School and family environments promote adolescents’ financial confidence: Indirect paths to financial literacy skills in Finnish PISA 2018

Journal of Consumer Affairs, Volume 57, Issue 1 p. 593-618

First published: 28 January 2023

Nuorten taloustaitojen parantaminen, Tärkein taloustaito


This study investigates the associations of adolescents’ financial socialization factors—financial education in school and families—with financial confidence (i.e., confidence in using financial and digital financial services). In addition, we examine how financial socialization factors indirectly relate to financial literacy skills through financial confidence and the role of demographic factors (adolescent gender, grade level, parental education, family wealth) on financial socialization, financial confidence, and financial literacy scores.

We used data on the 4328 Finnish 15-year-olds participating in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). We measured financial literacy by cognitive test items and assessed financial socialization and financial confidence by adolescent questionnaires.

The results showed

That financial education in school positively predicted adolescents’ confidence in using financial and digital financial services.

Financial education at schools and in families indirectly predicted students’ financial literacy through confidence in using digital financial services.

Older adolescents were more exposed to financial education at school and in families, whereas adolescents from wealthier families and girls (vs. boys) were exposed to a more frequent discussion of financial matters with parents at home.

Furthermore, the boys were more confident in using financial services than the girls, although the financial literacy score did not differ by gender; older adolescents were more confident in using financial services and achieved better financial literacy than younger ones.

Finally, higher parental education in the family related to higher financial literacy but not to higher financial confidence, whereas family wealth was related to higher financial confidence but not financial literacy.