Investire | November 2022

The second edition of the survey on financial education conducted by FINER for Pictet brought to light a widespread desire, common to young people and women, to learn more about finance; moreover, the survey highlighted the key role played by social media and the importance to discuss life projects.

Since 2021, the interest for finance has increased significantly, especially among non-investors and students: the geopolitical scene, deeply changed by the pandemic first and then by the conflict in Ukraine, together with its impact on inflation and economic instability have been instrumental in attracting the interest of even the most disengaged individuals.

The interest in finance is, on average, lower among young people and women. However, this is fully offset by their deeply-felt desire to learn. Therefore, involving young people and women, who are essential to the cultural evolution of the human species, is all the more compelling. This generates the opportunity to increase the general level of financial education, starting from the foundations of the country (youth and women).

According to the survey, discussing life projects (especially among women and young people), how to save and manage money has become crucial. On the other hand, there is an apparent lack of reference points and interesting contents, deemed either too trivial or too complex; moreover, the risks generated by the autoreferentiality of the financial industry and the necessity to start with the basics are all the more clear.

Moreover, the survey highlighted the key role of social networks as tools for learning and consulting experts (of finance and more). It also identified some differences in the social networks of choice, which tend to change depending on the generation: Facebook and LinkedIn tend to be more popular among men and senior citizens; on the other hand, Instagram and Telegram tend to be widely used by younger generations.

Only one out of three interviewees invests on their financial knowledge regularly: in fact, people tend to seek information only under exceptional circumstances, which would explain the sudden growth of interest generated by the current geopolitical situation, which has attracted the interest of investors and students especially.  

The role of institutions (CONSOB and Banca d’Italia) continues to be essential; moreover, the role of teachers/schools is growing in importance, just like the collaboration between the public and private sectors.

Once again, trust is key when it comes to financial education: if I do not have confidence, I will not seek information; in turn, if I do not seek information, I will not invest.

According to the survey, the generation Y (born between 1981 and 1996, that is 30-40-year-old individuals) tends to have full confidence in financial advisors: this is perhaps the result of the efforts that the industry of financial consultancy and asset management had addressed to this segment of the population, which is deemed to have the highest potential.

Moreover, the survey identified the key role of circles of friends and relatives, not so much as experts of the financial industry, but rather as protagonists of successful experiences. This confirms the crucial role of the word of mouth, especially when it comes to reputable financial advisors and operators.

However, students and non-investing savers tend to rely on blogs and influencers: not only does this expose them to the risk of manipulation and fraud, but it also has a negative impact on the image of the financial industry, depicted as mere gambling.

Financial education is the antidote to increasingly frequent cases of pump & dump (Game Stop, Jake Freeman with Bed Bath), carried out through the uncontrolled exposure to social networks.

More knowledgeable, more aware: the die is cast, but there is a long way to go.

Nicola Ronchetti