MANILA, Philippines – What do you celebrate every October 31st? Most Filipinos would probably say Halloween or the day we prepare for Undas [All Souls Day]. But there’s actually another important event that’s being celebrated globally – it’s the World Savings Day.
In a nutshell, World Savings Day is an annual celebration that aims to promote the importance of saving not just to the people themselves but to the country’s economy as well. It’s being celebrated in Austria, Italy, Belgium, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Germany, India, Indonesia, and more.
It may sound new to us but this celebration has started more than 90 years ago. It was first known as “World Thrift Day” and was launched during the International Thrift Congress in Milan. The banks who are behind the campaign worked with schools, offices, and even the church to promote the value of thrift. Apparently, saving has been a problem for many people as early as 1924.
This was mainly because people weren’t confident about saving anymore after World War. Even before the declaration of the World Savings Day, Germany and the United States were already observing their own National Thrift Days to make people feel good about saving again.
The campaign has succeeded so far in developed countries where the majority of people now have their own savings account. In developing countries, however, there’s still work to be done.
In the Philippines alone, 66% of Filipinos don’t have any formal savings account according to the 2017 Global Findex Database by the World Bank Group.
Our reasons why we can’t save doesn’t fall far from that of the people from 90 years ago – we’re not too confident that we can do it. And sometimes there’s shame in admitting that a working person who earns a monthly salary doesn’t have savings.
That’s exactly the reason why GCash, the country’s premier fintech company backed by Alibaba, started the #PlsSaveMe campaign – to encourage people to acknowledge the problem by admitting that they don’t have savings. And also to show that they’re not alone because a lot of people are finding it difficult as well.
“Just like any problem, the first step to change is acceptance,” said Kim Seng, GCash’s Assistant Vice President for Financial Services. “When we open the gates of acceptance, then people become less shy to talk about saving. [Talking about] money problems become less of a taboo.”
The #PlsSaveMe campaign revealed that these are people who earn regular (and even higher than average) salaries from stable jobs like art directors, call center agents, HR officers, accounts, and even celebrities.
One of them is Robi Domingo. He confessed that he spent all of the P500,000 prize money he won from a reality show in just one week and that up to now, he still has yet to master the art of keeping a healthy savings account.
But this October 31, GCash is doing the next step after accepting the difficulty of saving money. The company is bringing World Savings Day to the Philippines for the first time ever, in order to help every Filipino to not only realize the value of saving but to actually start saving together with the whole country. So, tune in to Rappler on October 31 for GCash World Savings Day, a very special event that hopes to spark a change in our money habits and allow Filipinos to become part of history. – Rappler.com