Education surest way to imbue investment culture in individuals

Portfolio Manager-EcoCapital Investment Management Limited, Elliot Amponsah

A Portfolio Manager at EcoCapital Investment Management Limited, Elliot Amponsah, has advocated for introducing investment education into the educational curriculum – emphasising that it is one of the best ways to inculcate an investment culture among individuals.

According to him, most people tend to appreciate investments better when they get to the working environment; hence the need to begin investment education at the lowest part of the academic ladder through to the tertiary level.

“I think there is a need to up our game from the education side and introduce the culture of investment into the education curriculum. We learn a lot of abstract things in the classroom. But investment is one of the practical things that when we learn and practice, we will really see the fruit come out,” he suggested.

His advocacy comes on the back of findings from KPMG’s 2023 West Africa Banking Industry Customer Experience, indicating that 31 percent of respondents for the study aged 18-25 do not invest at all.

Mr. Amponsah emphasised the need to move a notch higher in making students financially literate by shifting from education on savings to investment in schools – especially at the primary level.

“At the primary level, we have always been taught about savings. So we save the money and use it to purchase items during festive seasons such as Christmas. That is good. I want to believe that a savings culture has been taught over the years, but now there’s a need to move on from savings to investment,” he urged.

While Mr. Amponsah is focusing on investment education in schools, the survey also highlighted some measures the financial institutions can implement in reaching out to young people who do not invest at all, saying: “…. investment education and advice during the onboarding phase holds significant potential, and by forging strategic partnerships and offering timely, targetted investment opportunities, banks stand to benefit in the long run”.

Additionally, he is of the view that beyond what the educational system offers students, the role of parents in getting their wards to appreciate the significance of investment is paramount, and suggested some strategies they can implement along the line.

“Parents must open investment accounts for their children. Afterward, they should encourage them to deposit the money saved in their piggy-banks into their investment accounts. They should also ensure that they hand over the quarterly statement from their investment house to the children, and that will boost their interest in investment,” he said.

He indicated that getting more people to invest not only brings financial stability in their homes but also has a replica effect on the interest rate, which impacts businesses positively.

“When more people practice investment, we invest them in government assets classes that were available prior to the DDEP just to make more money available for government. And when they have access to more money, interest rates tend to go down – benefiting businesses across the board who later produce at a cheaper cost for consumers to purchase more,” he explained.

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