Cabinet Secretary for Education Prof George Magoha has urged trustees to educate Kenyans on the importance of self-discipline, adequate preparation and planning to live a comfortable life during their sun-set years.  He said during the years of active employment or engaging in business activities Kenyans must be made aware of and reminded of the need to save, to prepare and to plan for a secure retirement.

“Life in retirement can be especially challenging for persons who when working were used to receiving a regular monthly income but at retirement, many are forced to live on reduced incomes and others on erratic incomes, even as they cope with advancing age and vagaries of ill health that come with it,” says Prof. Magoha, the medical professor and himself a retiree.

The CS said this while addressing over 300 delegates attending a three-day Zamara retirement conference. He said the government was aware of the need to provide adequately for the social security and wellbeing of Kenyans and urged stakeholders to establish a robust policy governance framework to achieve this objective.

Mr Sundeep Raichura, the CEO of Zamara Group, a pension administrator,  called on the government to focus more on establishing financial literacy at an early age in schools to cultivate the culture of saving in the country. Mr Raichura said though significant steps had been taken by financial services regulators to enhance financial literacy, there was an urgent need to focus more on saving in our education system alongside other basic subjects.

Through Angaza program, Zamara hopes to enhance financial literacy among the young population. Zamara of staff will spend their time, resources and knowledge to support parents and teachers to improve the financial literacy among the young population. He said his firm was keen on supporting the government to embed basic money management skills in the school curriculum and help in rolling out.

“Financial literacy is one of the most important life skills that everyone needs to learn today. Research suggests that money habits are formed as early as age seven and thus it is essential to ensure children receive a level of education about finances that will shape their attitude towards money during their formative years,” Mr Raichura argued.

He explained that if good habits aren’t formed at an early stage in life, it becomes quite difficult to point offspring in the right direction as financial literacy provides the young people with opportunities to have a bright and more prosperous future since they are empowered with the right tools and knowledge.

Zamara boss said a vibrant and growing pensions sector in Kenya was not only important for the future financial wellbeing of Kenyans, but also an important pillar on which the future health of the economy will rest.  He, however, noted that policy measures that can have a meaningful impact on increasing pension savings, such as mandating pension savings and improved tax incentives, remain elusive.

“Even proposals to simplify the tax system for pensions to make it easier and to have a level playing field for pension savings compared with other forms of savings appear to be falling on deaf ears. We continue to appeal to our policymakers and have a collective responsibility to do so,” he said.

By Business today

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