The Simplified blog
Plain English is also about financial educationFrances Gordon | 19 November 2006 | 22:19
Most people do not read financial documents. This article in the Financial Times (FT.com, 9 September 2005) says a survey showed that people are far more likely to read the calorie counts on food packaging, or even their horoscopes, than financial statements.
There are two reasons for this:
1. If you understand very little about a topic, you can't see its importance to you.
2. If a document is text dense and difficult, reading it is too much bother.
Traditionally, plain language addressed the second point only. But we believe that, especially in South Africa, we also need to take a careful look at the first one. In other words, financial institutions should make it their business not only to sell and administer products, but also to educate consumers about them.
Fortunately, many companies are taking this leap - as they realise the strongest way to build loyalty and trust is to empower consumers to make informed decisions.