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Workshop 4: Can Financial Education Succeed? The Limits of Education as a Solution to Overindebtedness.
Workshop outline by Saul Schwartz
How can financial education help consumers avoid overindebtedness? And how can education help consumers overcome overindebtedness once it occurs? What are the strengths and weaknesses of financial education as a preventative or curative measure? Is financial education the panacea that some see in it or would impartial financial advice be superior in some cases?

For example: Though financial education is currently very popular among creditors, NGOs and governments as a potential solution to overindebtedness, there may be good reasons to believe that there are limits to the efficacy of this single approach. Aren’t many financial instruments nowadays too complex for a general financial education to be enough for an ordinary consumer to be able to understand, within a reasonable time span, the agreements they are considering? Isn’t it true that while the number of impulsive decisions can be reduced through financial education of the consumer, these will not realistically be eliminated altogether? Perhaps financial education is only a necessary factor in addressing over-indebtedness and not a sufficient one - other instruments such as debt advice, community pressure and legal protection, may also be required. Has the teaching of financial literacy been over-emphasized as a weapon against overindebtedness?

The panelists will address these questions from a variety of perspectives. Karen Gross is a law professor at the New York Law School and has written extensively on financial education among bankrupt debtors. Saul Schwartz is an economist at the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University in Canada and has recently written about debt advice in Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Germany. Claudia Abreu Lopes is a social psychologist from the University of Coimbra in Portugal and will discuss the human value approach to financial education. Felix O’Regan is the Head of PR and Public Affairs for the Irish Bankers Federation and has worked extensively on initiatives aimed at consumers of finance including information and education-based initiatives.

ID: 36982
Author(s): iff
Publication date: 29/04/06

Created: 10/03/06. Last changed: 23/04/06.
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