Eurobarometer survey reveals low levels of financial literacy across the EU

The European Commission has published today the results of a Eurobarometer survey on financial literacy in the EU. The survey tested both the financial knowledge and financial behaviour (jointly considered as financial literacy) of EU citizens. The results show that only 18% of EU citizens have a high level of financial literacy, 64% – a medium level, and the remaining 18% – a low level. There are, however, wide differences across Member States. In only four Member States, more than 25% of people score highly in financial literacy (the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Slovenia).

The results also point to the need for financial education to target particular groups including women, younger people, people with lower incomes and those with lower levels of education who tend to be on average less financially literate than other groups.

Mairead McGuinness, Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union, said: “This first ever EU survey on financial literacy is a wake-up call for us and Member States: together we need to do more to improve levels of financial literacy in the EU.  Equipping people with the confidence and skills to make informed decisions about their money is in everyone’s interest. It impacts positively on people’s personal and financial well-being and resilience to income shocks.  It also helps achieve the goals of the Capital Markets Union – by empowering people to understand the benefits and risks of investing, and by building trust in capital markets. This Eurobarometer is an important contribution to our understanding of financial literacy in the EU and will help us to focus our efforts where they are needed most. “ 

In its September 2020 Capital markets union action plan, the Commission reaffirmed that sound financial literacy is at the heart of people’s financial well-being. Following up on this, the Commission and the OECD jointly developed a financial competence framework for adults in January 2022. Also, on 23 May, the Commission adopted a Retail Investment Strategy. The aim is to empower retail investors (i.e. “consumer” investors) to make investment decisions that are aligned with their needs and preferences, ensuring that they are treated fairly and duly protected. This will enhance retail investors’ trust and confidence to safely invest in their future and take full advantage of the EU’s Capital Markets Union. It will also require Member States to promote learning measures that support the financial education of consumers in relation to “responsible investment”. More information on the results of the Eurobarometer is available here.