3 QUESTIONS | 3 MINUTES
We asked Toni Milun, math lecturer and social media blogger from Croatia, 3 questions on how his work relates to economic and financial literacy and what this has to do with active citizenship. Here are his answers:
1. Can you describe your social media content and target audience? What inspired you to start sharing this type of content and how does it connect with your followers?
“Back in the spring of 2011, 12 years ago, a former student of mine, Nikola Mujdzic, reached out to me over email and asked me to meet. Over coffee, he told me that he enjoyed the way I taught math and saw potential in me to make an impact beyond the classroom. His idea was simple: record the lectures and post them for free on YouTube. I was impressed by his informal approach and immediately agreed.
Just a few days later, we recorded our first video and posted it on YouTube. It was well-received, and so we continued making more. We called the project “Where Maths is Fun”. Soon, students from Croatia and neighboring countries began learning math from our videos. Within two years, the media had caught on and started writing about us. