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Editorial: Mind-Set Shift Will Change Savings Attitude For Fijians

Most parents want to provide the very best in education for their children. But often they don’t know how, when and where to start saving. With the rising cost of
30 Mar 2018 11:52
Editorial: Mind-Set Shift Will Change Savings Attitude For Fijians

Most parents want to provide the very best in education for their children. But often they don’t know how, when and where to start saving.

With the rising cost of tertiary education, parents are also concerned whether they will be able to send their children to university.

This is why the initiative by the Fiji National Provident Fund to allow children as young as six years old to become members is a welcome move.

It provides an avenue for parents to save for their children’s education.

While finer details of the initiative will be released later in the year, the FNPF awareness team on the ground knows that Fijians need more education and awareness about saving for retirement.

In fact, the Member Services general manager Alipate Waqairawai and his team are already stepping up their efforts to enlighten members about the importance of saving for the future.

The revelation made at the recent submission of the FNPF 2017 Annual Report to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Affairs that 73 per cent of members have less than $10,000 in their retirement funds indicate the need to change the Fijian mind-set and attitude towards saving early for retirement and for the future.

It may sound far-fetched for some that children as young as six years old can become members of the Fund. Perhaps the only reason for this is because it has never been done before. But parents have to look beyond the tip of their noses and adopt a far-sighted approach.

Their decision must involve their children. As they grow up, they will understand the sacrifice made by their parents or guardians to provide them with quality education.

Currently, members can withdraw from their general account (which is 30 per cent of their contribution) for education and housing assistance among other things.

However, 70 per cent of member contribution is untouched in what is called a preserved account.

Previously members could access up to two thirds of their balances for various grounds of withdrawal.

With the consistent high interest rates given to members following the FNPF reforms introduced by the Government, new members including children will also benefit. At the moment Fijians between the ages of 15 and 55 can become a member of the fund.

Like any other institution, FNPF has its own internal and external challenges. But, it is focussed on improving its systems and at the same time achieve its core function – securing a meaningful retirement for its members.

For children, through the upcoming initiative, parents can start saving early for quality education.

Feedback:  rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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