It has been a known fact that Filipinos are lagging behind many Asian countries with regard to financial literacy. Facts and figures such as savings, insurance, investments and other data will show how far we are behind countries like Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, etc. Previous studies also points out that Filipinos do not prepare for retirement and are not keen on investing their money properly.
That was then, this is now.
Global financial services conglomerate Citi runs an annual survey called the “Fin-Q Survey”. What is this survey about? According to Citi, the ‘financial quotient’ is a measure of the financial well being of respondents – the respondents were all over 18 years old and either owning a bank account or holding a credit card.
Previous surveys have showed the Philippines below the passing mark for the region and well below some ASEAN members. But in 2011, the results of Citi’s Fin-Q Survey shows that things have improved for the Filipinos. The survey has a ‘passing’ score of 50 and the Philippines was able to register an all-time high of 52.6 – the first time we breached the 50 mark. While 50 is hardly a hurdle we should be happy about, I am ecstatic that our numbers are indeed improving. The survey is a sampling of 500 individuals.
Sanjiv Vohra, Citi’s country officer for the Philippines said “the survey numbers in the Philippines are indeed very encouraging. The results show that Filipinos are becoming more determined to take charge of their finances and are responsible users of credit.” Further, Vohra also said “Filipinos are also looking at investments in the form of cash, real estate and insurance to ensure a comfortable retirement.”
Some interesting figures from the 2011 Fin-Q Survey of Citi for the Philippines:
1) Retirement savings is up by 11% and 42% of the respondents claims they save money every payday.
2) 60% of respondents said they paid their credit card outstanding balances in full every month.
3) 70% of the respondents said they have used the internet or their mobile transactions while 52% of them prefers electronic transactions over personal visits to their branch – the highest among all the countries surveyed.
4) Over 60% of the respondents felt they were in a better financial position in 2011 as compared to 2010.
5) 80% of the respondents are more optimistic about their financial standing in the future.
The average score of the region covered by Citi’s Fin-Q Survey was at 54.5 percent, few points up from the previous year’s 53.2 percent score. The countries that were covered by Citi’s 2011 Fin-Q Survey were Philippines, Australia, India, Indonesia, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.
Sanjiv Vohra says that the improvement in the Filipino’s score (and other Asia-Pacific Countries) in financial quotient (or literacy) is a result of efforts to promote financial literacy.
While I am ecstatic that we are showing improvements, we must aim at a much higher rate – maybe 60-70% if we are to really experience sustainable prosperity. Further, a bigger challenge is to bring financial literacy to the masses and we need to do this as quickly as we can. How? We need more dedicated advocates and we need to be more passionate in championing this cause.
A much higher financial quotient for the Pinoy? Yes! We will get there… I believe we will get there. Stewardship and education is all we need.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. - Psalm 33:12, NIV