Financial education and consumer protection

Financial Education in South East Europe


Financial Education in South East Europe

Financial Literacy of Adults in South East Europe

Financial education has gained a prominent position in the global policy agenda and is universally recognised as a core component of the financial empowerment and resilience of individuals, as well as the overall stability of the financial system. Financial knowledge allows individuals to strive towards control over their finances, active saving, avoiding excessive indebtedness and to better understand financial and economic risks and shocks.

This report presents the results of a survey of levels of financial literacy in the South East European countries of Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, and Romania. In addition to calculating globally comparable financial literacy scores, the analysis covers financial inclusion and elements of financial well-being, paying particular attention to attributes of individual financial resilience. The report then makes policy recommendations based on the findings.

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Financial literacy is relatively low on average across adults in South East Europe.

Adults scored on average about 57% of the maximum possible literacy according to the OECD’s methodology. This is lower than comparable scores obtained through the same methodology from surveys of the EU and OECD economies (about 64% and 65% respectively). The total possible score corresponds to basic financial literacy competencies.

Adults in South East Europe exhibit relatively high levels of some of the basic financial literacy skills and behaviours, such as budgeting and financial control.

Between 70-80% of adults in the region exhibit relatively high-levels control over how they use their personal finances. Budgeting behaviour is relatively high, with over 60% of adults responding that they have financial control in the household and regularly plan a budget.

Individual financial resilience and financial well-being are undermined by high levels of informality, low levels of confidence, and high levels of financial stress. 

Only 25% of adults across the region on average are confident in their pension plans and about one-third report relying on family and children for their retirement plans. Levels of informality appear high with over 30% of adults suggesting they rely on family or close relatives for borrowing needs, while 55% on average suggest they save in cash. Some 41% of adults suggested there are unsatisfied with their present financial situation and only a third agree they are satisfied

About the project

This project provides technical assistance to design and implement effective financial education initiatives that are adapted to the specific needs of participating countries in South East Europe. The project will also promote learning together and sharing knowledge and experience in the region. Other project goals include:

  • Establishing the current level of financial literacy of the population and identifying priorities and target groups;

  • Designing and evaluating a National Strategy for Financial Education

  • Developing and implementing effective interventions to promote financial literacy.

The seven countries taking part in the project are Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Republic of North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro and Romania.

Building on its internationally-recognised expertise and longstanding commitment to advancing financial literacy around the world, the OECD/INFE is steering and managing the project. The Netherlands Ministry of Finance is providing financial support within the framework of the Constituency Programme of the Netherlands Ministry of Finance. This five year project will run from 2018 to 2022.



PISA students' financial literacy results (2017)


National strategies for financial education


International Gateway for Financial Education



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