Lunch seminar: How can children and young people learn about private economy?
On 27 March Money Week kicks off with a lunch seminar organized by the banks and the Swedish Bankers’ Association at the Royal Coin Cabinet.
The general message to young people when it comes to private economy is to have a long term perspective, set goals, save money and avoid expensive loans or purchases on credit. But are children and young people able to take on board these advise? When are they susceptible to knowledge about private economy?
The seminar is introduced by Elin Helander, cognitive scientist, talking about research on the brain and behavior in relation to money. Charlotta Bay, researcher in economic communication, will present findings on how to talk about economy to children in a comprehensible manner. Sergej Belinski, entrepreneur in digital development, will introduce gamification. Can gaming be a source of inspiration when teaching private economy? The introductory presentations will be followed by a panel in which participate e.g. a teacher, the Consumer Agency producing financial education teaching material and the banks’ private economists.
Chat with the banks’ private economists
During Money Week the banks’ private economists, together with one of the major newspapers, Expressen, will run a daily chat. Different subjects will be raised every day, e.g. children and saving, how to make a family budget and what to think about when buying a place to live.
Money Week Challenge
Money Week Challenge is a financial education contest with participating high school students from all over the country. On 31 March, the last day of Money Week, the final takes place in Stockholm at the Royal Coin Cabinet. The winning class will have their picture displayed on a screen on Times Square in New York. The Money Week Challenge is organised by among others The Financial Supervisory Authority, Swedbank and the Savings Banks, organisations for students and young investors, Nasdaq and the Royal Coin Cabinet.
Lectures for children and young people during Money Week
Ekonomipejl is Nordea’s financial education programme for upper secondary school and high school students. During Money Week Ekonomipejl organises lectures at 15 places in the country.
Lectures in private economy and study visits at bank branches
Through the programme Ung Ekonomi, Swedbank and the Savings Banks provide lectures in private economy in schools. During Money Week there will be more lectures than normal in upper secondary schools and high schools. In addition, study visits in bank branches will be organised. The magazine “Lyckoslanten” (the lucky coin) reaching 10-12 years old school children is distributed in 340 000 copies (a teacher’s guide enables its use when teaching).
Discussions on dreams and private economy during Money Week
Länsförsäkringar, together with My Dream Now, gathers 80 upper secondary school students for a half day discussion on why it is key to have a sound private economy to be able to reach goals and Dreams.
Key actors in financial education and financial literacy
Throughout the year in Sweden there are activities all over the country to increase financial awareness and knowledge among young people. Banks, organisations, consumer bureaus – all share knowledge aimed to inspire and empower consumers.
Helping young people to understand household economy and the importance of reflective financial planning is key to ensuring that later in life they are aware of the dangers of over indebtedness. To accomplish this, hundreds of bank employees visit schools and work with educators spreading this understanding to approximately 50 000 students each year.
But financial education is not only about school children and students. There are also several activities to reach adults and seniors – for example to introduce them to new digital bank solutions – and mentorship programmes give students support when taking their first steps out in adult life.
The Swedish government has established a national strategy for financial education to empower consumers on the financial market. In 2008 the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen) was assigned the task of implementing the strategy. A budget amounting to some 731 000 EUR has been earmarked to distribute information and initiate private economic educational programmes for the public. The Authority has created the network ‘Like your finances’ (Gilla din ekonomi) which includes more than 60 authorities, financial organisations, banks, occupational pension funds, unions etc. Participants contribute by providing knowledge and time.
All information and activities is impartial and based on facts. Although private actors, such as banks, may not use brand names or sell their products within the framework of these activities, they invest important resources in active participation, i.e. for goodwill reasons. There are teaching modules targeting employees, pensioners, students at secondary schools and immigrants in municipal language training programmes. The strategic model used – ‘teach-the-teacher’/’train-the trainer’ – implies the education of key persons who in their turn will bring the knowledge to a wider audience. The programmes reach by these means unions, adult educational associations, organisations for pensioners, schoolteachers, teachers of classes for newly arrived immigrants, companies, municipalities and public service television. For instance representatives from the trade unions follow a two-day course held by the network members, they receive a 3 hour PowerPoint presentation and a manuscript (which can be modified following their specific audience) enabling them to hold their own lectures with trade union members.
