Safe & Smart Money Advice for Students
Moneylife Foundation conducted a financial literacy seminar for 250 students of Vaze College in Mulund, Mumbai
There is little in college education that can prepare you for the intricacies and realities of managing your money. Before college students go out to get a job and earn their first salary, it is important for them to have a good understanding of what it takes to protect their money and invest smartly in a manner that would allow them to build long-term wealth.

Moneylife Foundation conducted a special programme for students—“Be Safe and Smart with Your Money” in partnership with Vaze College, Mumbai, for over 250 students. The first session by Sucheta Dalal was on how to avoid costly financial mistakes, while Debashis Basu explained to the students how regular saving, started early in life, can help build long-term wealth through the power of compounding. 
Ms Dalal took the audience through the ways in which confidence-tricksters use social media to cheat people and how social media and email have become the happy hunting ground for a variety of fraudsters. She explained some of the most common scams that cheat people of billions of dollars, worldwide. These include lottery scams, job scams, the Nigerian scams, advance-fee scams—all of which have infinite permutations and variations. She then explained chain money schemes or pyramid schemes and how they lure people with the promise of quick high returns to build an unsustainable pyramid. 
In the second session, Mr Basu explained how the principle of compounding allows regular savings to translate into large corpus. He stressed the importance of starting early; the time lost initially cannot be made up by saving more later. Mr Basu also said that it is important to save in a few, safe financial products that will offer high, inflation-beating returns over the long term. 

Mr Basu said that those who can ‘delay gratification’ or spending, by saving more in the earlier years, are not only wealthier, but also do better in life. He explained this by narrating the ‘Marshmallow experiment’ on four-year-olds. A bunch of kids was given a marshmallow each and asked not to eat it for 15 minutes. The one-third, who successfully controlled temptation, were tracked over the decades and were found to have done much better in life than the rest. 
Where does one invest? Mr Basu explained the need to keep it simple. While not going into details of various investment products available, he gave a few suggestions. As college students have time on their side, he advised them to invest in equity mutual funds and stocks with an investment horizon of 15 years or more. 


5 Kinds of Financial Illiteracy
Smart definitions by RBI’s Deputy Governor SS Mundra, but we are struggling for solutions
Financial literacy—and how to tackle it—remains a major concern for regulators in India. The challenge is to get people to understand the many money-traps before they lose a chunk of their savings. Our efforts through Moneylife Foundation show that this easier said than done. At a speech at Pune in June, SS Mundra, deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), had an interestingly upbeat take on how to achieve financial literacy. He calls it the ‘Possible Trinity’ (as opposed to the macro-economic concept of the Impossible Trinity—stable foreign exchange rate, free capital movement and independent monetary policy). 
He defines Possible Trinity as financial inclusion, financial literacy and consumer protection and goes on to divide financial illiterates into five types:
  1. The Wise Illiterates: These are the guys who fall for ponzi schemes, exotic derivatives and exchange scams and include individuals as well as corporates. Mr Mundra says that this class has the resources at its command and understands the risks, but still falls into traps with ‘unnerving regularity’. 
  2. Greed-driven Illiterates: These are also educated people who understand risks. But, in their case, greed overpowers reason. This is the type that falls for lottery scams and Nigerian scams as well as emotional traps on social media. 
  3. Information-deprived Illiterates: This includes the rapidly growing middle-class. They may be educated but are not financially literate enough to access information that is easily available from financial product companies. 
  4. Illiterate Illiterates: This consists of 300 million people who are truly illiterate and are part of the financial inclusion effort of banks. 
  5. Kindergarten Illiterates: These are young students who, Mr Mundra thinks, are an important segment that need to be part of any financial literacy drive. 
And, finally, Mr Mundra himself is in a dilemma about how to classify the important segment of ‘housewives’ who may also fit into other definitions but are a key target because of their potential to influence households and children. 
Mr Mundra then goes into a discussion on how to reach out to each of these target groups and the various initiatives of the government, its many committees, of the banks and RBI. Unfortunately, this is where the speech is weak. All efforts born out of a government fiat are bound to be perfunctory and will have limited impact. Over the past five years, Moneylife Foundation has conducted 250 seminars and programmes that have tried to reach out to the first three segments identified by Mr Mundra. We have barely scratched the surface. The need of the hour is empathy and direct communication, rather than check-box programmes that banks and financial intermediaries are compelled to conduct due to government fiats but yield no results.



Ravindra Joshi

1 year ago

There is another class of Illiterates.

That is: Illiterates who believe they are Literate and liberally dish out financial advice to all and sundry, asked and unasked.


1 year ago

money manipulation is the art and understanding it is very difficult one does misconceive and face to ENTIRE industry.what did by UNITECH/DLF but small builder to u only decide this what kind of INVESTORS.


1 year ago

Looking at from an altogether different perspective: So long as 'thrift' ,- especially integrity and honesty, fair -play/means -are continued to be viewed as sworn enemies in the passionate game of moneymaking, remains a forgotten or blatantly ignored concept, or greed, or over greed or overwhelming greed, verging on the trait of 'speculation' is allowed impudently or otherwise to rule the roast (the thinking behind,'risk taking' and its inevitable consequences harming the societal welfare , in its profound / ideal sense have to be taken for granted; not be wished away. On that premise,any such attempt, howsoever meaningful it were otherwise,-
a) to venture and classify fellow humans into literates, literate illiterates or illiterate literates,not only in relation to 'financial' matters,but also any other; or

b)to insulate self from 'loss', -
is, to be blunt,tomfoolery,and self-deceit.

The underlying fallacy / absurdity lies in the insane oversight of the reality that , - anyone's 'gain' necessarily entails, is tagged on, to anyone else's 'loss'. Any scope to deny ?!

Gopalakrishnan T V

1 year ago

Admitted all kinds of illiteracies seen in the society? But why and how these are allowed and merrily tolerated? The only reason for prevalence of proliferation of such illiteracies is due to laxity in the Governance standards through out the country and allowing profiteering at any cost ignoring the ethical way of doing business. Who is responsible for this? and why these things happen? Our Administrators, Governance system and tolerance of exploitation by the new genre of marketing by executives who are given targets for profits exploiting all weaknesses seen in the Governance standards. Greed has been allowed to be practised liberally and all are paying for the greed of some who have all possible exit routes. Passing on the blame to end users of the services is easy but where are there any Checks and balances from an effective and efficient administration? It is akin to permitting all to drive all types of vehicles without any need for knowing driving and having any license.


1 year ago

Mr. Mundra classifies financial illiterates into five categories only. There is one more category.

Many of these fools are mental patients. They talk about big big things like buying oil rigs in Persian Gulf, buying air crafts/ ships etc etc. Actually they could not even buy a second hand Ambassador car.

R S Murthy

1 year ago

I want a simple clarification. Whether the Bank Managements are literate or not?

If literate why NPAs are regularly growing?

Several Banks have lost crores of rupees when EAST WEST AIRLINES was closed.

How the same mistake was repeated with KING FISHER AIRLINES?

R Balakrishnan

1 year ago

At the root of every financial scam is a regulator who is asleep at the wheel. Reluctant to take action unless forced in to it, our RBI is a classic 'do not bother me' type of animal. Lax regulations, which the RBI has not bothered about changing, individuals who are afraid to take initiative is the hallmark of our RBI.
It is amusing to hear such 'erudite' renderings from the regulator..


1 year ago

Why do we tend to confuse losses with financial literacy?

Risk of loss is an integral part of all financial dealings. Financial literacy can never insulate us from losses.

Unreasonable expectations from Financial Literacy, makes a already difficult task insurmountable.

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