Young people face all kinds of challenges, no matter where they grow up. Effectively managing your personal finances, for example, is something we all must learn. The number of financial decisions young people must make continues to increase, as does the variety and complexity of the financial products they encounter.
In the Netherlands, youngsters may join the workforce at age 16. That is when, usually for the first time in their lives, young people must take responsibility for their personal finances. Around 42 percent of people in the 16 to 25 age group have at least one outstanding debt, loan or overdue payment. This may be a phone bill, health insurance payment or an online purchase.
Our assessment of the situation tells us that young people often do not properly understand how debit and credit cards or banking and insurance services work. Consequently, they experience stress and sleepless nights, which may lead to health problems, self-image suffering, and poor performance at school. As their situation deteriorates, youngsters often choose to leave school and take whatever job they can to settle their debts and make a living. Those lucky enough to go to college often run up even higher debts than other young people. Parents are often reluctant to discuss financial matters with their children, or don’t know how to help.
This project aims to reach out to young people in Amsterdam and the surrounding region whose education is endangered by long-term financial problems. We plan to use social media to teach these individuals how to properly manage their finances and debts and make sensible and informed decisions on their financial affairs. The path we have chosen is to recruit and train volunteers, who will provide participants with one-on-one support. The idea is that these volunteers motivate the young students while teaching them the skills and insights required to change their financial behavior.
We work closely with partners in the fields of financial and youth support and are approaching municipalities with a view of knowledge sharing and sustainability. Our overall goal, to equip young people with the financial knowledge enabling them to successfully finish their education, will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
This project is expected to reach 1,500 young people per year. When they have completed the program, participants will be able to:
- Effectively and sustainably solve their financial issues.
- Adopt a positive attitude in managing their financial affairs, including debts and loans.
- Finish their education, thus reducing the school dropout rate and increasing the number of students enrolling in higher education.