The Project FOCUS SOUTH 2019-2021 was born in October 5th during the event: “How much and what financial education? A behavioral analysis for Italy. ” that took place in Catania.
The conference illustrated the condition of Italy in terms of financial education, took place during The World Investor Week 2018 initiatives sponsored by IOSCO (the International Organization of Securities Commission), which is joined by the Supervisory Authorities of a hundred countries, established in 1983 to promote strict operating standards for securities , and with the Patronage of the Sicilian Region, the Municipality of Catania and the Presidency of the Chambers of Commerce of East Sicily.
For the second year the return of GLT in Sicily, after the past events in Messina and Catania on 9th and 10th November 2017 dedicated to the Mifid2 Regulations and to the Consumers’ Protection, is the evidence of an active commitment that the Global Thinking Foundation brings to the southern regions of Italy.
FOCUS SUD 2019-2021 will gather a series of training activities that will take place in Puglia, Basilicata, Abruzzo, Molise, Calabria, Campania, Sicily and Sardinia and will embrace the subject of Financial Education included in the objectives of economic sustainability of Agenda 2030, SDG N. 4 ,5,8,12, and aimed at adults from 18+ to 65+ using tailor made materials as the Glossary of Financial Education and the Digital platform FamilyMI and certified teachers’ in order to support efforts of the participants .
The Project is supported by the strategic collaboration with FEDUF, the Foundation for Financial Education and Savings, and the experience related to the participation during the ASVIS Working Groups, of which GLT Foundation is a member.
The current phase of changing in the financial world, where the investor has more consciousness, has an offer of new digital financial services that equitably allow women and men to manage their resources, comparing products and benefits; these services, however, lead the consumer to ask questions and demand answers regarding the positioning of his capital. For instance, the ESG criteria in investment choices: nowadays not only the individuals with high assets, but also the retail investors and consumers take a look at the social and “green” approach of companies, even before analyzing the value of their actions on the market.
In the wave of these innovations, we need to take in consideration that positively affect a greater and more widespread financial inclusion, as in the UFA 2020 goals, also signed by Italian Government, the newest arrival is the Blockchain, which guarantees the security for customers and the transparency of companies. Inclusion can be reach by everyone, but it’s not a click away.
Digital technologies, especially in the everyday life, offer convenient ways to be inclusive: payments for school fees, direct remittances, insurances, loans, retirement plans, are just some of the new digital operational ways in which individuals can interact and optimize family planning management.
This for the Global Thinking Foundation is an important opportunity to counteract the situations of educational poverty by favoring empowerment understood as strengthening, accountability and awareness to reduce the spread of knowledge in economic and financial skills that is still widespread in our country, and especially in the South.
But the financial inclusion needs an important element to obtain effects on the economic development of the country: an adequate financial knowledge and a basic level of skills of “economic citizenship”, currently lacking in Italy.
Financial literacy is a key not only for the social well-being of a country but also cornerstone for the growth of an aware and civil society and engine for its economic stability.
For these reasons, financial education is essential: to help people achieve adequate security before and after retirement. Only in the generations between 20 and 35 years old this situation seems better, but only for the high-level society that usually are more familiar with digital payments and basic banking activities.
According to CONSOB Report 2017 on Household Investment Choices, a third of the sample has difficulty assessing the risks associated with investment choices and a 40% also shows an overestimation of their skill level, generating overconfidence situations that in fact amplify the effects arising from the past banking crisis and exposure to fraud. Just under 25% of the sample declares the habit to plan and monitor the goals achieved over time. More than 50% manage household income and expenses through a budget, but only 13% respect it at all times and only 20% monitor it accurately. Furthermore, 60% of those interviewed say they save mainly on a regular basis, while the rest are not able to do so, due to very stringent budget constraints or because they are indebted.
It is evident that ‘virtuous’ behaviors are positively associated with financial (both actual and perceived) financial skills and an active interest in financial matters, while they become less frequent among the most anxious subjects or without a basic financial culture.
In general, at national level, there is still much to be done.
People with a sufficient financial culture are more likely to save, and participate actively, in financial markets by investing consciously. Moreover, the economic and financial skills allow a more reasoned approach towards indebtedness, and or towards choices, as an independent business activity. The Financial Literacy helps Families with saving and with important everyday choses as social security aspects, in which every member can participate.
Global Thinking Foundation, has implemented a series of initiatives and projects supported by digital platforms, available to adult citizenship, with the aim of making Families aware of their economic and financial potential to finalize their “Life Plan” on their own, to break free the low income groups of the society from relapsing into public welfare, for over indebtedness , increasing a widespread feeling of individual own responsibility and awareness for the investment choices on their savings, and then finally to fight the financial illiteracy.
The commitment of the foundations and civil society organizations(CSO), as GLT Foundation, in Italy as well as in the other G20 countries, stands out in a strengthened role of active citizenship alongside the municipalities and on the territory, can be integrated into the efforts expected by the Government, that has launched a national strategy for financial education, already present in over 60 countries, from which it is expected a lot and which is entrusted with a deep and widespread function in the numbers and quality of the actions put in place.