ECONOMIC KNOWLEDGE SURVEY: 83% OF YOUNG ADULTS DO NOT FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH MONEY MATTERS

  • Parents are the most important role models for questions related to money management
  • Talking about money: Talking is gold, silence leads to "inheritance" of financial problems
  • Financing of short-term desires: More than 60% do not want to get into debt
  • Outlook: More involvement of parents and schools in basic knowledge transfer necessary

VIENNA, Austria - May 08, 2019 – Almost a quarter of young adults aged between 18 and 29 years in Austria doesn’t feel fit enough to make important economic decisions. Two-thirds of young adults want a security net for important monetary decisions. This is one of the key findings of a recent survey conducted by the Austrian Bankers’ Association and BAWAG P.S.K.[1]. "The results also show the important role of parents, families and schools in delivering a basic, economic education to young people. Parents are perceived as role models by their children, especially when it comes to topics like money. This connection is probably still not seen enough or too little known among those concerned," points out Gerald Resch, Secretary General of the Austrian Bankers’ Association.

Parents and family as role models: tabooing money issues disadvantages young adults

According to the respondents, the main reason for a lack of knowledge and difficulties in dealing with money matters was insufficient previous education at home and at school. Nearly half of the respondents feel that they have not been prepared well enough by their parents to deal with money. Two-thirds believe that they have received too little economic knowledge at school. The topics are often dealt with superficially only or there is no relation to the reality of the lives of the young people.

For a good level of money management in the everyday life of young people not just a solid basic knowledge is essential, but also the financial situation of their parental home. "Financially stable and happy parents tend to teach their children more knowledge about economic topics in everyday life. Thus, they make a positive contribution to the young adults' handling of money," says Enver Sirucic, member of the Managing Board of the Association of German Banks and CFO of BAWAG Group. Furthermore, it is relevant, if family members talk about money topics. Young adults are quite willing to talk about money - unlike their parents. Although they provide their children with advice, they talk less about their own available money. Parents with a strained financial situation talk even less about money and rarely give their children advice. For this reason, interviewees from parental homes with a financially instable situation have learned how to deal with money predominantly by themselves.

Primary and grammar schools as sources for economic and common knowledge are viewed rather critically by the interviewees. Every fifth interviewee believes he or she "didn’t learn anything at school about the handling of money". In particular respondents with degrees from vocational schools, grammar schools, commercial schools or polytechnic schools believe that they don’t handle their financial situation well.

Consumer behavior: Two-thirds do not want to get into debt

The survey delivered a surprising result about consumptions and savings. Contrary to the assumption that young people prefer to spend their money immediately to enjoy their life here and now, they see a sensitive economic behavior as quite important. A closer look at the consumer behavior of young adults shows that saving is a trend among them. At least, they don't want to get into debt. Almost two-thirds of those surveyed do not consider going into debt. They want to enjoy their lives, but not at any price. If they need additional money, their families are their first point of contact. Only every fifth person considers consulting a bank. There, personal advice is expected.

Outlook: Stronger cooperation of parents, schools and banks necessary

What do young adults want for their financial lives – looking back and for their future? The majority says, they want to learn how to "handle their financial life properly" and "do business properly” at home and at school. The word "thriftiness" is also on top of their wish lists. Among the preferred sources for knowledge transfer, personal advice at banks is ranked first with 69% – ahead of online channels such as social media and the World Wide Web in general. "In order to improve the knowledge transfer regarding economic and financial topics, a closer cooperation between parents, schools and banks is necessary. Parents and schools are particularly needed to give basic education. It’s not about explaining complex financial matters, but rather to teach fundamental skills of handling money in everyday life”, specifies Gerald Resch.

The Austrian Bankers’ Association supports Austrian schools in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Education with various initiatives - such as the "SCHULBANKER" project, the "European Money Quiz" or the "Jugend - Zeitung - Wirtschaft" project in cooperation with the daily newspaper "Die Presse". For more information see www.bankenverband.at.

[1] In total, the market research company marketmind surveyed 1,029 people aged between 18 and 29 years between 23 January 2019 and 11 February 2019.

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