Commentary: Gen Alpha should be learning about money from schools, not TikTok

Meanwhile, easy access to credit due to fintech advancements also presents its own challenges, potentially hindering Gen Alpha’s ability to learn saving habits and avoid debt.

And of course, this generation faces unique economic uncertainty. A looming global recession, inflation, the COVID-19 pandemic and technology disruptions in the workplace all make it harder for them to plan for their financial future and understand the importance of financial resilience.


Home to 60 per cent of the world’s youth population, Asia has an undeniable imperative to get financial literacy education right. The stakes could not be higher.

Many people lack basic knowledge of financial concepts such as budgeting, saving, and investing. According to a 2015 survey by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, two-thirds of adults worldwide are not financially literate. The study, involving more than 150,000 adults, gauged their understanding of financial concepts such as inflation, interest rates, and risk diversification.

This is intrinsically tied to the scarcity of financial education in schools, compounded by a dearth of resources and qualified educators to impart financial knowledge and skills.

Also, in the fast-growing Southeast Asian markets, demonstrating social status through conspicuous consumption is highly valued, particularly for the emerging middle classes. The pursuit of luxury items or extravagant experiences, driven by a quest for social validation, can jeopardise prudent long-term financial planning.

There is also the issue of limited access to financial services. Globally, about 1.4 billion adults do not have bank accounts, impeding their ability to save, invest and manage their money effectively.

The question of where to start educating our young on financial matters reminds me of the line by Desmond Tutu: “There is only one way to eat an elephant, a bite at a time”.

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