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Understanding money from an early age

A review of Anthony Osae-Brown‘s Understanding The Nigerian Financial System for Secondary School Students by Deola Aluko.

MONEY is very important to human lives. Right from infancy, money becomes a central commodity in the life of a man. Money plays a major role in the birth process, nursing and nurturing of a child into adulthood. Even in adulthood, the pursuit of money is required to meet daily needs.

It is on the importance of money to human life that the book, ‘Understanding The Nigerian Financial System for Secondary School Students’ is based. The author, Anthony Osae-Brown, highlights the need for people to have a good grasp of the financial system from an early age hence the focus of the book on secondary school students.

In ‘Understanding The Nigerian Financial System for Secondary School Students’ published by :  AuthorHouse, US, Osae-Brown simplifies how money is earned and how to spend it in a way that enhances people’s welfare and ability to earn money in adulthood.

Divided into 20 chapters, the book begins on a light note, defining financial system for a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. To have a good knowledge of the financial system, the definition of money becomes paramount. To find answers to the meaning of money, Osae-Brown goes back in time to highlight different items that have been used as money. He names salt, corn and rice among others that have been used for trade-by-barter when there was no legal tender in the pre-colonial era. Later cowries were used just as precious metals like gold, silver served as money. Much later, paper money and coins were introduced as legal tenders.

The author argues that for anything to be considered as money, it must be accepted by everyone. According to him, money must also be scarce because if everyone had money, nobody will desire it, hence it would no longer be called money.

In the second chapter titled ‘This Is the Financial Market’, Osae-Brown goes into detailed description of the financial market using local market as an example. He aptly makes the comparison thus: “The financial market is like your local market. The major difference is that in your local market, you only buy items that you can see and touch, like tomatoes or yams. In the financial market you buy things you cannot see and touch, like bonds and stocks.”

In chapter three, the author defines what he calls “The Twin Daughters of the Financial Market” the money market and the capital market. He goes on in chapter four to explain all the players in the financial system. These include the savers and investors, borrowers and issuers, the financial institutions and regulators.

Osae-Brown seeks to simplify his discussion by asking simple questions which makes the reader looks inward to provide answers for a better understanding of the financial system. This student/teacher learning approach gives a classroom feel. The gradual progression from the definition of money to the eventual definition of the financial system gives a better understanding of the book’s direction to the reader.

The brevity of the chapters shows that the author does not want to make his subject boring, hence he deliberately simplifies the terms, using simple language and explanatory simple sentences.

What makes ‘Understanding The Nigerian Financial System for Secondary School Students’ instructive is at the end of each chapter, there is Test Your Knowledge, which consists of questions on the subject discussed for students to answer. In addition to that is the Activity Menu, which allows for students to engage in class discussion on issues raised in each chapter. Also, the author uses images to illustrate the subjects discussed in each chapter which makes the book visually appealing and attractive to read for students.

To this end, ‘Understanding The Nigerian Financial System for Secondary School Students’ is a good compendium for secondary school students to have. It seeks to simplify financial terminologies that have hitherto made issues relating to the financial system uninteresting to young people. It is a great way for students to start their journey into knowing the importance of money, investment and a general understanding of the financial market.