Gillian Jackson, senior business advisor at The Jamaica National Group, is encouraging more young Jamaicans to consider the thriving personal finance communities that are active on social media as a good source for financial information and advice.
“Social media is not only a space to connect with family and to view the latest pictures from your friend’s beach trip, but it can also be the key to unlocking your financial empowerment,” Miss Jackson said.
She noted that if done correctly, young people can use social media to forge connections with persons who are knowledgeable about finances, and in turn, boost their financial knowledge and get closer to achieving their financial goals.
Miss Jackson informed that social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and even Tik Tok, are all become great resources for financial education.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an influx of sessions being hosted online by banks and financial institutions and several other stakeholders who usually provide free access through social media.”
She pointed out that movements, such as #FinanceTwitterJA, which was formed around 2019, have been gaining momentum and providing well-needed information to thousands of Jamaicans.
“As one of the first participants of #FinanceTwitterJA, I have seen how Twitter was used to provide knowledge to Jamaicans, who otherwise would not necessarily be able to access this kind of information,” said Mrs Jackson, who is also an ambassador for the JN BeWi$e financial empowerment programme.
“I share information there and, on my blog, financialcentsibility.com, about accessing financial products and services, for which many persons frequently express gratitude. I have received feedback from persons who have learnt about accessing a mortgage, the use of a credit card, what NIS and pension plans are, the different bank transfer methods and many other financial products and services that can help people to achieve their goals.”
Through her blog, Miss Jackson also provides persons with access to budgeting templates, as well as free calculators, so that they can estimate how much they would pay if, for example, they were accessing a loan or calculating their income taxes.
She further noted that Twitter recently launched a feature called, ‘Twitter Spaces’, which members of the #FinanceTwitterJA community have been using to host sessions on a wide range of financial topics. These include retirement planning, the stock market, mortgages and home ownership, as well as starting and building a business.
“They have even discussed topics such as the implications of Uber coming to Jamaica and anyone can join these live sessions for free. The free knowledge that is being shared online in the financial community has been invaluable,” she said.
Miss Jackson said persons can also join similar online personal finance communities via Instagram, Facebook and YouTube and tune in to the various LIVE sessions that are being held.
“Information is shared real time and any of those that are missed can often be re-watched,” she said.
The senior business advisor also noted that there are YouTube channels, such as ‘Learn, Grow Invest;’ ‘Taking Stock,’ hosted by Kalilah Reynolds; and the ‘Earnings Season’ podcast, which cover an array of financial topics and provide regular content.
Topics include money management, how to invest, how to analyse a business, how to get a mortgage and assessments of the Jamaican economy.
Miss Jackson advised young people that being equipped with the knowledge is the first step towards taking full control of their finances. “The next step is to set up an appointment with a licensed financial advisor to discuss your savings, loan and investment options.”