With 4% of all households in Luxembourg being overindebted (12% for Europe), the Luxembourg Banker´s Association launched a financial education programme. Invited by INFINE (the Inclusive Finance Network), Jessica Thyrion and Philipp von Restorff presented from the ABBL, presented the background and the different activities on March 2 2015 which will happen next week.
After the financial crises in 2009, due to increasingly complex financial services which are more and more easy to access, an aging population and a general financial vulnerability among people, the Luxembourg government saw the need for measures to prevent overindebtedness. Rather than working retroactively when people had already signed a loan contract which they were not able to service comfortably, they wanted preventive measures. This goes in line with my previous blog “Minimum borrowing age of 21?!” where I write about how an FT commentary was proposing to install this minimum age since so many US students do not seem to be able to handle their student debt.
The Luxembourg Banker´s association developed a financial education targeted initially at youth with the objective to
a) have them realize a clearer and more organized view of their finances;
b) educate them about consumption patterns and consequences;
c) teach them about how an economy works;
d) comprehend basic financial principles.
Twenty-five other European countries will participate in the European Money Week. In Luxembourg, the Woch vun de Suen will have financial education classes in 23 schools with more than 500 pupils. The classes are primarily targeted at kids and organised around 4 different topics: introduction, shopping, planning, and saving.
However a future curriculum for adults is already planned. Material and training has been provided by My Finance Coach, a recognized German institute for training in teaching and for educational materials dedicated to teachers, coaches and students.
This is exciting! During my time at Procredit in Kinshasa we gave financial education classes for kids in schools. My staff loved these half days explaining kids the concept of interest (“if you do not need your candy, the next time around you will get another one”), what a bank is and how it functions, how a country´s economy works, and learning about where the kids keep their little savings, and what projects they have for the future. However, we were a bank and we learned a whole lot about our young clients, how to design our products and target out messages and I am convinced that a Spuerkess, or BGL here in Luxembourg could also benefit from participating in some of these financial education sessions. Maybe not alone, but in partnership with another coach.
For those more interested in the initiatives of other European countries, please have a look at the website of the European Banking Federation. In addition, there is a whole document “Financial Education – Special focus on children and youth describing some of the initiatives in 26 European countries