FES, ecdn 2005-2007

In November 2005, questionnaires on the issue of access to financial services for people experiencing poverty and social exclusion with a special focus on the access to accounts and credits were forwarded to experts in 28 European countries.

One of the main components of the European questionnaire was five principles of financial general education, which the respondents based on an assumed Ideal situation were presented. These principles were based on the reactions that the knowledge, experience, and Opinions of the interviewees as well as the participants at a European expert conference reflected, revised.

Although general financial education must be considered an important topic for political measures in the field of social integration and poverty reduction, there are major shortcomings in terms of sufficient awareness of the problem not only among decision-makers, whose work is perceived as inadequate and / or not effective, but also with Financial institutions that are considered insufficient in many countries be assessed with commitment, as well as with individuals who do not always understand the benefits of financial education. Preparatory work must be done on at least three levels: clarifying the problem, the goals to be achieved and the resources available.

The project ended with the following recommendations:

  • Financial literacy is a fundamental instrument for full participation in social, economic and political life and thus strengthens civil rights. As a result, more attention, funding and better coordinated policies should be devoted to the issue.
  • General financial education is to be seen as a continuous, lifelong process that has to be developed and implemented in a comprehensive context and thus goes far beyond purely financial questions.
  • The basis of sustainable programs for general financial education must be the development of specific didactics that must refer to learners and teachers and require appropriate teaching materials.
  • The lifelong learning approach needed to strengthen financial literacy must be taken seriously:
    • Elements of financial education must already be included in the curricula in the first elementary school levels,
    • Information and prevention programs must be used both continuously and selectively in the different sections of a person’s financial life.
  • To record progress and shortcomings in existing projects and instruments, effective and comprehensive evaluation instruments with clear indicators for the quality of financial education programs must be developed.
  • Consultation and dialogue with all important stakeholders who are willing to make both their knowledge and their resources available are essential for the success of financial education programs.
  • In order to get the problem of over-indebtedness and financial exclusion under control, the shared responsibility of consumers, financial service providers and public bodies must be recognized. Financial education programs must therefore go hand in hand with corresponding legislation in the area of ​​consumer protection and debt regulation.

Read the entire report here.