The course curriculum includes modules about household budget, paying bills, insurance, taxes, savings (incl. funds, shares, risks and return) and public and occupational pension.
Swedish Bankers’ Association & Members
The independent Swedish Consumers’ Banking and Finance Bureau, financed by the banks provides consumers neutral information and guidance with regard to financial services. The Bureau is an independent agency financed by the Swedish Bankers’ Association, the Swedish Investment Fund Association and the Swedish Association of Securities dealers. The principals are, besides the financers, the Swedish Consumer Agency and the Financial Supervisory Authority. On the Bureau’s webpage consumers find information on different financial services and tools making it possible to compare the banks’ products and services, e.g. interest rates on saving accounts and loans, debt/credit card fees and conditions and bank services. In addition the Bureau participates in consumer education through ‘Like your finances’ (see above) and the Consumer Agency’s education program for municipality consumer counsellors.
Many banks actively work to increase people’s knowledge of personal finance, both within the framework of ‘Like your finances’ and separately. A large number of bank employees visit schools to discuss personal finance/household economy with children and young adults. For high school students there are mentor programmes organised by banks. Textbooks, magazines, brochures etc. have been produced. The banks’ private economists have lengthy experience in general education in personal finance and regularly appear in the media.
One major bank together with the Savings Banks distribute the magazine “Lyckoslanten” (the lucky coin) for free 4 times a year in 340 000 copies reaching 10-12 years old school children in all schools, also providing a teacher’s guide to enable its use when teaching.
Lower school students get some education in financial matters/household budgeting when studying home economics in high school (13-16 year old students). Household economics is also part of social studies the first year of secondary education. The Consumer Agency publishes every year a brochure ‘Have control over your money’ (Koll på pengarna) to be used during classes, but also by adults, on how to make a budget, costs and tips related to moving from home and reference costs for daily life purchases. Another tool developed by the Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority for school education purposes (targeting the 13-24 years old) is a website on young people’s consumption, ‘Young consumer’ (Ungkonsument.se) including a financial part on savings, payment, loans and keeping a budget.
There are consumer counsellors in most Swedish municipalities. Besides providing citizens consumer advice, many of them visit schools informing about consumer legislation and how to act in financial matters. Regarding more specific financial issues the counsellors often refer to the Swedish Consumers’ Banking and Finance Bureau.
Money Week Challenge
Although financial education is something happening during the whole year and not only for a week, Money Week 2016 is an excellent occasion to raise awareness about financial education. In 2016, several activities and events were planned during Money Week, some organised between banks, others by the Financial Supervisory Authority and/or individually by the banks or other organisations.
Money Week 2016 started with a discussion organised by the banks and the Swedish Bankers’ Association at the Royal Coin Cabinet. The subject was most important: Do young people leaving school, moving from home, have sufficient knowledge about private economy to be able to make the right decisions and avoid ending up over indebted? Panel participants included the Minister for Financial Markets and Consumer Affairs, Per Bolund, the banks’ private economists, and high profile representatives from the Financial Supervisory Authority, the Swedish Enforcement Authority, the Consumer Agency, the Organisation for Municipal budget and debt advisers, and of course students. The aim was to take a common step forward: Who does what, what can be improved and how do we communicate private economy matters in a way that is engaging for students?
During Money Week 2016 the Financial Supervisory Authority launched a new webpage. By clicking on a map or entering the location of the school the teacher gets information about which local bankers, organisations etc. to turn to. The Financial Supervisory Authority, together with a major bank, the Savings Banks, and other actors also organized a new financial education contest for school children: Money Week Challenge.
Example of good practice
On several banks’ websites you can find information on how to make a household budget, how to handle day to day economic matters and personal finance. To raise knowledge and awareness among children there are interactive games and apps.
Financial education part of curriculum? Yes (part of other subjects)
PISA financial literacy ranking (OECD, 2012): did not take part