Monday, October 24, 2011

We are All Blacks!

This has been a busy fall so far with a lot of travelling (I am on my way to Sweden), starting a new financial literacy seminar series (more in future blogs), and keeping up with my newly acquired interests: football and rugby! It has been a season full of exciting games, including the Rugby World Cup, which was held in New Zealand. I am extremely happy to announce that the New Zealand All Blacks are the World Cup champions! I am ecstatic and wish I were in New Zealand to celebrate their victory. What could be sweeter than winning the World Cup when your country is the host and your fans are in the stadium? I can only imagine the explosion of joy in Eden Park in Auckland at the end of the match with France (and the sense of relief as well since the score was so close, I could hardly breath...).

I will celebrate this great victory by writing about New Zealand and the role they have played in the field of financial literacy. Under the leadership of feisty Diana Crossan, the Retirement Commission has done a lot of innovative work on financial literacy. I mentioned in a previous post that they have one of the best national web sites dedicated to improving the financial literacy of the population. They were also one of the first countries to conduct a second national financial literacy survey in order to measure financial knowledge over time and therefore assess their progress in improving financial literacy. They have many programs targeted to specific groups of the population, recognizing that different people have different needs and different economic circumstances. One group of great interest is the Maori, and specific programs have been designed for them as well. While small and without a big budget, the Commission is a mighty group. And to better communicate the focus of their work, they have recently changed their name from Retirement Commission to the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income. The main lesson here is not to underestimate the power and ingenuity of what one institution—however small—can do for financial literacy. And while New Zealand is a small country, it has been a model to look to for financial literacy.

I have one recommendation for Diana Crossan: go to that talented captain of the All Blacks, Richie McCaw, show him your muscles (figuratively, I mean), and ask the team to support financial literacy. I am sure a lot of New Zealanders would pay attention. In my view, sport and financial literacy go very well together (wink)!

But for now, congratulations to the All Blacks and to New Zealand for being World Champions and hosting the World Cup. Bravi!

1 comment:

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