Originally posted on youthsave.org
On August 23rd, the YouthSave Consortium convened a Multi-Stakeholder Meeting, entitled “Youth & Their Money: Insights into the Financial Lives of Youth” in Kathmandu, Nepal. In addition to the intriguing discussion with the expert panelists—including YouthSave Director Rani Deshpandi and YouthSave Project Coordinator in Nepal Jaya Budathoki—two youth from Bhaktapur discussed their experience with Bank of Kathmandu’s (BoK) Chetansil Yuwa Bachat Yojana (CYBY) youth savings account and the benefits of saving in their own lives.
When asked why she signed up for BoK’s youth savings account, fifteen-year-old Sharmila Darshdahari said that she wanted to save for basic needs, emergencies and her future. She hopes to be a nurse one day and plans to use her savings to help pay for nursing school. Similarly, sixteen-year-old student Dipesh Bishanke expressed his own desire to save for his future, acknowledging, “in today’s world, nothing is possible without money.”
Interestingly, both Sharmila and Dipesh saved in piggy banks prior to opening savings accounts with BoK. This is consistent with the findings from Save the Children’s recent study, What Do Youth Savers Want? Their research indicates that youth not only want to save, they also have the means to do so.
Of course, both students acknowledge that there are important advantages to formal savings over saving in a piggy bank. Sharmila admitted that because the money in her piggy bank was readily accessible, she “withdrew” from it frequently. Now with her CYBY account, she’s saving more and spending less. Dipesh also noticed a difference in his spending habits when he started to deposit his savings into his account instead of his piggy bank. Rather than spend his money on street food and in cyber cafes, which was a common practice for him, now he’s better able to distinguish between his needs and his wants because his money is set aside in an account.
Sharmila and Dipesh also agreed that safety is an important feature of their CYBY accounts. When their money was saved in their piggy banks, both students’ noted that their parents would ask to borrow from them from time to time. However, with their money now stored safely in their accounts, they have noticed that their parents are less likely request a loan from them.
As The Himalayan Times, who reported on the launch of BoK’s CYBY product launch back in April, stated in their coverage of the meeting, “Access to formal saving channels seems to have motivated Nepali youths to develop saving habits. Even though preteens and teens tend to keep their surplus money for future use, especially in piggy banks, access to organised depositing agencies culminate it into saving habits.”
The YouthSave consortium strongly believes that providing youth with the opportunity to save will make a difference in their lives, so it is exciting to not only hear from youth account holders, but to know that they agree—saving has in fact impacted their lives in a positive way.