From poverty to financial freedom

Bruce Scott helping people avoid money mistakes

Bruce Scott’s story is not unlike that of a number of Jamaicans who have pulled themselves out of poverty to financial security. However, where he parts company with many of those individuals is that he has been on a crusade to share his knowledge of money management because, as he puts it, “You have the right to be financially free and live securely.”

Since 2020 Scott, the current territory leader and senior partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Jamaica  a member firm of PwC International Limited, one of the largest professional services networks in the world  has been coaching people on how to avoid ‘money mistakes’ through his 14 Steps to Financial Freedom course, conducted online and in person.

The course is the outgrowth of webinars he previously hosted on the issue.

Moved by growing response to the course Scott, in February 2023, launched a book giving even more strategies on how to achieve financial independence. The book, naturally titled 14 Steps to Financial Freedom, has been doing extremely well in a number of countries and, true to his nature, Scott has donated copies to individuals who need the advice but are not in a position to make a purchase.

“The book was written to help working adults who are living pay cheque-to-pay cheque and students who are not formally taught, because financial literacy is not taught in schools really,” Scott told the Jamaica Observer.

Bruce Scott autographs a copy of his book 14 Steps to Financial Freedom for Wolmer’s Boys’ School student David Wiltshire after sharing financial management advice with students. Scott visits schools where he shares his knowledge on financial literacy with students and teachers as part of his push to help people better manage their finances.

Financially literacy, he noted, is taught in high schools in only 21 of the 52 states in the USA.

“That’s about 40 per cent, so 60 per cent don’t teach it, and in the Caribbean and many parts of the world it’s worse than that,” Scott said, adding that the book is simply his way of trying to help solve the problem of financial literacy not being taught in schools.

“I see the impact of that, and I’m just being intentional with my own resources to get the message out. It is a way to help young persons especially, because they have time on their side. It is a formula or road map as to how to break intergenerational poverty,” he added.

Scott’s life story gives him legitimacy to share this type of advice.

Born in the gritty, low-income and often volatile inner-city community of Southside in Central Kingston, Scott grew up in a large tenement yard in the period in Jamaica’s history when political violence stoked deep fear in residents of communities like his.

He is the eldest of four children for his mother Janet Shepherd who worked at a garment factory before branching out on her own as a dressmaker working from home.

“My family was financially poor; however, we were rich in spirit and ambition,” Scott is quoted in the media kit used to promote his book. “My family taught me the value and power of education, which was pushed and emphasised.”

His academic achievements demonstrate how well he absorbed those lessons.

After his early education at Holy Family Primary and Infant School in Central Kingston, Scott earned a place at Jamaica College (JC).

In September 1990 he went to work as an audit trainee in PwC Jamaica’s Kingston office and while there he studied to become a chartered accountant through the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica (ICAJ).

At age 21 he passed the United Kingdom’s Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) examination, a national record at the time that set the accounting community abuzz as there was recognition that Scott, who was still living in Southside, was a special Jamaican.

He eventually moved out of Southside in 1995 and since then has been making impressive strides up the corporate ladder, becoming the one of the youngest partners in the history of PwC Jamaica at age 32.

Today, in addition to his ACCA (UK) credential, Scott holds an MBA in finance, is a certified public accountant through the state of Colorado, USA, and is highly regarded as an international personal finance specialist.

He said that over the years he has come to realise that many Jamaicans are not exposed to financial literacy.

“These individuals were making what I would call serious money mistakes. Somebody would have, for example, $200,000 in their savings account, but they’re also carrying expensive credit card debt for like $110,000 and they feel good to know that they have the $200,000 in savings because at least they have some money,” he said.

“But I’m saying, you’re paying 40 per cent interest on the credit card, but your savings account is giving you, depending on the bank, on average less then one per cent. I’ve had to spend time explaining to some people why they need to take the savings and knock out the high interest credit card debt. That’s the kind of money mistakes that I’m talking about,” he explained.

His book is described as a guide that helps readers build income and remedy financial deficiencies, increase savings for a more secure retirement, build a rainy day fund, reduce debt mountains, understand the rules of investing, and protect new wealth. It also features 14 practical money journal assignments to attain financial freedom.

Locally, 14 Steps to Financial Freedom is on shelves at Sangster’s Book Stores and Fontana Pharmacy. It is also available online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, BAM, Indie Bound, Indigo Books and Music, and Chapters.

On Amazon it can be accessed in various formats, among them Kindle (ebook), as well as in audio, paperback and hard cover.

Scott said that since the book’s release sales have climbed significantly and some readers have described it as a road map to financial stability.

He insisted, though, that his mission goes beyond selling books.

“I grew up in an inner-city community. I never had any big business to inherit, but I used the power of education and good money management skills to be totally debt free,” he told the Sunday Observer.

As part of his commitment to giving back to his alma mater, Scott visits JC annually to impart his knowledge to students and teachers. He has also visited other schools, multiple churches and poverty-stricken communities to talk about financial literacy, sharing copies of his book.

“When you’re better able to manage money, then you’re gonna have more resources, you’re gonna learn how to invest, and you’re gonna learn how to grow your money. That can put you in a better position to be, what I’m calling in the latter part of the book, a good neighbour,” said Scott.

“You can help to build your communities; we can help those in need — the weak, the naked, the vulnerable,” he added.

“You will have less poverty, which is a contributing factor to many challenges in our society. So the way I talk about financial freedom is, I link it to getting a good education. Right away I am saying that’s the biggest wealth-building tool that you have — to try and get as much education as possible,” he said.

“Many of us leave high school, college, and even our parents’ homes without the financial knowledge needed to help secure our financial futures in an increasingly complex world,“ Scott argued.

“Thankfully, it’s not too late for you to learn how to manage your money and obtain wealth. Instead of focusing only on increasing the size of your pay cheque, dig also into your behaviour and how much you are able to save and invest from that income,” Scott advised.




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This course provides financial education only and is for financial empowerment. Please, therefore, talk to your advisors before you make any decision relating to your financial affairs. This course does not guarantee financial success as each person’s situation and dedication to change is different. The author takes no responsibility for any loss incurred by anyone who has taken the course.