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Lack of Financial Education

“You do not talk about money.” This is a common saying in German. “You do not talk about money? But we should! ”- under this motto, Austria’s Financial Market Authority (FMA) is launching a new information format for consumers with immediate effect: “Let’s talk about money”. Exciting aspects from various basic finance topics shall be prepared on a monthly basis and answers to everyday financial questions are given.

In the USA, companies like Morningstar ensure that private investors are informed about financial issues. The rating agency’s offers range from platforms on the Internet to large events with thousands of visitors.

Great investing advice means understanding investors’ hopes, dreams, and ideals to find out what really matters. Morningstar doesn’t just focus on the finish line, but focuses on the entire journey. This way, Morningstar has been empowering investor success since 1984, and they have seen firsthand and learned how great advice can help people reach their goals, how to avoid traps and evade scammers.

In German-speaking countries, consumers are not sufficiently aware of the activities of rating agencies. Therefore, regulators are trying to fill the loophole. In the corset of state regulation, however, the authorities’ options to help consumers are ultimately limited. Morningstar also has a German-language website with information for private investors.

The first issue starts with the topic “Beware of investment fraud!” and explains how, with the help of a few simple steps, consumers can ensure that they do not fall victim to financial fraud before making an investment decision. In February, the FMA will provide information on what to consider when taking out an online consumer loan; in March there will be tips on using insurance comparison portals.

“With this new format, we would like to offer an objective source of information to all those who feel insecure about the breadth and complexity of the various financial topics and are looking for understandable answers to everyday questions about money,” said FMA board members Helmut Ettl and Eduard Müller. The FMA derives the topics of the new format from the most frequent inquiries in its consumer information and then prepares them briefly and in simple language, according to Ettl and Müller.

Collective consumer protection has been an operational supervisory and audit focus of the FMA for many years. After the Finance ABC on the FMA website, “Let’s talk about money” is the second proactive financial education initiative. All issues are available both in print and online at the website https://redenwiruebergeld.fma.gv.at/.