William Opare Adjei, Investment Advisor, Stanbic Investment Management Services

The advancement in technology and proliferation of digital and online platforms have opened avenues for e-commerce and the gaming industry as never seen before. Today, sports betting platforms are more accessible to many young people in Ghana. The rise of sports betting companies and the widespread advertising of these services on multiple channels and platforms like mobile devices, billboards, social media, print, radio and television make it very tempting to engage in betting on sports events. Indeed, service providers are now exploring other ways to maximise their income by extending the betting boundaries beyond sports. Online platforms and mobile apps have made placing bets easy and convenient. However, the thrill of winning quickly and the excitement of the game can sometimes musk the risks, especially for young people.

Sports betting presents considerable risks, encompassing debt, addiction, and mental health challenges. Furthermore, it can strain relationships, jeopardize employment, and exacerbate mental health concerns. Excessive engagement in betting may also prompt social withdrawal and isolation, evoking emotions of shame, guilt, and humiliation. Therefore, advocating for responsible gambling practices is paramount to mitigate these adverse consequences.

An understanding of financial literacy goes beyond basic money management. It equips individuals with the knowledge and skills required to make sound choices regarding their finances. According to financial expert Robert Kiyosaki, “Financial literacy was never an aspect of our education. It takes a lot of work and time to change your thinking and to become financially literate.’’ Being financially literate means understanding the risks involved in engaging in activities such as sports betting and making careful decisions about whether to participate in such entertainment.

Budgeting is a fundamental aspect of financial literacy that can greatly benefit young people interested in sports betting. By learning how to allocate funds wisely, understanding the value of money, and setting limits on their betting expenditures, they could avoid the trap of overspending and getting into financial trouble. Moreover, budgeting is not merely a tool for managing money, but it is a skill set that empowers young people with the mindset and knowledge to be able to sail across the complexity of sports betting and financial decision-making. Certainly! Suppose you are a young individual, just starting your own business or recently employed after national service. There are multiple efficient methods for budgeting your finances to handle money wisely and reach your financial objectives.

One of the critical things one has to consider in budgeting is to keep track of all your sources of income, whether it is from a job, allowance, or not expected gains. Secondly, it is important to keep an accurate track of all expenses, including bills, groceries, entertainment, and other purchases. While at that, remember to set spending limits and allocate a specific amount to each category based on priorities and financial goals.  You can apply the envelop system by keeping your cash in actual holding pockets or envelopes. With the envelope system, you can set out cash allocation by dividing cash into envelopes labelled with specific expense categories (groceries, utility, rent, entertainment, etc.). or you could spend from the envelope by only spending from each envelope’s selected category. When the envelope is empty, no more spending for that category of the month. You could run a virtual envelope on your mobile device or computer to manage your expenses. In all of this, be kind to yourself and pay yourself first. Set up a standing order to transfer from your bank account to an investment account (mutual fund) on payday.

Educating young individuals about financial literacy can help them understand the value of establishing financial objectives for the future. Rather than focusing on immediate gains, young people should look ahead to the years ahead and prioritize their long-term financial goals. This change in mindset encourages them to value financial stability over the excitement of gambling. Some of the goals they can consider include starting a personal retirement fund, saving for a down payment on a house, funding a dream vacation, or continuing their education. Below are some few reasons why young people should have a long-term financial goal.

  1. Long-term financial goals provide young individuals with a sense of direction and purpose in their financial journey. They help them envision their desired financial future and set a clear path to achieve it.
  2. Establishing long-term goals, such as saving for retirement or purchasing a home, contributes to financial security.
  3. Long-term financial objectives extend beyond an individual’s lifetime. Young people should recognize the importance of planning for future generations by creating legacies such as saving for their children’s education or leaving a financial inheritance.

Additionally, financial literacy can also encourage young people to develop interest in investing instead of sports betting. As Benjmain Franklin once said ‘’an investment in knowledge pays the best interest’’. Both investing and gambling or sports betting are similar in some ways. They both involve putting money at risk, hoping to make more money back. However, they have some big differences. Investing can lead to making money or risk of losing money, and it’s usually done over a longer time. When you invest, you usually buy something like a mutual fund, stocks, bonds, or bank’s fixed deposit. Sports betting, on the other hand, may lead to losing money and is usually something people do for a short time.

Empowering young people with financial literacy education is crucial in limiting the risks of sports betting. Understanding that betting should be treated as entertainment, not a source of income, is a key lesson in financial literacy. When young people Learn about money, it helps them make smart choices, set goals, and understand the risk of gambling. With these skills, they can approach sport betting responsibly and build financial future based on informed choices.

William Opare Adjei is a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) certified investment professional. He is an Investment Advisor at Stanbic Investment Services (SIMS). His expertise and client satisfaction commitment make him an asset in the investment world.