KINGSTON, Jamaica: VM Group President and CEO, Courtney Campbell, has called on community and religious groups to do more to create opportunities that foster financial literacy among those they serve, in an effort to dismantle inequality and uplift the poor.
“The church as a body, and individuals within the church, must become a more consistently effective voice for the championing of financial literacy and for the upliftment of the poor in Jamaica. Financial literacy is the power to make thoughtful decisions for your financial wellbeing, and for the benefit of your loved ones, [by being aware of] core concepts such as how to budget, spend, save, borrow and how to invest and accumulate wealth,” Campbell said.
Campbell, who has been at the helm of the VM Group since 2016, was addressing the Bryce United Community Leaders Banquet & Awards Ceremony, in a Heroes’ Day celebration of outstanding community leaders who have made an impact in areas such as education, agriculture, business, health and security.
He encouraged leaders to find ways to nurture financial literacy by doing things such as engaging experts to address congregants or community groups, sponsoring needy children, helping families prepare for tertiary education and offering tutoring support for children after school and on weekends.
Campbell further urged them to consider opportunities to ensure their household helpers, gardeners and other service employees are registered with the National Insurance Scheme and are making the required contributions as well as guiding families who have lived on unregistered properties on how to secure registered Certificates of Title for their properties.
“Financial literacy empowers communities. It means more empowered business people, which means better run businesses and employees who are able to thrive and empower their own families and communities. Financial literacy means more students being able to achieve tertiary level education and fulfil their boldest ambitions, perhaps even breaking cycles of generational poverty that have plagued their families,” he said.
He continued: “Financial literacy means more young people owning their homes early – to start living their dreams while young, defying the shackling belief that financial wellbeing is only to be attained later in life. Financial literacy means more people being able to retire comfortably and to fully live their golden years without the threat of poverty looming constantly. Financial literacy means less stress in our lives and happier individuals and families.”
Campbell said the VM Group has declared financial education as its key differentiator, in a deliberate push to champion the empowerment of the Jamaican people, noting that “we provide financial education because we care and we understand the vital role that financial literacy plays in building stronger communities”.
He highlighted that the Group promotes financial literacy through a number of channels, including monthly digital newsletters; podcasts and advertorials; as well as through the annual post-budget forum, to explain the national Budget each year and what the implications are for the average Jamaican’s daily life. Quarterly Investor Briefings are also hosted by VM Wealth Management and the ‘Chatting with Courtney’ video series, hosted quarterly by Campbell engages leaders across the VM Group on a variety of subjects.
“Instilling financial literacy should start early. Each of us has the responsibility to strengthen the weak, including helping those who don’t know, to have the right information for their financial wellbeing,” Campbell noted.