European Money Week promotes financial literacy

The European Money Week starts today. It is an annual initiative by European banking associations to raise public awareness on financial literacy, now running for the third time. As many as 34 European countries participate by sharing their national best practices and events for boosting financial literacy and improving the level of financial education in Europe. The Federation of Finnish Financial Services (FFI) and its member companies also take part in the theme week.

The financial literacy projects of different European countries can be followed on Twitter through @EUMoneyWeek and the official hashtag #EMW2017. They are also presented on the European Money Week website.

Improving the financial literacy of young people is an important theme of responsibility for the Finnish financial sector. All Finns should have adequate knowledge and skills in the management of personal finances, as well as an understanding of how the markets function. Financial knowledge is the best tool to avoid over-indebtedness and payment defaults, and it also helps those interested in doing business or becoming an entrepreneur.

FFI and its member companies have many active financial literacy projects. Examples include producing study materials for elementary and secondary schools, and developing, a gamified learning environment. Zaldo also involves a national competition that tests 15 to 16-year-old students’ financial knowledge. This year’s winners will be announced on 29 March.

FFI and its members also organise the Economic Guru competition for upper secondary schools. The competition tests more advanced financial knowledge, and the winners get options of direct admission to various business schools and universities. This year, Finns over 15 could also enter a vlog contest (#tubetatonni), through which the best vloggers now get to present their views to a European audience during the EMW. The winning video and the two runner-ups can be watched on YouTube:

FFI members have many financial literacy projects

Nordea supports young people through its cooperation with the Economic Information Office. Their ”Young Business Generations” and ”Me & MyCity” projects help around 60,000 students each year, manifesting in over a million hours of learning. Nordea also supports the annual financial literacy competition for 30,000 ninth grade students organised by the Association for Teachers of History and Social Studies (HYOL).

Danske Bank has teamed up with Youth Academy, organising 130 dream workshops in upper secondary schools and vocational schools around Finland. The central idea of the workshops is to ”live for the now” – the students are encouraged to dream big, and then to think how financial management, among other things, could help turn those dreams into concrete plans.

Elo Mutual Pension Insurance Company organises working life events for comprehensive school students. Elo also cooperates with the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, Family Business Network, and Junior Achievement Finland, and supports the Uskalla Yrittää (“be enterprising”) competition. The objective of the cooperation is to encourage young people towards entrepreneurship.

The work to improve financial literacy does not only target those in schools, however. Vamos youth services, for example, runs a project for those affected by or at risk of social exclusion, with hundreds of financial sector employees taking part as volunteers.

Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company gives information and advice for those dreaming of entrepreneurship and those interested in their pension details. Varma’s online tools include, for example, a pension calculator and an electronic pension record to help people keep track of their future income after retirement, and the ”Succeed as an Entrepreneur” (Onnistu Yrittäjänä) online service helps those planning to start their own business or already taking their first steps in it.

Aktia has given financial support to eight Finnish universities this year. The donation was granted to Aalto University School of Business, the Universities of Helsinki, Oulu, Tampere, Turku and Vaasa, the Hanken School of Economics, and to Åbo Akademi University. The purpose of the donations is to secure the universities’ regional vitality and to support the highly esteemed Finnish education system.

Ilmarinen Mutual Pension Insurance Company advises its business clients and their personnel by sharing its knowledge in working life development projects. Information on different pension plans and retirement options and their financial effects will also help employees prepare their personal finances for retirement. Ilmarinen’s Wauhdittamo is an operating model for developing working life together with customers, which has already accumulated 80 ideas that can facilitate both daily work and customers’ daily lives. The student team sparred by Ilmarinen also won the digital innovation challenge competition at Europe’s leading startup and technology event Slush. Ilmarinen will continue its collaboration with the student team.

European Platform for Financial Education

The European Money Week is organised by the European Banking Federation and bank associations across Europe. Earlier this year, EBF and eight other organisations also founded the European Platform for Financial Education. It networks several umbrella organisations in addition to the banking and insurance sectors, with the aim of improving financial literacy especially among young people and entrepreneurs.