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Blümel: "Getting Austria fit for the financial future"
 
Launch of universal financial literacy offensive

Vienna (OTS) - On Monday, 31 August 2020, Finance Minister Gernot Blümel invited experts to the Finance Ministry for a round of discussions on the topic of financial literacy. "Financial literacy is relevant to all age groups and social classes. Many people currently feel great uncertainty over how to handle their finances. As a result, a general strategy is needed to promote financial literacy, developed in a collective effort. This does not simply mean more classroom hours, but rather the broader communication of knowledge. We want Austrian citizens to make sound financial decisions, to engage in individual retirement planning, and be able to make more out of their money," stressed Finance Minister Gernot Blümel at the financial literacy round table.

Christoph Boschan (from the Vienna Stock Exchange), Jakob Calice (Innovation Foundation), Bettina Fuhrmann (Professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business), Johannes Lindner (Professor at IFTE, the Initiative for Teaching Entrepreneurship), Doris Pfingstner (Head of the Modulare Mittelstufe Aspern), Martha Schultz (Julius Raab Foundation), Jenny Uzodike (Union of School Students) and Harald Waiglein (Director General at the Finance Ministry) participated in the opening event. The gathering of this expert panel marked the launch of a national financial literacy strategy. The first stage will serve to collate and evaluate the provision already on offer on the subject, and is scheduled to be completed by January 2021. A nationwide strategy will then be developed, to be completed by the end of next year.

It is an undisputed fact that better financial understanding leads to better decision-making in matters of finance and retirement planning. 30%-40% of inequalities in retirement provision are due to differences in financial literacy. What is more, 40% of young adults do not have the confidence to make major purchases or enter into major rental or leasing agreements. Indeed, 34% of all Austrian households are in debt. "These figures make it clear that there is a lot of work to be  done in terms of financial literacy. Particularly in this digital era, when it is becoming ever easier to make cashless purchases, it is important to provide people with the necessary confidence and requisite knowledge," added Blümel.

Although there are already many initiatives in this area, Austria lacks a coherent strategy. The Finance Minister's plan is therefore to define a common objective, to deploy existing resources as effectively as possible, to avoid duplication of work and to identify blind spots. Key parameters have already been set out in the government's programme, and now, the task is to address the challenges and weaknesses in detail, since a national financial literacy strategy constitutes the basis of a modern and competitive location for business