AG addresses personal finances with hotel union shop stewards

Financial management will be the key to financial empowerment and self-improvement was the message conveyed on Wednesday by Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Carl Bethel, at the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union Shop Stewards seminar.

He addressed participants under the theme: "The Management of Personal Resources."

The minister expressed an interest in how well things are going in the national economy, as he stated: "Unemployment is at its lowest level ever recorded in history. Average household income is at the highest level and personal income and wages have also been on the increase."

Bethel talked about the dramatic decline of serious crimes reported such as, murders, armed robberies, and rapes. He also spoke of the removal of The Bahamas from the financial black list, in an effort to explain how much changes are being made in the economy.

The minister listed some accomplishments of the government to drive home the point of personal benefit, when a control is gained over spending. Such as the building of new schools in Nassau and Grand Bahama to accommodate the growing student population; the tarring of roads on every Family Island along with electrification and major improvements in health care.

He indicated that in order to achieve personal economic empowerment, individuals must take control of their budget, by working out how much is earned, how much is being spent and what it is being spent on. The second step mentioned to achieve financial control is prioritized spending, organizing the most necessary items to those that can be considered luxuries. "You might be surprised how much is spent wastefully," he warned.

The minister also discouraged consolidated borrowing with regard to loans, because borrowing more money after loan consolidation will only add to one's debt load and stress level.

Bethel commented on how, last year the growth in the level of personal debts exceeded 11percent. "The growth of consumer borrowing last year far outpaced the rate of inflation and more than doubled the rate of growth of the economy," he said. "Indeed banks have made good profits as a result of this expansion of consumer borrowing," he said.

The minister reiterated that the consumers and the overall economy have benefited.

However he cautioned that too much of a good thing can be bad, when individuals are caught in an inescapable cycle of debt, trying to pay-off loans that have taken control of their salary.

Union members were encouraged to maximize monies earned and retain it as savings to take control of personal finances.

"You have it in your power to be more disciplined in your spending habits and make more prudent borrowing and spending decisions," he said.

Created: 22 August 2017
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