Personal indebtedness has become an important topic of discussion due to the rapid rise in its level in many economies over the recent decades. This is especially so during the current Covid-19 pandemic which has drastically affected nations globally in terms of businesses, employment, lives and livelihood. Personal debt has become a more serious challenge as many bankruptcy cases and social problems evolve due to the inability to repay the huge commitment. There are many issues that would arise when debt increases in the context of repayment difficulties, financial insolvency stress and bankruptcy. In addition, financial and social problems usually ensue with large debt burden. In a most recent study, bankruptcy can be seen among youth executives and most of them are below the age of 35. The availability of easy credit and the use of credit cards have brought about many negative side effects when they incur excessive expenditure because it is convenient for users to pay with credit card without considering affordability. As young adults have just started to work and earned only a fixed salary, easy credit results in excessive spending without realizing the consequences of their actions.
The youth population in Malaysia makes up the largest group of consumers with high level of spending power. They have grown up with modern information technology, including smart phones, and are well-educated and socially networked. These youth utilises the internet as their primary channel of information-gathering and communication. This generation would take over positions held by the seniors in a decade or two and thus make a large portion of consumer decisions. Unfortunately, it is this youth generation that accumulates debt at an earlier age and lacks understanding when it comes to financial planning. Cultivating the financial literacy levels of youth would enable them to better plan for their future and reduce issues relating to debt, insolvency and social problems.
With the current slowdown in growth rates not only in Malaysia but also globally, coupled with the higher level of inflation that reduces purchasing power, there is an urgent need to prevent further increase in unsustainable personal indebtedness. The high cost of living and the inability of the younger generation to afford even basic housing render financial planning very beneficial for their financial welfare. There are numerous ways to impart financial knowledge to youth in institutes of higher learning and one such platform is the provision of knowledge and information: current scenario and statistics as well as ways to manage their expenses and financial wealth. PSWM plans to embark on a nationwide forum to inform as well as provide an avenue for youth to learn more about financial planning and speak up on issues relating to it.
A half-day webinar session was jointly organized with the Faculty of Human Ecology, Universiti Putra Malaysia on the 19th June 2021:
8.30am Registration and entry of students and guests to webinar
8.45 – 9.15am Brief welcome by Datin Fauziah Mohd. Ramly, President PSWM and Prof Dr Mohamad Fazli Sabri, Dean, Faculty of Human Ecology, UPM
9.15 – 10.00am Setting the Scene and Current Statistics on Indebtedness by Pn Hemy Annerina Haja Mydin, Assistant Director, Malaysia Department of Insolvency, Selangor
10.00 – 12.00pm Forum on “Financial Freedom for Youth” – Mr Kartigesu Sivalingam, Principal Consultant, Global Dynamcis moderated by Prof Dr Catherine Ho, Universiti Teknologi MARA
Q & A