02 SES 11 B, Transitions: Reflections on VET Programs and Practice
Financial literacy has gained more importance in recent years as a core skill for financial well-being due to more sophisticated financial markets, increased complex array of financial products, and socio-economic changes worldwide (OECD, 2005; Atkinson & Messy 2012). Citizens of modern age face the challenge of understanding different types of bank account and cards, online banking, a great variety of credit and savings instruments, different pension arrangements, and types of insurances. They have to navigate among these products and make financial decisions that may affect not only their financial but also psychological well-being (Xu & Zia, 2012). It can be overwhelming for those who have little or no financial literacy. Euro Barometer Survey (2005) showed that considerable amount of people in EU find financial issues complicated, intimidating and even depressing. This can be due to the fact that many consumers do not have an adequate financial background to deal with the financial issues. Result of financial literacy surveys indicated a low level of financial understanding, and a lack of awareness of financial issues and problems even in well-developed economies (Lusardi & Mitchell, 2011; OECD, 2005). Moreover, level of financial literacy is related to certain demographic factors such as gender, income and education level; women and less-educated, those with low income have an acute level of financial literacy (de Bassa Scheresberg, 2013; Mitchell & Lusardi, 2015; Xu & Zia, 2012).
Several studies have shown that financial literacy is related to financial behavior. For example, people with low level of financial literacy are found to be less likely to plan for retirement (Lusardi and Mitchell, 2009, 2011a, 2011c), to accumulate wealth (Stango & Zinman 2009), to participate in the stock market (Van Rooij et al. 2011) and more likely to use high-cost borrowing (de Bassa Scheresberg, 2013). Moreover, it is also well-known that financial literacy contributes not only to the financial well-being of the individuals, but also to the markets for financial services (EC, 2011; Gnann et al., 2007; OECD, 2005).
Parallel to increased awareness in the academia, financial literacy has also received considerable amount of attention from the policy arena. At the national level, governments and banks, including the central banks, have given much consideration to financial literacy and financial education. At the European level, both the European Council and Parliament have determined financial literacy as a priority area and fostered member states to perform necessary actions to increase financial literacy. At the global level, OECD leads the financial literacy and education research and activities, yet World Bank, and UN have also devoted attention to financial literacy. Moreover, transnational initiatives such as Child and Youth Finance International have been working to increase awareness and level of financial literacy around the globe (See EC 2011, Gnann et al., 2007). Despite this amount of attention paid to financial literacy and education, qualitative studies that delve into personal experiences and problems of individuals in financial issues are missing.
Within this framework, this study aims at exploring the financial understanding, behaviors and attitudes of young adults at risk, who are low-skilled adults (18-34 years) with low level of education and ignored most of the time in the current research and projects. Going beyond the numbers, this study strives to provide a deeper and critical understanding to the experiences and problems of young adults in financial issues, and give them a voice and platform to discuss their needs in this area.
Main research question that guides the study is “How do young adults at risk perceive the financial issues in relation to their own lives and what are their needs and demands regarding financial literacy?
Atkinson, A. and F. Messy (2012), Measuring Financial Literacy: Results of the OECD / International Network on Financial Education (INFE) Pilot Study, OECD Working Papers on Finance, Insurance and Private Pensions, No. 15, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k9csfs90fr4-en Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing among five approaches. London: Sage Publications. de Bassa Scheresberg, C. (2013). Financial literacy and financial behavior among young adults: Evidence and implications. Numeracy, 1(2). Article 5. EC. (2011). Review of the initiatives of the European commission in the area of financial education. Working Document of the Internal Market And Services DG. http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/finservices-retail/docs/capability/evaluation_financial_education_en.pdf Gnan, E., Silgoner, M. A., & Weber, B. (2007). Economic and Financial Education: Concepts, goals, and measurement. Monetary Policy & the Economy Q3/2007. OeNB: Vienna EUROBAROMETER (2005). Special Report: Public Opinion in Europe on Financial Services. No: 230. http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/financial_services/reference_studies_documents/docs/report_eurobarometer63-2_en.pdf Mitchell, O. S., & Lusardi, A. (2015). Financial literacy and economic outcomes: Evidence and policy implications. Pension Research Council Working Paper 2015-1. http://www.pensionresearchcouncil.org/publications/document.php?file=1255 Lusardi, A., & Mitchell, O. S. (2011). Financial Literacy around the World: An Overview. Working Paper 17107, NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH. MA, USA. http://www.nber.org/papers/w17107 OECD (2005). Improving Financial Literacy: Analysis of Issues and Policies. http://www.oecd.org/finance/financial-education/improvingfinancialliteracyanalysisofissuesandpolicies.htm Stango, V., & Zinman, J. (2009). Exponential growth bias and household finance. Journal of Finance 64: 2807–2849. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540- 6261.2009.01518.x Van Rooij, M., Lusardi, a., & Alessie. R. (2011). Financial literacy and stock market participation. Journal of Financial Economics 101(2): 449–472. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jfineco.2011.03.006 Xu, L., & Zia, B. (2012). Financial Literacy around the World: An Overview of the Evidence with Practical Suggestions for the Way Forward. Policy Research Working Paper, 6107. http://elibrary.worldbank.org/doi/pdf/10.1596/1813-9450-6107
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