Indigenous finance literacy in the digital age
12 November 2019 at 8:24 am
New program aims to equip more Indigenous Australians with finance skills
A world first digital program has launched in a bid to financially upskill Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
The First Nations Foundation (FNF) program, My Money Dream, is designed to help Indigenous Australians overcome money obstacles such as budgeting, banking, superannuation, insurance, buying a car, loans, and credit.
Designed by Indigenous people for Indigenous people, the program also takes into consideration the collective attitudes to wealth and family pressures unique to Indigenous culture, as opposed to mainstream economic attitudes of individual keeping and saving of money.
Earlier research revealed nine in 10 Aboriginal people had no financial security, and that increasing financial literacy rates could play a large part in reducing the statistic.
FNF has delivered face-to-face financial literacy programs in communities for over a decade, but it’s hoped the digital program will see the finance training spread all over the country.
Emma McCashney, FNF general manager, told Pro Bono News the release of a digital version would make a massive difference to levels of financial literacy among Indigenous people.
“Our face-to-face training had a really high success rate with 90 per cent of participants saying they felt more positive about their financial future,” McCashney said.
“But one of the barriers of that training is being able to fly Indigenous trainers all over the country, whereas with a digital format everybody’s got a digital device.”
Amanda Young, FNF CEO, said this marked the first step in the organisation’s financial wellbeing strategy.
“Potentially we can teach tens of thousands of people, because everyone has a digital device,” Young said.
Finance groups and philanthropists urged to come to the table
The program can be licensed from FNF for a fee but the organisation is urging financial services and employers with high numbers of Indigenous members and staff to bear the cost so that Indigenous people can access the program for free.
Philanthropists are also being urged to purchase licences that can be donated to individuals or community groups such as financial counsellors and health services.
The Rowe Family Foundation, managed by Perpetual as trustee, is the first foundation to purchase and donate leases.
Perpetual’s general manager of community social investment, Caitriona Fay, said it was important for philanthropy to back Indigenous-led initiatives that would not only improve financial literacy of Indigenous people, but the well-being of communities and individuals more broadly.
“Philanthropy has a responsibility to back Indigenous-led organisations who are looking to tackle issues like financial literacy and who are seeking to improve the overall wellbeing of our nation’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” Fay said.
More information on the program and donated program leases can be found here.