FINMAN+: charting financial literacy needs and learning preferences among youth

After the successful completion of the project FINMAN , Ruse Chamber of Commerce and Industry wanted to expand on the concept with a new project proposal, focusing on the needs of young people as well as adult educators, working on this topic. Forming a new consortium, RCCI suggested a new approach to identifying those needs - conducting focus groups and discussions with each partner in their respective country.

Here's what we found:

Fundación Empresa Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain (FEUZ)

The FEUZ focus group, consisting of staff involved in internships, career guidance, and training, identified several key points for enhancing financial literacy programs. They stressed the importance of selecting strategic, relevant topics that align with real-world financial challenges, acknowledging diverse knowledge levels among learners, and customizing content to meet the specific needs of both teachers and students. Emphasis was also placed on providing practical, applicable content through real-world examples and case studies, and the necessity of continuous professional development for educators to stay updated on financial trends and teaching methodologies. Participating educators stated that identifying the entry level of trainees is crucial for the effective and meaningful education process.

Italian Chamber of Commerce in Denmark (Danitacom)

Danitacom developed and sent a survey to relevant stakeholders. The main conclusions from the answers received:

  • Level of Awareness and Management: Respondents exhibit a range of financial literacy awareness, with some admitting lack of knowledge and others actively managing their finances through budgeting and investment tracking. One respondent uses an app for spending tracking, highlighting the adoption of digital tools in personal finance management.
  • Topics of Interest: There's a wide interest in various financial literacy topics, including personal budgeting, fintech, cyber security, online banking, investments (stocks, passive indexes, real estate), and blockchain. This diversity reflects a broad spectrum of areas where individuals seek knowledge, from basic money management to more advanced investment and technology-related subjects.
  • Methodology and Pedagogical Preferences: Preferences for training methodologies vary significantly among respondents. Suggestions include a desire for historical context, practical strategies, books, webinars, courses offered by banks or universities, and in-person education. This indicates a demand for a mix of theoretical knowledge and practical application, delivered through a variety of formats.
  • Technical Performance and Online Environment: Respondents have utilized different training platforms for financial education, including university courses, Udemy, Coursera, and other online resources. This suggests an openness to online learning, albeit with a noted preference among some for traditional, in-person educational experiences.

The Association of S.A. and Entrepreneurship, Greece (SAE-E)

The SAE-E focus group for the FINMAN+ project, involving young adults and educators, revealed a consensus on basic financial management skills, with a majority acknowledging room for improvement outside formal education. Key interests included personal budgeting, savings, investments, and understanding financial systems. Preferences for training delivery leaned towards online and blended learning methods. Innovative suggestions for course improvements emphasized practical, relatable examples, interactive webinars, workshops, and case studies. The use of popular platforms like Duolingo and Moodle was noted, with calls for content to be concise, video-rich, and focused on real-life scenarios.

Training center Emphasys, Cyprus

The Emphasys focus group, involving young people, showed a general discomfort with financial matters, with many relying on parental or peer advice for financial decisions. There's a notable lack of planning for future savings or investments among the young participants. Interest areas include personal budgeting, savings/retirement planning, loans, investments (stocks, cryptocurrency), alternative income sources due to high inflation, and taxes. Preferred learning methods are videos, simple flashcards, and concise text, emphasizing the need for straightforward, easily digestible content. Moodle and Coursera were mentioned as commonly used platforms, highlighting a preference for user-friendly and navigable online learning tools.

UPI Ljudska univerza Žalec, Slovenia (UPI)

The UPI focus group, consisting of unemployed individuals aged 19-34, expressed a low to very low level of financial literacy. They typically use pen and paper or Excel for basic tracking of expenses, without strategic or detailed financial planning. Key interests include investing basics, using Excel for financial planning, saving strategies, credit management, and understanding mutual funds and ETFs. Participants highlighted the need for motivational and practical training, incorporating real-life examples, and a mix of live and online sessions. Moodle was mentioned as a familiar platform.

Falco & Associati, Italy (Falco)

The Falco focus group, comprising young adults aged 15-24, revealed a general lack of financial literacy, particularly in complex areas not directly involving them. While there's growing awareness of financial literacy's importance, many lack the necessary skills for effective economic management. Participants showed interest in online banking, cyber security, and understanding contracts and payrolls, but expressed disinterest in taxes and pensions. Preferred learning methods include interactive, practical training with short videos, exercises, and gamification. Commonly used platforms include Moodle, Google Classroom, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Babbel, and Duolingo.

Ruse Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bulgaria (RCCI)

RCCI conducted focus groups with students from Ruse University, and found that they are not very confident in their financial literacy skills. The students were not interested in most of the topics, somewhat excluding investment and cybersecurity. The general consensus was that their financial literacy skills are “good enough” for what they were working with. As for the teaching styles and methods, preferences were expressed towards interactive learning, gamification, short lectures, videos and live interaction with professionals. 

Thanks to the effort of all partners, and the results received, we hope to better address the needs of young people when it comes to financial literacy - an increasingly relevant topic for people of all ages and locations.

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