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Young people are particularly vulnerable to overspending and can end up in debt which can additionally slow their path to adulthood. Intrum Justitia wants to be a part of fighting this by raising awareness and knowledge. The latest effort is the development of the interactive teaching tool Spendido.

“Most of us can relate to the desire to grow up and become independent with all that it entails in terms of living on your own, having an income and committing to the future. But with a detrimental credit behaviour all this might be beyond reach. We want to contribute to fight this – because we know the harsh consequences for young people that end up in debt” says Per-Henrik Persson, head of Intrum Justitia, Sweden.

A vital part of this effort is the development of Spendido, an interactive teaching tool consisting of a web-based classroom tutorial coupled with a mobile app that allows the students to solve individual exercises but also to use it as an everyday tool to make budgets and calculate the cost of a credit or instalment plan. This digital teaching tool has been developed in collaboration with highly-experienced teachers, the first version is aimed at Swedish pupils.

“It looks really good and professional and I can see this being of great help in the class-room,” said Magdalena Fredmark, a teacher at the Blackeberg High School in Stockholm during a recent evaluation seminar where a reference group of teachers pitched in with thoughts and ideas on how to design the lesson.

Spendido is launching in October after almost a year of hard work by an Intrum Justitia team to develop the website in cooperation with teachers and other experts.

“A lot of people have put their hearts and minds into this and we are now really looking forward to seeing it being implemented in the class-room,” says Per-Henrik Persson.

Spendido complies with the Swedish national curriculum and standards set by The Swedish national Agency For Education. The lesson is scalable and flexible, allowing teachers to introduce their own content like videos, images, articles or social media posts.

The subject of managing your personal finances is already included in the Swedish national curriculum but there has been a lack of modern and digital tools widely available to teachers.

“This will certainly fill a void in terms of material for education and will be welcomed by teachers. It is easy to use and addresses the most common financial issues that young people face today,” said Anna Levenkrans, a teacher from Rönninge High School in Stockholm.

Young people taking on harmful credit or spending beyond their means is a problem found throughout Europe although it varies greatly from country to country. A common factor is however, that it easily leads to payment problems that can a haunt a person for a long time and result in unforeseen consequences.

“Teaching material like this is really useful and important and I think it can make a difference in making young people realize what happens when you take on debt or pay late. Many youngsters believe there is always another chance and they need to realize that in some cases that is not so,” said Jon Korsgren, a teacher at Hermods High School in Stockholm.

Spendido covers subjects like what happens when you don’t pay your bills, what credit is, how to calculate the hidden costs when paying by instalment and how to stay out of debt. You also hear testimonials from young people – who have experienced firsthand what it is like to suffer from payment problems. In addition, representatives from different companies and institutions bear witness to the difficulties of renting an apartment or getting a cell-phone subscription if you have defaulted on a debt. It also allows for discussions about overall spending behaviour in today’s society, what encourages and drives spending, and how the pattern of consumption has changed over the decades.

After the initial introduction in Sweden, the intention is to roll out Spendido in other European countries after having adapted it to meet local needs, regulations and other conditions.

More info (in Swedish) http://www.spendido.org