Dolcy D’Cruz"I think money isn’t an end in itself, it’s just a means of obtaining what you desire, whether that is material possessions, peace of mind, a way to pursue your purpose or building a secure future for your family. Money gives you choices, whether this relates to education, fun experiences or building a legacy. And it’s nice to have choices,” explains Marilyn Lydia Pinto, the author of ‘Smarter Richer Braver’.Young children do not understand the importance of money until you tell them it is essential. While toddlers and small children are often seen throwing tantrums in toy shops and aisles in supermarkets, older children and teenagers can understand the concept of spending wisely and later inculcate the habit of saving and investing. Financial literacy for young children becomes an essential aspect of life. Marilyn Lydia Pinto lived in Panjim for most of her student life. She studied at Mary Immaculate Girls High School, then Dhempe College and graduated from St Xavier’s College. Her first job was at AT&T in Goa and then Coca- Cola in Pune. She is currently based in Dubai where she lives with her husband and two teenage daughters. She heads KFI Global, an education company that specializes in teaching teenagers and young adults how to make smarter money decisions. “Over the last five years, more than 5,000 students have benefitted from our program. We’ve recently won an international award for the best financial literacy project for schools. And just last week, we were nominated as one of five finalists for the ‘Most Innovative Customer Happiness Initiative’ at the Customer Happiness Summit and Awards 2022. We’re on a mission to bring this critical education to more teens across the world because we believe that it will help them step up, stand out and live a life on their own terms. We’d like to see more teens become part of what we call Generation Wealth,a generation that’s ‘Smarter, Richer, Braver’ because that’s exactly what our world needs,” says Marilyn Pinto, who made Dubai her home nearly 20 years ago. While she wrote the book in three months, it was a culmination of the five years of research, insights and hands on experience with teaching kids. “Researching and writing the book really clarified my thinking and allowed me crystallize my insights into a methodology for effectively teaching teens how to acquire this life-changing skill. This is the methodology web used in all our programs at KFI Global, it’s detailed in the book. Writing the book also forced me to delve deep into the reason this crucial skill is ignored by the current education system, as well as why we as parents often seem content to take the backseat when it comes to properly guiding our teens around managing money. I also came to the stark realization about how widespread this problem was, how little was being done to actively combat it, as against just paying lip service to the issue, and how some efforts were exacerbating the situation,” she says. For her research, she spoke to parents from all over the world and found that the issue of financial education is the same everywhere. Parents worry that their children don’t seem to know or understand the value of money; and that their particular cultural context makes it worse. She explains, “This holds true whether the parents are from India, UAE, Australia or the UK. They feel that their children have it worse than those living elsewhere. Parents also feel inadequately prepared to have these conversations with their children and who can blame them, it isn’t something we were taught growing up. Most adults learned through trial and error and by making expensive mistakes.” What can readers expect from the book? “Financial illiteracy is rampant. The book focuses on how neglected the issue is and the reasons behind this. It is crucial that parents understand what roadblocks they will likely encounter on the journey to educating their children about money. I want to highlight the fact that as parents we cannot afford to rely on schools and universities to teach our children about this important facet of life. We need to be proactive and get our children the best education around this topic,” she adds.
What message would she like to give through the book? “Money is intricately entwined in every aspect of our lives, from the career we choose, the car we buy, the loans we take out, the businesses we start and even who we marry and when we choose to retire. Not educating students about this critical topic is severely short-changing them and hampering their success. This needs to change now,” says Pinto, whose book is available on Amazon.in, both in print as well as the kindle version. The book is published by Rethink Press Limited.