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Denmark’s youth top scorer when it comes to financial responsibility

A new report from Danske Bank shows that young Danes score highest on financial responsibility compared to the youth of other Nordic countries – good news at a time of economic turmoil.

In the report “Danish teenagers and financial responsibility,” Danske Bank has together with YouGov surveyed financial responsibility among close to 2,000 children and young people aged 12-17 in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.

The young people’s responses to a series of questions investigating their knowledge, experience and mindset with respect to money were subsequently converted into a financial capability score. Young Danes had an average score of 56.9, Sweden averaged 54.9, Norway 54.1 and Finland 52.9.

A workshop with a youth panel comprising 13 young Danes supplemented the survey.

One of the main conclusions of the report is that Denmark’s youth exhibit a higher degree of financial responsibility and good money-related habits compared to young people from the other Nordic countries.

I receive DKK 600 from my parents every month, which has to cover everything, including transport, clothes, food and so on. I also have a job, where I earn roughly DKK 1,500-2,000 a month. My parents had calculated this was the amount they thought I needed, and I began to receive the money when I was 14. I think it works pretty well. I also know that if I call my parents and ask for money, they will say no, as I have already received money from them.

17-year-old Danish girl from the youth panel. 

Economic turmoil an opportunity to talk about money
Many young people are worried about the financial situation right now, with the prospect of tight household budgets and rising interest rates and energy prices. However, this also provides a unique opportunity to talk about priorities and money habits.

And there is ample reason to talk to our children and young people about money, says Anne Juel Jørgensen, Head of Financial Confidence at Danske Bank: “The more experience you have of handling your own money, the better you become at it. Practice makes perfect for children and teenagers too. When kids and young people make their own financial decisions, and when they get pocket money, or later earn their own money from an after-school or weekend job, they develop sound money habits and a healthier relationship to money.”

This could also be one of the explanations for why Danish youth are more financially responsible. Some 43% of young Danes have or have had a spare time job – which is more than twice as many as in Norway, which takes the number 2 slot at 20%.

The report also shows that children whose parents discuss money matters with them generally obtain a better financial capability score than the children of parents who do not discuss money and finances over dinner.

I chose to get a job because I thought it would look good on my CV. It was also important for me to earn my own money, so I didn’t just live off my parents.

17-year-old Danish boy from the youth panel

Financial confidence – part of the bank’s sustainability strategy
“Danish teenagers and financial responsibility” is an extension of a similar Danske Bank survey from 2020, which mapped 5 to 12-year-olds’ knowledge and experience of money.

Both reports are part of the focus area ‘’Financial confidence’ in the bank’s sustainability strategy, which through tools and knowledge aims to contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #4: Quality Education.

Our goal is to strengthen the financial confidence of at least 2 million children, young people and their parents by 2023. To date, the bank has contributed to the financial confidence of more than 1.5 million people since 2018.