JSE boss warns of serious financial wellness crisisFriday, May 01, 2015
MANAGER of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Marlene Street Forrest has warned of a financial wellness crisis developing, which could be as serious as the 2008 global financial meltdown.
"We can see that there is a financial wellness crisis which is as serious as the global financial meltdown experienced in 2008; one that needs to be tackled with the same level of urgency as the financial meltdown itself," she told the Environmental Health Foundation (EHF) 11th Annual Wellness & Lifestyle Awards Ceremony and Dinner on Wednesday.
Quoting a 2011 study, she noted that following the 2008 global economic meltdown job insecurity and uncertainty was on the rise; private sector jobs with guaranteed pension became scarce; companies were moving from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans, thereby transferring the liability of financial wellness unto its employees.
Health plans, in general became more expensive and, in some cases, the safety net created by Governments were either inadequate or non-existent, Street Forrest noted.
She said that a major step for individuals to achieve financial wellness lies, therefore, in a programme geared towards financial literacy.
She said that individuals needed to understand that life's tragedy is that "people get old too soon and wise too late as the later we delay preparation regarding our financial welfare, the harder it is to be prepared", she stated.
"Individuals must strive to get a financial check-up, in the same way that a medical check-up is required (as) it is most important to assess where they have the greatest vulnerability," she added.
Street Forrest also urged companies to embrace financial wellness, which she said would contribute to a more motivated workforce.
"Financial wellness cannot be contained to what is usually considered 'Corporate Jamaica', as there are many Jamaicans that are self-employed or employed to small enterprises. It, therefore, must be rooted and grounded in an overall communication programme spearheaded by the Government, civic groups and institutions, such as the EHF," she said.
Several persons and organisations received awards for their contribution to wellness at the function. They included: Grace Community Development Foundation in the category of social wellness; Rozi Chung of Studio 174, for cultural wellness; The Innovators Reality TV Show, for financial wellness; and Rohan Gordon, gym instructor at Eden Fitness, for physical wellness.
The 23-year-old EHF is a private NGO dedicated to its mandate of enhancing the quality of people's lives through social outreach projects and programmes.
The Foundation's key focal areas are: education, health, the environment, and science and technology.
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