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What is friendly about Friendly Societies?

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02.MAY.08

Editor: I am no expert in the field of financial planning. However, my knowledge is enough to decipher whether or not financial organizations are beneficial to me when it comes to managing my finances. I am certain that this is also the case for quite a number of persons.{{more}}

I was prompted to write this article after reflecting on the contributions which friendly societies, and more specifically the Barrouallie Friendly Society, make toward the development of its members and by extension the community.

In all fairness to the members of that organization, they have done a creditable job of achieving the original goals and objectives of the society; that is to ensure that members are taken care of comfortably when they die. They have also contributed financially to schools and other community groups and to students who perform well at common entrance.

Still there is so much more which can be done to lift the standard of living and empower the majority of its members.

In this enlightened world where financial institutions realise the importance of their members and reward them financially by way of interest and /or dividends, why is it that these societies are still being managed the way they are? There is no return on investments for members who sometimes ‘scrunt’ to pay their book every Saturday, so that they remain ‘financial’. And to crown it all, at the end of the year they receive less than their total payment, according to the number of deaths during the year. This is insane! People don’t invest to deliberately receive less than their invested amount.

While it can be argued that the structure of the society does not lend itself to rewarding members by way of interest, it can also be posited that it may be time for a change, maybe it is time for the management team to revisit the constitution, with an aim to provide members with tangible benefits, bearing in mind the three stages in life: change, changes and more change.

Curious George

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