How many times have you walked into a mall here in Jeddah and thought to yourself “Wow, These Saudis have so much money!!” This is often followed by a feeling of inadequacy and general doom. Or maybe that’s just me. Either way, we all have these preconceived notions about people in Saudi Arabia being loaded with cash. What we fail to realize is that like all economies, there are different income levels and even though the Kingdom is generally prosperous, there are a lot of people who work very hard to make ends meet. That said, no matter what economic bracket you fall into, there is always a need for knowledge about personal financial planning. This knowledge is even more important when you are a young college students with often limited cash and many, many temptations (the new iPhone anyone?). Riyali is a program which aims to address this very issue and provides college students with the knowledge and tools to make smarter financial decisions. The program doesn’t claim to magically transform you into the next Warren Buffet but will definitely make you more money savvy.
Riyali, a free program offered by SEDCO Holding ran its pilot in four Jeddah colleges but has now expanded beyond Jeddah to cities like Najran and Riyadh. Starting next month, there would be more sessions across Jeddah, you can join their Facebook page for updates on the sessions. Also, if you want a quick fix while you wait for Riyali to get to your college or institution, you can download the bilingual Riyali pocketbook here. Do take the personality test, it would make you face your financial reality in a not so subtle way. The pocketbook has some very solid and easy-to-follow tips on saving, budgeting and investing.
So, Jeddah peeps if you get a chance to attend the sessions, please do. It might just mean the difference between the life or death of your bank account. As Amr Banaja, the force behind Riyali said “I myself learned a lot of financial lessons the hard way, from losing my business to having to sell my house all because of global buy-outs. I am glad that my children will have a program like Riyali that could help them make smart money decisions early on and not learn it the hard way”.
I could not have said it better myself.