18th January 2024

Let’s talk money: Why is it important to ensure the “financial” literacy of your children?

In June 2012, the OECD Council defined financial literacy as “a combination of awareness, knowledge, skill, attitude and behaviour necessary to make sound financial decisions and ultimately achieve individual financial well-being”.The subject is important and of concern to us all.. Among other things, acquiring financial skills enables people to better understand the economic and financial world, make informed decisions and better manage risks. We spoke to Jessica Thyrion, Financial Education Advisor with the ABBL Foundation, about the role of financial education in Luxembourg.

The ABBL Foundation for Financial Education was established in September 2016.

It has four objectives:

  • to raise public awareness of financial literacy,

  • to support professional training in the finance sector,

  • to develop academic programmes in finance via the University of Luxembourg and

  • to encourage research by funding doctorates, post-doctorates and chairs.

On a personal level, why do you think financial literacy is an important topic?

Given the increasing complexity of our socio-economic environment, the polycrisis we have been experiencing in recent years, inflation, and the fact that our financial health has a direct impact on so many other aspects of our lives, it has never been more important then today to understand the basic concepts of the world of finance and why and how best to manage your money. 

It is important, if not essential, to know the ABCs of the economic and financial world. The better every individual understands all the personal aspects and issues linked to money and how it influences all life choices, the more measured and informed these financial decisions will be.  

Conversely, poor financial literacy can result in precarious situations in our lives. Whether it’s a loss of money that could have been predicted, a lack of financial resources in retirement, an increased risk of becoming a victim of financial fraud or over-indebtedness: these are just some of the consequences of financial illiteracy. 

It’s important for everyone to be financially literate, from an early age. As soon as we start planning the broad outlines of our lives, i.e. the direction of our studies or our first job, the purchase of our first car, the first time we rent or buy a home, etc., it becomes clear that these projects involve costs and that we therefore need to consider the financial dimension of all these life projects.  

This also applies to future entrepreneurs. While managing personal finances may seem relatively straightforward, financial management is a much more complex task for people with entrepreneurial ambitions.  

What is the current state of financial literacy in Luxembourg?

There is a multitude of initiatives in this field for all kinds of people. Unfortunately, these initiatives are not coordinated and lack visibility. In collaboration with the CSSF and with the help of an ad hoc working group (bringing together several ministries, socio-educational players, professional associations from the finance sector and the consumers’ union Union Luxembourgeoise des Consommateurs), our Foundation updated the national financial literacy strategy last summer. The recommendations made include: the introduction of financial literacy into the school curriculum and the promotion and coordination of all national initiatives. 

 The good news is that through its coalition agreement in November, the new Luxembourg government announced its intention to put in place measures to improve financial literacy among all citizens, in particular through basic financial education in primary and secondary schools! 

Let’s talk about the results for Luxembourg residents in the study on the financial culture of adults recently published by the OECD…

The results of this international survey are striking for all the countries that took part (39). Luxembourg is no exception...  

  • 53% of Luxembourg residents attained the minimum score required to be considered financially literate 

  • Only 65% answered the questions assessing basic knowledge correctly 

As regards Luxembourg’s ranking for the youngest age group (18-29), they were placed 

  • 24th in terms of financial knowledge 

  • 15th in terms of Digital Financial literacy 

You will find more infos on these results here: https://www.abbl.lu/en/professionals/how-financially-literate-are-luxembourg-residents  

as well as

PISA 2022 Financial Literacy Framework | PISA 2022 Assessment and Analytical Framework | OECD iLibrary (oecd-ilibrary.org) 

Could you tell us about the initiatives the ABBL is working on with its Foundation?

The Foundation is in constant dialogue with all stakeholders (teachers, students, socio-educational professionals, financial sector players, etc.) to identify initiatives to raise awareness and provide training on specific issues (over-indebtedness, digital banking for senior citizens, budget management for all, etc.).  
 
In the field, the Foundation can use its network of volunteer trainers and its tools (e.g. Sécher am internet, Money Odyssey) to raise awareness, inform and train the general public on a wide range of issues. 

And if all this were possible, how do you envision a strong financial literacy culture being established in Luxembourg?

Like everywhere else in the world, lifting the taboo around money would be an excellent place to start. Studies show that people prefer to say how much they weigh rather than how much they have in their savings account! Then supporting the youngest consumers of today and tomorrow in their everyday behaviour. Raising awareness of sustainable consumption overall. 

Studies show that people prefer to say how much they weigh rather than how much they have in their savings account!
Jessica Thyrion

For the parents reading this article, could you give them some advice and sources on how to find out more and talk to their children about money?

Here are a few tips: 

  • Talk about the subject as early as possible. 

  • Teach your children responsibility by giving them pocket money, however little it is. 

  • Help your children understand that there are always solutions to financial problems, whether for children or adults. 

  • Don’t lecture them if their choices aren’t what you would do... they’ll learn on their own. 

Resources

  • Money Odyssey - Mobile app: learning while having fun.  

  • Woch vun de Suen – Introduction to budget management for Cycle 4 pupils – 18 to 22 March 2024 

  • Workshops for secondary school students: budget management / sustainable finance - on request 

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