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Fed/GFLEC Financial Literacy Seminar Series

November 18, 2021

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM ET

Seminar III: Proposal for a national strategy to promote financial literacy in Finland

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Anu Raijas, Distinguished Speaker

Financial Literacy Adviser, Bank of Finland

LOCATION

Online

Bio: Anu Raijas

Anu Raijas (Ph.D., Adjunct Professor) works currently at the Bank of Finland as a financial literacy adviser. In 2020, she led the project in writing the first national strategy of financial education in Finland. Earlier she has worked among other organizations at the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, National Consumer Research Centre, the University of Helsinki. She has studied and led research projects about financial literacy, the structure and development of consumption, the financial decision-making of families and couples, the adequacy of basic security, and overindebtedness.

Abstract

By the joint agreement of the Bank of Finland, the Ministry of Justice and other key authorities, the Bank of Finland initiated in February 2020 the coordination of activities related to the promotion of financial literacy and, based on this, prepared a proposal for a national strategy.

Finland’s national strategy for financial literacy is based on substantive facts and analyses. The strategy takes into account the starting level of Finns’ financial literacy, the conditions prevailing in the market and the societal situation. The strategy was created in close collaboration with key researchers and actors in the field. This will promote the adoption of the strategy, commitment to it, and acting in accordance with it. The OECD’s International Network on Financial Education (INFE) guidelines, and examples from other countries have been utilised in the financial literacy strategy.

The mission of Finland’s financial literacy strategy is to make people understand the importance of finances in their own lives and to act in their own finances in an ethical and sustainable way. The vision of the strategy is for Finns’ financial literacy to be the best in the world by 2030.

Improving the financial literacy of citizens will generate wellbeing for the whole national economy, for all of its sectors. For private individuals, this means that they are able to make good financial decisions and avoid difficulties with their finances.

The main steering instrument of the strategy is a function to be established in Finland that will help coordinate the work of dozens of private and third-sector actors in Finland, which is currently fragmented and partly duplicated. Through coordination, the promotion of financial literacy will become more systematic and goal-oriented, and it will monitor changes in the economic operating environment. When financial literacy work is done in the future in line with the strategy, resources will be used more efficiently, good practices will spread to be utilised by more actors, cooperation and synergy will be improved between different actors, and the effectiveness of activities will be increased.

To implement the strategy, a practical action plan will be prepared at national level, which will specify the measures to be undertaken, the actors implementing them and their timetables and goals. The plan will also agree on the division of responsibilities and cooperation. Although the quality and impartiality of work promoting financial literacy has been attended to well in Finland, it will also be important to ensure these aspects in future.

Easy-to-find and low-threshold advisory and information services should be established for selection and decision-making situations in citizens’ financial affairs. Actors engaged in work promoting financial literacy also need compiled, up-to-date information on actors, activities, data and materials.

The implementation of the strategy must be monitored and evaluated. This will be best achieved by evaluating the results and impacts of activities, as it is possible to verify them and to do so successfully also in the short term. Results and impacts must be measured systematically both on a general level as well as for individual target groups, projects and actions. The implementation of the national strategy for financial literacy requires the involvement of an interdisciplinary research community, which will ensure the development of research in the field.

The national strategy for financial literacy will have one owner, who will undertake to be responsible for the implementation of the strategy and enable the promotion of financial literacy in the network of actors. In Finland, the management of the financial literacy strategy is most naturally suited to the Ministry of Justice. The governance model for monitoring, controlling and coordinating the implementation of the financial literacy strategy must be light, but effectively serve the implementation of the strategy. A specific issue with regard to the strategy is the need to resolve the funding of activities, particularly for the third sector, and to establish and maintain a research network.