Why Financial Literacy is So Important to European Gen Z - YPulse (2024)

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Why Financial Literacy is So Important to European Gen Z - YPulse (1)

  • Jan 25 2024

Financial literacy is a priority for many young Europeans, and brands can step in to help them grow their skills

TL;DR

  • Financial literacy is the top skill young Europeans wish they were taught at school
  • Many trust social media and “finfluencers” to help them learn finance tools to better budget their lives—with TikTok being their go-to
  • Over four in five young European parents want to teach the next gen about financial literacy

Nearly nine in ten young Europeans have seen their bills increase in the past year according to YPulse research. And for a long time, their salaries didn’t catch up with inflation either: only very recently did wages rise faster than inflation, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics. But as more and more young Europeans look closely at their finances to cut down where they can, they’re realizing they’re lacking the financial skills that could help them to properly build a budget, and make finance-savvy decisions. And while they’d hope to get this knowledge in schools, the reality is that they’ll take it wherever they can get it in the meantime—whether that’s on social media, or more reliably from a brand with expertise.

In YPulse’s Education report, we ask 13-39-year-olds what skill students should be taught at school, as an open-ended question* so we can best capture their answers without sway from a pre-written list of responses. We also ask why these skills are so important to them—and for their top response, it’s clear that finance is a life skill they feel all future generations should be equipped with. Without any prompting, Gen Z and Millennials in Europe are in wide agreement that financial literacy is the top skill missing from their formal education:

Financial literacy is the top skill young Europeans would like students to learn

The top skill young Europeans think schools should be teaching, but aren’t, is financial literacy—even before sex education and real-life ethics. This subject includes everything from understanding some key financial tools like budgeting, investing, and saving to adult necessities like doing their own taxes, according to their full responses. And while YPulse asks this question in the context of our Education report, it’s clear young Europeans would like to learn about financial literacy from other key influences in their lives: families, friends, and even brands.

Brands in the finance industry certainly have a special role in helping young Europeans develop their financial literacy skills—and for good reasons. Data from YPulse’s Fintech report shows nearly nine in ten European 13-39-year-olds are after education materials from financial companies, with personal savings advice, quick tips, and investment simulators being the most sought-after materials. But many financial brands haven’t adapted their services to cater to the need of the younger gen, like showing them content in bit-size videos, which YPulse data shows is how the next gen is learning best.

More start-ups are popping up devoted to filling this gap and empowering young people to learn more about their finances. GoHenry, a U.K.-based fintech app, is one of the pioneers in this field. The app even started a petition to make financial literacy a mandatory topic at schools to bridge the so-called “financial capability gap.” But while young Europeans have legitimate expectations from financial institutions, they aren’t waiting for them to teach themselves financial skills: as with pretty much anything in life, young Europeans turn to social media to gain new skills.

Young Europeans would also appreciate help to fill in their taxes, too

YPulse’s Fintech Report reveals that more than two in five young Europeans trust social media for reliable financial advice, with TikTok emerging as a top platform. YPulse consistently reports that contrary to its reputation as a platform for short, funny videos, TikTok has become the go-to source for Gen Z and Millennials to learn real-life skills. The rise of the hashtag #FinTok and numerous “finfluencers” underscores TikTok’s influence in shaping financial literacy among European Gen Z. These gens have been fueling the emergence of the hashtag #TaxTok on TikTok, too, using it to get a better and more practical understanding of their tax returns to save money. And if schools don’t add finance into the curriculum like these gens hope, social media will likely be a learning source for Gen Alpha, too.

Young European parents will educate their kids about finance

In addition to the recent economic downturn, there are cultural reasons why financial literacy is the top skill young Europeans think they ought to have learned at school. Many young people in Western Europe (especially older Millennials) have been brought up in an environment where talking about money around the family table was taboo. Traditionally, European families don’t openly talk about money in their homes and are even less likely to teach practical financial skills, leaving many young Europeans ill-equipped to make financial decisions later in life.

But young European parents are going to change this cultural trait in the future, with YPulse’s data from Fintech report showing over four in five young parents say they want their children to learn about personal finance management as soon as possible. What this means is that the hush culture around money and personal finances is likely to change in Western Europe as more Gen Z and Millennials become parents. Just like they’re doing with mental health, these gens feel compelled to break the traditional taboos to have more honest conversations and give their kids the practical skills they need to navigate their future.

*This open-end response question allows YPulse to capture the full range of skills that 13-39-year-old Europeans say they’d think they should learn at school but aren’t—without pre-written options shaping their responses.As with any open-end question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are most popular, and are qualitative information. The lists are ranked according to the number of responses received for each, and alphabetically when ties occurred.In this list, responses of “none” or “N/A” have been omitted from the ranking.

7/19/23

Education Report

This year’s Education Report examines how many students plan to go to college and their top con...

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As a financial literacy enthusiast with extensive knowledge in the field, it's evident that the importance of financial education is gaining traction among young Europeans. The provided article sheds light on the key concepts and trends related to financial literacy in Western Europe, and I'll break down the information while providing insights based on my expertise:

  1. Financial Literacy as a Priority:

    • The article highlights that financial literacy is the top skill young Europeans wish they were taught in school. This sentiment is rooted in the recognition that understanding financial tools, such as budgeting, investing, and saving, is crucial for making informed financial decisions.
  2. Learning Sources:

    • Young Europeans are turning to social media, particularly platforms like TikTok, for financial education. The emergence of "finfluencers" and the hashtag #FinTok on TikTok indicate a shift in the perception of social media as a valuable source of real-life skills, including financial literacy.
  3. Parental Involvement:

    • Over four in five young European parents express a desire to teach their children about financial literacy. This commitment reflects a cultural shift, especially among older Millennials, where the traditional taboo around discussing money in families is being challenged. Young parents want to break this silence and equip their children with practical financial skills.
  4. Economic Context:

    • YPulse's research indicates that nearly nine in ten young Europeans have experienced an increase in their bills in the past year. Additionally, it mentions that wages have only recently started rising faster than inflation. This economic context underscores the urgency for young individuals to enhance their financial skills to navigate challenges such as rising costs.
  5. Role of Financial Brands:

    • Financial institutions are identified as having a special role in helping young Europeans develop their financial literacy skills. However, the article notes that many financial brands have yet to adapt their services to cater to the learning preferences of the younger generation, such as providing content in bite-size videos.
  6. Start-ups Filling the Gap:

    • The article mentions the emergence of start-ups like GoHenry, a U.K.-based fintech app, which aims to bridge the "financial capability gap" by empowering young people to learn more about their finances. This highlights the entrepreneurial efforts directed towards addressing the need for financial education among the youth.
  7. Social Media Trust:

    • Social media, especially TikTok, has become a trusted source for financial advice, with more than two in five young Europeans relying on these platforms. The rise of the hashtag #TaxTok on TikTok suggests that young individuals are turning to social media for practical insights into areas like tax returns.

In conclusion, the article underscores the growing demand for financial education among young Europeans, the evolving role of social media in fulfilling this need, and the changing cultural dynamics around discussing money within families. Brands and educational initiatives have the opportunity to play a significant role in addressing the financial literacy gap among the youth in Western Europe.

Why Financial Literacy is So Important to European Gen Z - YPulse (2024)
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