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Everybody is again an “immigrant”

A contribution from Simon Tribelhorn Director of the Liechtenstein Bankers Association


The Liechtenstein financial centre stands for sustainability like no other. This is also manifested in the claim “Thinking in generations”. And this claim is more important today than ever before.


The current major challenges in the global financial system impressively demonstrate the importance of long-term and sustainable thinking and action. Sustainability is part of the DNA of the Liechtenstein financial centre, not only in Sunday speeches, but also in everyday life. For us, sustainability is the ability to meet the needs of today’s generations without endangering future generations. In addition to the responsible use of our natural resources, this also includes social and societal responsibility. Our approach to sustainability is therefore more comprehensive than “merely” complying with climate targets. It is aligned with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). And that is good and right, even if there is no doubt that combating climate change is our most urgent challenge.


Financial literacy – a global boost is needed


A goal – albeit only a sub-goal – of the SDGs is the development of the ability to recognise financial issues. In technical jargon, we talk about financial literacy. Five components of financial literacy are commonly defined, about which one should know as early and as well as possible. These are earning, spending, saving/investing, borrowing and protecting.


This ABC of financial literacy can prevent major financial problems. In particular, early prevention is of great importance. Studies show that it is important to learn and acquire the conscious handling of money from an early age, because every fifth young person in Europe between the ages of 12 and 18 already has debts. Among young adults aged 18 to 24, it is already one in three. And let’s not kid ourselves: entering adult life in debt is a false start that is difficult to correct.


So there is still a lot wrong in Europe. But also on a global level, financial literacy has unfortunately continued to decline over the last 30 years. So it is no surprise that the least successful countries are also the least financially literate.


Digital literacy – important, necessary, urgent


In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on another skill besides financial literacy: digital literacy. Simply put, digital literacy is the knowledge, skills and abilities a person needs to use digital technologies effectively. It is therefore a combination of technical understanding and practical application. Digital literacy is therefore much more than just knowing how to turn on a computer, make an online bank transfer or carry out stock market transactions via an app. The digital revolution is accelerating rapidly and is in a new, decisive phase. In particular, the gigantic advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are making a significant contribution to this. Hardly anyone would have expected a year or two ago that with ChatGPT, an AI could be used so quickly on a mass scale. Since the noughties, the ease of using the internet, smartphones or social media has led to a distinction being made in science between the so-called digital natives and the digital immigrants. The former group is mainly composed of Generation Z. This includes everyone born around 1990. This group has often looked pityingly on the sometimes somewhat helpless attempts of their mothers or fathers to find their way with the new digital tools. The good news for all older people: that’s over now. To exaggerate, ChatGPT is becoming THE equaliser. AI ensures that everyone will now become more or less a digital immigrant again.


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Simon Tribelhorn Director of the Liechtenstein Bankers Association

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