A survey commissioned by OP reveals that many young people excelled in handling their finances during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is still scope for improving financial literacy, and the personal financial skills of children and young people are the focus of OP’s annual Financial Literacy Week.

The coronavirus pandemic has rocked the economy, and among the hardest-hit sectors were tourism and services, where many young women work. Lay-offs and redundancies affected the personal finances of some people. However, OP’s survey shows that almost 40 per cent of people aged from 16 to 24 felt that their personal finances had remained stable in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic. One-third even felt that their finances had improved, while almost one-third felt that they had deteriorated. 

The sudden coronavirus shock put Finnish people’s financial skills to the test. As many as one-half of the young respondents said that they had monitored their spending more carefully than before. In addition, about one-third increased their savings, and approximately one-quarter began saving or investing a new way.

According to the survey, nearly 40 per cent of young people save money monthly, and about one-quarter of young people save money almost every month. The most common amount of savings per month is EUR 50–100 (38 per cent). More than 60 per cent of young people said that they were saving money to cover unexpected expenditure, and less than 5 per cent had never saved at all.

“Last year, the opportunities for young people to get summer jobs were particularly badly affected, which is reflected in the financial positions of young people. However, it is great to see that many were also able to take new steps to strengthen their finances during the COVID-19 pandemic. The importance of financial literacy comes to the fore in times of crisis,” says Tuuli Kousa, OP Financial Group’s Chief Communications and Corporate Responsibility Officer.

Financial literacy teaching for 11,000 secondary school pupils in one week

OP will be holding its annual Financial Literacy Week at the same time as the Global Money Week, from 22 March to 26 March 2021. During the week, OP cooperative banks throughout Finland teach day-to-day finances and practical money skills to young people in OPxTalkingMoney lessons. Most of the lessons will be held via remote connections, and the aim is to reach out to as many as 11,000 secondary school pupils in one week.

“Young people desire to talk more about money, and they need concrete guidance on everyday financial management. Financial literacy is an important civic skill, and the things we learn in youth have a positive impact long into adulthood. We work to boost financial literacy all year round, but we work most actively with young people during the themed week,” Tuuli Kousa says.

Improving financial literacy in Finland is one of the focal points of OP Financial Group’s corporate responsibility programme. In addition to the financial literacy lessons provided by OP cooperative banks, OP Financial Group enhances the financial skills of children and young people nationwide through its network of partners. In 2020, OP Financial Group’s work on financial literacy reached out to a total of 50,000 young people.

The above information is based on a survey conducted in an online panel in January, which received responses from 2,325 adults in Finland. The survey was conducted for OP by Taloustutkimus. The margin of error of responses is about +/- 2 percentage points.

Source: OP Financial Group