The level of financial literacy of the Estonian residents is good

According to the results of the international financial literacy study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), financial knowledge of the Estonian residents is on a good level compared to that in other countries, however, this does not show in their financial behaviour. Although the Estonian residents have a basic knowledge of financial services, their behaviour and attitudes towards financial matters are not corresponding to their knowledge.

In comparison between 30 countries, financial knowledge of the Estonian residents was in the third place, but financial behaviour only in the 24th place. The OECD international financial literacy study used the results of a study conducted and made public in Estonia last year.

The study focused on the analysis and benchmarking of three areas between countries: financial knowledge or wisdom in money matters, financial behaviour and attitudes concerning long-term planning of financial matters. Wisdom in money matters is a set of skills, knowledge and behaviours necessary for making wise decisions in money matters and for ensuring economic well-being for the family. Financial literacy means, for example, the knowledge how to draft a family budget, basic knowledge about investment and an economising and responsible attitude concerning money.

According to the results, it appeared that financial knowledge of the Estonian residents is on a good level as compared with the other countries. In comparison between 30 countries, the Estonian residents hold the third place after Hong Kong and South Korea. Finland follows Estonia in the fourth place. The Estonian residents themselves thought that their knowledge in the area of money matters was lower than the average knowledge in the country  actually, their knowledge was better.

As to the financial behaviour, however, the Estonian residents are only in the 24th place. Hungary, Poland, Turkey, and Brazil rank behind Estonia. The residents of France showed the best results in financial behaviour.

The attitudes of the Estonian residents concerning the planning of money matters rank in the middle of the 30 countries, in the 14th place. The residents of New Zealand hold the first place.

The results of the study indicate the general need to promote financial literacy. The OECD report on financial literacy recommends that Estonia should find possibilities and solutions that influence and improve primarily the financial behaviour of the residents.

The Ministry of Finance, in collaboration with private and public institutions and organisations, has elaborated and is implementing a programme for promoting the financial literacy of the residents of Estonia from 2013-2020. The three main objectives set for this programme are: the residents should be aware of the necessity to plan their financial matters and their attitudes should support wise decision-making in financial matters, the residents should understand the financial services and should know how to arrange their money matters using the financial services in each stage of their lives, and the financial services should be offered responsibly.

The programme highlights the importance of promoting financial education by providing a single framework for the activities relating to the promotion of financial literacy in Estonia. In addition, the programme provides unified objectives for many activities of public and private organisations, and this way the most important courses of action are provided for the current and future initiatives.

A total of 30 countries participated in the study, including 17 OECD member countries. At least 1,000 respondents in age group 18-79 participated from each country.

Please find the 2016 comparative study at the OECD home page. Please find the results and summary of the study conducted and made public in Estonia last year here, on the home page of the Ministry of Finance.

Source: Estonian Ministry of Finance

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