Financial Education in Germany

Interview with Carmela Aprea

Last year, Germany launched a nationwide strategy to improve the financial literacy of the population.

We wanted to find out more from financial education expert Carmela Aprea about the aims and approach of Germany's financial education strategy and asked her why there is no comparable initiative in Switzerland to date.

The financial education platform "Mit Geld und Verstand" was launched in Germany in December 2023. The platform offers a wide range of services aimed at financial education for people at every stage of their lives.

The platform is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and is part of Germany's financial education initiative. The offerings cover topics such as opening a bank account, concluding a contract, retirement provision and much more.

The platform initially includes content from twelve public sector organisations, including the Financial Supervisory Authority, Deutsche Bundesbank (the German Central Bank) and Deutsche Rentenversicherung. It will be expanded over time. The plan is for private organisations to contribute their content at a later stage.

Carmela Aprea holds the Chair of Business Education at the University of Mannheim and heads the Mannheim Institute for Financial Education (MIFE) together with Professor Tabea Bucher-Koenen. She is involved in the development of Germany's financial education strategy both as a researcher and as a consultant. As a former professor of vocational education research at the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFUVET), she is also familiar with the situation in Switzerland.

We wanted to find out more from her about Germany's goals and approach to financial education and asked her why there is no comparable initiative in Switzerland to date.

Iconomix: Why does Germany need a financial education strategy?

Carmela Aprea: Because every country actually needs a financial education strategy. Financial literacy is a very important topic, and not just for Germany. So far, there have been many independent grassroot movements that have launched financial literacy programmes. A structured financial education strategy helps to coordinate the existing programmes and ensures the quality of the programmes in terms of content and didactics. It also ensures that all target groups are addressed.

Who took the lead in the launch and how was it organised?

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Federal Ministry of Finance were in charge. In cooperation with the OECD, the initiative for a financial education strategy was launched a year ago.

OECD and financial education

The OECD and its International Network on Financial Education conducts research and develops tools to support policy makers and public authorities to design and implement national strategies for financial education. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) acts as the national coordinator within the OECD/INFE.

You know the situation in Switzerland well. Why is there no comparable initiative in this country yet?

There are also many independent providers of financial literacy in Switzerland. The various approaches here are critically discussed and coordinated with all stakeholders, at least privately, with the help of the "Netzwerk Finanzkompetenz". Nevertheless, it would be desirable if politicians were to provide formal coordination, but the state authorities have so far been reluctant to take the lead. In this respect, there is a good basis on which to build.

Martin Lengwiler

Source: Carmela Aprea

Prof Dr Carmela Aprea is the director of the Mannheim Institute for Financial Education (MIFE). As an expert in financial literacy, she is involved in the development of the new Iconomix unit "Finanzkompetenz" as an external partner.

Article by:
Iconomix Team
created on 25.04.2024

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