Global Money Week 2021 has mobilized thousands of organizations in over 100 countries to promote financial knowledge, skills and resilience among young people. The theme of the campaign is "Take care of yourself, take care of your money".
Traditionally, money and finance - though not labor - were exclusively issues for adults. This has to change, according to Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Speaking at the online launch of Global Money Week on March 22, 2021, Gurría said: "Basic financial literacy can make a crucial difference in the opportunities and the life prospects of young people. It is a foundation stone, a building block for lifelong wellbeing and for a more inclusive economy. It also has a key role to play in building forward, better from the current crisis."
Higher risk of job and income loss
While the latest economic forecast by the OECD suggests a strong global recovery may be in sight, social inequality is expected to rise, with young people worst affected. They are facing a higher risk of job and income loss.
More than a decade after the Global Financial Crisis, youth unemployment across the OECD countries is still above pre-crisis levels. This illustrates the long-lasting impact that economic shocks can have on current and future generations of young people.
Another important factor is that low-paid and temporary employment in the hospitality industry and the "gig" economy - often held by young people - has been severely affected during the COVID-19 pandemic. On average, some 35% of young people (aged 15-29) are employed in low-paid and insecure jobs across the OECD countries, compared to 15% of middle-aged employees (30-50) and 16% of older workers (aged 51 and above).
The OECD has also warned that the economic shock caused by the pandemic risks exacerbating inequalities in terms of access to and attainment of higher education qualifications, further disadvantaging certain groups of young people. Gurría said there was the danger of a widening of the gender gap, which already sees one billion women worldwide being "financially excluded".
Global Money Week
Organized by the OECD International Network on Financial Education (OECD/INFE), the annual awareness campaign emphasizes the importance of demystifying finance for young people. The campaign encourages them to begin from an early age to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors to make sound financial decisions and ultimately to achieve financial wellbeing and financial resilience.
The first Global Money Week was held in 2012 and since then it has reached over 40 million children and young people in 175 countries. Participants in the campaign range from government ministries, central banks and financial regulators, financial institutions, schools, and educational bodies to youth organizations.
Online in 2021
The ongoing pandemic has necessitated moving events online, though the number and range of events across the 100+ countries remains undiminished.
In Brazil, for instance, courses have been organized for students and teachers, with educational games and videos for younger people. In Hong Kong, kindergarten and primary school children are being challenged to create an ending to a financial education story on goal setting and savings.
Over 70 events, mostly aimed at young people, are planned in Spain. Alongside basic concepts such as saving and budgeting, responsible consumption, sustainable finance, and entrepreneurship will also be discussed.
Nibud, an independent institute focused on financial sustainability for consumers, is the lead organizer in the Netherlands. This year, the campaign is expanding its reach beyond primary schools towards secondary education and vocational training. Over 5,000 guest lectures by financial experts from banks and insurers are offered online this year. Aegon's Dutch business is contributing to this effort as part of our commitment to promoting financial literacy.