Starting a business is easy, but sustaining it is a different and difficult thing”

Sabin Nepal is Financial Literacy Trainer and Operations Manager, Purpose 1st Pvt. Ltd.

With experience of more than 15 years in training, development programmes and event management, Sabin Nepal is currently the Financial Literacy Trainer and Operations Manager at Purpose 1st Pvt Ltd. which provides financial, business and management literacy trainings.

In the past, he was associated with National Banking Institute for five years as the senior program officer where he used to design, develop and implement training programs for the bankers.

Who do you provide financial literacy trainings and workshops to?

Purpose 1st works with for-profit firms, non-profit organisations, government agencies, community groups and civil society institutions that approach us to provide such trainings related to financial and business literacy to their organisations and employees. We also work with female and male entrepreneurs at micro, start-up, small and medium levels that are at the grass-root level and need information regarding financial and business literacy such as how to manage funds (expenses and saving), market their product and services, identify and decrease leakage, etc.

What topics under finance are included in your trainings and workshops?

When talking about financial literacy training, there are topics related to what financial literacy actually is which is linked with access to finance and financial information, monetary management which is related to how to save and manage expenses, loan management which talks about the requirement, access and managing payment of loans. So, our training is mainly focused on gathering information, planning and following the planned schedule as per the need of the person whether it is related to finance and financial information, monetary management or loan management.

Why is financial literacy important?

Starting a business is easy, but sustaining it is a different and difficult thing. Entrepreneurs should have proper information of the operations of their business both from management and financial points of view. While starting a business, an entrepreneur invests his/her money personally or takes loan from banks or other financial institutions. So, s/he should be aware about the areas the money is being spent on, whether it is for the operating cost or investment purpose along with knowing the track from where the revenue is being generated in the business. So to manage both cost and revenue, entrepreneurs should have knowledge about financial literacy. There are also some people, not entrepreneurs, who have good business ideas but due to unavailability of funds they haven’t been able to start-up. We have also supported such peopleby providing financial and business advice on how to start their business and make it sustainable.

Financial literacy is important not just for entrepreneurs but also for general people. The earlier people have this knowledge, the more secure is their future.

For instance, I conducted an experiment on my daughter when she was eight years old. She had asked me to buy her a badminton racquet after her exams which were after Dashain and Tihar festival (and for which there was two-month time). Since I teach financial literacy to adults, I wanted to see if I can teach a child about the same topic but in a different way. So, the next day I bought her a piggy bank and asked her to put whatever money she had into it over the next two months. I told her if the money to buy the racket wasn’t enough I would add to it. Finally, when the time came to open the piggy bank, I proposed a deal: I told her she could buy the racquet from whatever she had saved in the piggy bank or I would buy her the racket and keep the piggy bank for myself. She took the second option because she didn’t believe she had saved enough. But when we opened the piggy bank, she was shocked to see that she had actually saved a lot more. She then understood what I wanted to convey to her about financial literacy i.e, ‘don’t save what is left after spending, spend what is left after saving’.

What kind of challenges do you normally face while teaching financial literacy?

The prime challenge I have find is the misconception that it is not a topic that someone should be teaching or learning about. They think it is just related to costs, expenses, saving and investment which is true, but they don’t see it in-depth. Also, financial institutions’ advertise saying that opening an account in a bank or financial institution is financial literacy. This is untrue as opening an account is just minimal access to finance.

How does one understand money?

My advice is to start saving in small bits rather than concentrating on saving a large amount at once. Minor things can make a difference. Simple examples are managing leakages, turning off your light and water supply when not in use, paying bills on discount offers, walking rather than using vehicles for short distances. But it all adds up!

If people have a habit of withdrawing money often from their bank account, open two different accounts, an expenditures account and a savings account to diversify your money. This will make inculcate discipline in how money is managed. Record your expenses in a ledger.

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