Financial literacy is defined as “the ability to make informed judgments and to take effective decisions regarding the use and management of money”.
Managing personal finance is generally regarded to be a core basic life skill, alongside others such as literacy, numeracy, civic and health education. Overcoming financial and economic ignorance is thus a major target for lifelong learning, especially that directed towards the most disadvantaged social groupings.
It is critical for adults participating (such as producers, consumers, investors etc.) in various ways in shaping the economic magnitudes associated with modern markets functioning and in determining their performance to understand how to manage their money, to budget, to save wisely, to borrow safely and avoid both fraud and financial exploitation. These needs are becoming ever more pronounced to as technology, de-regulation and globalization create a highly complex financial services market, with a diversity of complicated product offerings. In parallel, the individual is increasingly responsible for elements of their own finances, such as pensions and can buy sophisticated financial products directly via the internet, ATMs and over the telephone. There is a clear need for life-long learning to develop the specific transversal competences needed to allow learners – and especially those from vulnerable groups – to adapt to these challenging changes in society.