledge and confidence. The program includes activities and guides for facilitators as well as teaching tools to support the education of participants. It is delivered by community educators and can also be used by financial counsellors.

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