‘Common Cent$,’ a financial literacy podcast, seeks to help young people become aware and educated about various financial matters. The name alone says it all. Its founder and host is a young Guyanese, Matthew Gaul. He recently graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance with Distinction from the University of Guyana earlier this year. Gaul is also a former Youth Parliamentarian in the 2019 batch. He was the first President of the International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly Guyana’s Youth Committee during the period 2019-2021.
“ I am a very simple person who loves God, sports, books and money,” Gaule explained to the Pepperpot Magazine. He is also quite passionate about the development of his country and the upliftment of his brothers and sisters. ‘Common Cent$’ has touched on a plethora of topics, including investing on the stock exchange, the importance of paying your taxes, Controlling your expenditures and others.
The ultimate objective of “Common Cent$” is to equip young people with the knowledge to make informed financial decisions that will ultimately provide the foundation for living comfortable lives. Gaul expressed that the show has been positively impacting young people, based on the feedback received over the past nine months. More young people are becoming interested in investing in the local Stock Exchange, more young people are becoming business-oriented and more young people are striving to spend their money wisely.
The idea for the show was initiated during the onset of the pandemic in one of Mathew’s final year courses. He was tasked with preparing an analysis of an Inter-American Development Bank report titled, ‘Review of Financial Development and Inclusion for Guyana: Assessment and Options for Reform which outlined the paucity of financial literacy initiatives in Guyana and the wider Caribbean.’
Additionally, a Ponzi Scheme, Blessings Circle and other fraudulent schemes started to infiltrate the Guyanese society and eventually grew out of control, with thousands of persons being ensnared to the tune of millions of dollars. This further fuelled his passion for creating a platform that could educate the populace on financial matters. Hence, his journey with ‘Common Cent$’ began.
“I’ve currently completed seven episodes in Season II with three episodes remaining. I try to package education with entertainment to ensure that I effectively reach my target audience,” he explained. “I’ve also been privileged to have [several personalities on the programme, including] Economist Richard Rambarran; Manager of the Guyana Stock Exchange, George Edwards; young Guyanese artiste, Kareem Lewis; psychologist Will Campbell and other productive, ambitious young people in the society, including the founder of Pan Jazz, Reon Miller, Attorney at Law Chevy Devonish on the programme to share their wisdom and knowledge.”
The host continued to encourage young people to live a balanced life. “Many people in the financial field make individuals feel bad about spending. I’m an advocate for spending wisely and saving to fulfil future goals. Additionally, it is very important to prioritize and not allow your spending habits to be dictated by social media. Moreover, young people should endeavour to live within their means and desire to be wealthy through legitimate means.” He continued his positive encouragement by saying, “As Guyana’s economy continues to experience a paradigm shift, it is important for youth to position themselves to benefit from the bounty that is coming to Guyana. It is important to note that corporate Guyana, including Georgetown Capital, Lucozade Guyana, M&M Snackette, Reminiscent GY, Virtual Solutions Guyana, Au Moyeu and Regal Designs Enterprise have supported the initiative from the inception. Many times, the private sector receives flak for not being supportive, but I’m grateful that more businesses are recognizing the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility.”
The Pepperpot Magazine finally asked Gaul what future plans are in store for his financial, and educational journey. “After Season two of ‘Common Cent$’ is completed in early June, I hope to complete physical outreaches in communities to spread the importance of being financially literate, as well as hosting quarterly ‘Money Talk’ sessions,” said Matthew. ‘Money Talks’ will be an event where young people can physically meet to hear from experts in the financial and business field, ask questions and have engaging conversations and expand their network in a safe environment. Season III of Common Cent$ is scheduled to return in September, 2022.