On the occasion of World Savings Day, Revolut, the financial superapp with over 20 million customers worldwide, asked over 10,000 Europeans, of which 1,000 Romanians about their financial literacy and approach to personal finance. How comfortable do Romanians feel about money and has this been impacted by the current cost of living crisis? The results come from a survey conducted by Dynata in October 2022.
Financial well-being: Is it an age thing?
Going through life consciously, daring to do something new, acting mindfully: Well-being has become the buzzword of our time – in all areas of life. This also applies to money.
For 30% of respondents aged 25-64, financial well-being means having control over their personal finances and always knowing their account balance. 24% of respondents associate financial well-being with being in control of the budget, and only 8% consider that having more money would increase their well-being.
Only Gen Z associates financial well-being with the achievement of a carefree approach to money. For [22%] of the participants between 18 and 24 years – the majority in this age segment – financial wellbeing is achieved when they save and invest money into their future.
… or rather gender-related?
Some are extremely insecure, others confident: at times of inflation, Romanians have different attitudes – especially men and women.
21% of the female respondents (and only 12% of the men) say they are very concerned about the impact of inflation on their personal finances and are not quite sure what to do about it – which makes them more exposed to a financial burnout. The majority of men, on the other hand (around 23%), have everything under control and even know how to increase their wealth in difficult times. At the same time, both genders think that they can handle the household expenses and they are searching for different solutions to improve their financial situation (51% of women and 50% of men).
This is an interesting result considering that Romanians, in general, rejected the idea that financial literacy might be influenced by gender (61%). Both male and female respondents answered no to the question “Do you think there is a gender gap in financial literacy?” (over 63% of the women and 59% of the men). 15% of respondents disagreed, stating that women have lower financial literacy than men due to socio-economic and cultural reasons. 18% of the respondents even believe that men generally have less financial knowledge than women. The reason: women are better at managing expenses and household budgets.
If we are looking at the age split, we can see that younger Romanians (25-34 y.o.) have a less favorable perception of the financial skills the women could have. 23% of the respondents in this category answered with yes, women have less knowledge in personal finance, due to cultural and economic differences. In the same time, the category of 45-54 y.o. Is totally ignoring the gender differences when it comes to financial skills (67%).
Digital tools and expert advice: How Romanians keep their finances under control
To keep their finances under control in times of crisis and achieve financial well-being, 50% of respondents rely on articles and books on money management and personal finance – both topics that have become socially acceptable again in times of inflation. 46% prefer personal expert advice and 20% ask their partners or family members for the best tips. Only 8% would consider to follow courses or get a diploma in finance and economics. The respondents aged 35-44 have an obvious preference for the books and articles on financial literacy (57%), while 45-54 y.o. would prefer to use a digital tool (financial app – 34%) and the seniors count more on the advice of the younger members in the family or friends (30%).
Digitalisation is also (finally) gaining momentum: 29% of participants now rely on digital solutions such as financial apps and software to achieve a healthier approach to money, with women being more open (31%) than men (26%) to use this kind of support to get a better control over their finances. This trend is confirmed by the increasing number of the Revolut customers creating Vaults in-app, in the last 9 months. Romanian customers saved over EUR 67 million in Vaults between January 1st, 2022 – September 30, 2022, while the number of the Vaults increased by 75% compared to the same period last year.
For holidays, house renovations, gifts, cars, studies, rent or rainy days, Romanians save more and more with Revolut digital Vaults and have various motivations for doing so. Most of the Vaults created from the beginning of the year to the end of September – 34% – were for savings only, while 7% were for holidays and vacations, 3% for the “rainy days” reserve” and 2.4% for gifts or just money in the “digital piggy bank”.
Gabriela Simion, General Manager of the Revolut Romania subsidiary and Head of Lending: ”Vaults is one of the products increasingly used by the Romanian customers, especially since the rise of inflation and the cost of living. In the first 9 months of the year, EUR continued to be the fiat currency preferred by our local customers for savings with 44.4% of the total amounts in the digital vaults, followed by the local currency RON with 32% of the total amount in Vaults. Saving Vaults in USD (13.8%), GBP (5.4%) and CHF (2%) complete the top 5 ranking, for the same period. The average saved amount by a Romanian customer in the first 9 months was approximately 283 EUR, and the top 5 cities in saving with Revolut were Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Iași, Constanța. We are grateful to see that Revolut is not only one of the most preferred financial partners in Romania for spending and instant money transfers, but also one of the increasingly most used apps to manage savings and improve the financial management of the personal funds”.
Is money still a taboo subject?
Talking about money was long considered a no-go. However, a new trend is noticeable in Romania: 22 % of respondents have no problem talking openly about money. A self-confident attitude that increases with age: 37% of Best Agers over 65 even like to talk about money – compared to 13% of participants from Gen Z. Topics such as personal savings and monthly earnings remain particularly critical: respectively 24% and 28% of respondents do not like to talk about it. Negotiations are also a painful topic: 27% of the respondents have difficulties asking for a salary increase and 18% of the participants are reluctant to ask for a discount on goods or services. 35-44 y.o. segment finds it more difficult to ask for a salary increase (41%) compared to the 55-64 y.o. category (19.2%). The respondents in the peak of their career (45-55) have less difficulties in talking about money (24%).
Money should no longer be taboo. And even less in a relationship: different approaches to personal finances have a high potential for conflict, whether there’s high inflation or not. A healthy approach to money is therefore considered by the majority of respondents (almost 57%) to be one of the most important factors for a good relationship. However, there are also other opinions. For 8% of the participants, money has never been a relevant topic to discuss with their partners: only in times of crisis it might play a role. 4% even think that money should not be discussed in a relationship – unless the couple has joint assets.
And what about financial education for children? Romanians agree on this, across all generations: financial knowledge should be a school subject and financial well-being should be taught at an early age. [71%] of Romanian respondents wish they had learned money management at school so that they could now navigate through life more confidently. 31% also think that financial knowledge at school plays an important social role in reducing gender and social differences. Only 7% believe that children should not have to deal with money: There is time for that, because they only learn how to deal with money in a healthy way as young adults – when they receive their first salary or this would deepen the social and economical differences.
This is how it could be explained the global popularity of the Revolut <18 card and account. Globally, over 1.8 million customers use the Revolut account <18, and over 170,000 are Romanian customers. The junior account is an extension of the parent’s account, and the adult has full control over how the financial resources in it are used by the final beneficiary, the child. Teens and kids holding a Revolut account can securely track their activity on their smartphone and receive instant spending alerts to help them stick to their budget. The app also encourages young people to learn healthy financial habits, such as setting savings goals. All transactions are made with the notification of the adult, who receives an instant notification on the phone when the Revolut card <18 is used.
 For this study, Dynata used a representative sample of 1,000 Romanian citizens. These results are part of a larger international survey with over 10,000 participants from 10 countries worldwide, which Dynata conducted on behalf of Revolut in October 2022. Sampling frames are based on gender, age, country / region / state.