Financial and societal inequality continues to increase, with the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing economic fallout further exacerbating the problem. This financial inequality typically stems from two core elements that need addressing: education and access.
The finance sector is in a strong position to assist, thanks to advances in technology and knowledge.
Back in 2014, the S&P Global Financial Literacy Report found that only 33% of adults worldwide are financially literate. This leaves the majority of adults susceptible to misinformation and mismanagement of funds. While this figure has improved in recent years, the results are still far from ideal. According to this 2020 OECD study, 53% of surveyed adults demonstrated adequate levels of financial literacy.
Being financially literate means having an understanding of concepts like saving, credit and interest. This information enables long term financial planning. Without this knowledge, you’re more likely to get into debt and pay higher interest rates. Higher banking fees and subsequently less access to resources result in a cycle of poverty and increased financial risk.
One way in which finance professionals can help is by offering education and mentoring. Initiatives that launch financial education in schools are also crucial, as they instil knowledge and understanding of money management from a young age.
Working as a financial planner can also be immensely rewarding, as you’re able to work with people from different walks of life on a plan to secure their financial future. Those with the skills may also choose to volunteer as tax professionals, assisting vulnerable groups like the elderly or those in low-income brackets to correctly file their returns.
There are 1.7 billion people worldwide who are without basic financial services. Typically referred to as ‘unbanked’ individuals, this group is largely based in developing countries. Without access to a bank account or the ability to invest and save, people are unable to escape the cycle of poverty.
This is where new products and services are crucial. The use of technology holds incredible potential for equalising access to financial services:
Those living in the wealthiest 60% of households in the world have a 13% larger likelihood of having a bank account than the poorest 40% in the world. A recent Mastercard survey also found that 74% of people worldwide plan to continue using a contactless payment method, a safer, cleaner and more convenient alternative to cash or traditional cards. With this in mind, it’s clear that the future of finance is in the rapid development and roll-out of fintech solutions.
There is definite interest in fintech, with a projected annual growth rate of 25% over the next few years. The fintech industry has an annual hiring growth rate of 82%, compared to 17% for traditional banks, showing a clear upward trend in terms of market share. Not only is this an excellent opportunity to grow your career and future-proof your skills, it’s also an important industry to get involved in if you want to help others.
A career in finance equips you with valuable skills and knowledge. There are plenty of ways to use these skills to help others.
Whether you choose to enter a corporate job and provide assistance in your own time, want to change the way we bank by specialising in tech or pursue a career in the education sector, the financial industry is filled with opportunities to do good.
If you’d like to discuss your options and share your ideas, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with the Global Accounting Network to discuss your career aspirations today.
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