Three Out Of Four Bulgarian Households Are Financially Vulnerable
The results of the surveys on the level of financial literacy of the Bulgarians over the last ten years show that significant efforts are needed to increase it. This is recorded in a draft National Financial Literacy Strategy (2021-2025) published for discussion by the Ministry of Finance.
In Bulgaria, no periodic studies on the level of financial literacy based on the same methodology have been carried out so far . Therefore It is difficult to make a full comparison of the evolution of the level of financial literacy indicators over the years and to outline clear-cut trends. Nevertheless, several studies have been made in the past ten years, including through programs and projects of international organisations that assess the level of financial literacy and how it has changed over the years.
In 2017, Junior Achievement Bulgaria conducted a nationally representative survey on the financial vulnerability of Bulgarian households. The aim of the study was to examine financial vulnerability as a consequence of the financial literacy level in the country.
The results showed that compared to Europe, financial vulnerability in Bulgaria is 33% higher (3 out of 4 Bulgarian households are financially vulnerable), but it also stems from insufficient financial literacy (64% of households in Bulgaria do not save; 38% do not draw up a budget for any reason - neither for periods nor for certain events; 35% say that they have financially dependent persons , but 28% of them neither save nor have life insurance; 28% of households are not informed about financial matters, and 32% rely on information from relatives and acquaintances instead of financial professionals.
Another financial literacy survey, carried out globally in 2014, estimated that 35% of Bulgaria's adult population is financially literate, ranking Bulgaria 72th in this survey out of 144 countries participating in the survey.
One of the most in-depth earlier studies on the level of financial literacy in Bulgaria is by the World Bank and dates back to 2010. Its resuilts show that almost one in two (about 46%) Bulgarians have little or no knowledge of finance. The predominantly negative self-assessment corresponds to the results of the questioning concerning objective assessment of knowledge. The levels of awareness and use of financial products, knowledge of consumer rights, as well as trust in the financial sector (institutions and financial companies) are relatively low.
The analysis of the data from the survey "Financial literacy of the population in South-Eastern Europe" points to some important trends.
• The level of basic financial knowledge of Bulgarians remains low (58%), with less than half of people (47%) who gave the basic minimum of correct answers (5 out of 7 questions).
• In self-assessment of their own financial knowledge, 48% of respondents defined their level as average and 10% as high.
The results of the analysis show that the level of financial literacy in Bulgaria is about or slightly above the average for the countries surveyed in the Southeastern European region. This is true for both the overall level of financial literacy and the individual aspects of financial literacy.
Of the seven countries in the region, Moldova had the highest score, and Croatia's score was slightly above that of Bulgaria. The other four countries in the region show a slightly lower level of financial literacy, but again within the limits that are close to those for Bulgaria.
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