According to the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK), an average of 41 Malaysians aged 21 to 40 years old are declared bankrupt on a daily basis. Furthermore, between 2013 and 2017, over 100,000 individuals were declared bankrupt with 34% of them coming from the 35 and 44-year-old age group.
Based on these statistics, it shows that Malaysians aren’t savvy enough with their finances and are prone to overspending to the point of landing themselves into trouble. Hoping to change this situation by teaching financial literacy starting with the younger generation, is a Malaysian business founded in May 2017 called Little Tauke.
“Little Tauke is a platform that provides revolutionary financial education programmes that changes kids’ and teens’ perception about money,” explained one of the co-founders, Ng Pui Yee.
A Personal Journey
“Little Tauke began as an inspiration of mine due to my own lack of financial education and parental guidance in the area of financial literacy,” explained Pui Yee.
As her father was the sole breadwinner for her family of six, her parents could only provide her with the basic necessities such as food, shelter, education and clothing. As the family had to live within their means, she wanted to break out of it and seized every opportunity to work and earn money whenever she could.
However, when she earned money, she spent it all on clothes, facial products, shoes, handbags and her bad habits continued when she started working in the banking industry.
Although she did learn how to manage her money better thanks to her job in the banking line, she still kept spending it whenever she got stressed from her work.
“So, I continued to spend until the moment where I am too stressed up with my job and I wanted to quit,” said Pui Yee.
However, to her horror, she couldn’t even support herself for 3 months if she quit her job as her finances weren’t enough.
“At that moment, I realised all the costly mistakes I had made,” she added. “Therefore, I began searching for the possibility of having financial literacy programmes for kids and teens that were both fun and educational.”
With that in mind, she came across a programme from the USA called Creative Wealth International and brought it over to Malaysia under the name “Little Tauke”.
Little Tauke, Little Boss
The core of the programme is to help children to renew their minds towards how money management works. Although the programme is brought over from the USA, the founders of Little Tauke are all Malaysian.
The team are made of ex-bankers, business entrepreneurs, financial consultants and educators, with ages ranging from 30 to 38 years old.
Although the team comes from different backgrounds, they have one thing in common: every now and then, they meet people who, despite earning a good income, struggled to pay back loans and debts.
“It’s a shame to know that friends and families with a good degree and a professional job could not provide for the family adequately and incurred mountains of debts,” she said. “Worse still, many were declared bankrupt at a very young age.”
The team has invested about RM100,000 into the business but have not made any profits yet, with their revenue from July 2018 to January 2019 at RM140,000.
Convincing The Real Bosses
“The biggest challenge for us is to convince parents as well as adults out there on the importance of being financially literate,” said Pui Yee.
As many parents have the perception that financial education is just about knowing how to save and invest, they’re confident that their children have the ability to save and invest as they grow up.
“However, they failed to realise that knowledge alone won’t help much if their children do not practice positive money habits which is crucial to their financial success,” she added.
According to her, proper financial education teaches children to be disciplined, having the ability to resist temptation, being able to make sound financial decisions, and taking ownership that will contribute to their future success.
However, after convincing parents to send their children to the workshops, she and the team have been receiving positive feedback and appreciation from parents, who said their children are better at managing money after joining their programmes.
There were even some children who started their own businesses after they joined the entrepreneur programme.
“They were able to fund their own activities with their profit that they earned,” she said. “We feel fulfilled as many children are more matured in managing money.”
The team has seen a huge potential in this market and have expanded their business into Perak, Johor, Penang and even Taiwan. With KL within their sights soon, their ultimate goal is to ensure every child is equipped with lasting knowledge of critical financial concepts, principles, attitudes, and habits.
Feature Image Credit: Little Tauke