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In 2007 Halil Ünsal enrolled as a finance student at Bahçeşehir University driven by the belief that sound financial management is key to sustaining Turkey’s growth. After two years of business and maths courses Ünsal realised he still had not learned to manage his own personal finances.

Ünsal was not alone. Among the 37.5 million people under 30 in Turkey four out of five still do not save for major purchases, according to The life style, social preferences and financial behaviour of young people aged 15-30 study, conducted in 2009 by Era Research for Visa Europe Turkey. Many avoid contact with financial institutions because they don’t know how to open a checking account or because of a negative experience like seeing a parent default on a loan.

The global financial crisis demonstrated the impact of excessive spending and poor financial literacy. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis Visa Europe Turkey, the Turkish ministry of development, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and Habitat Center for Development teamed up to help youth take control of their financial future, one decision at a time.

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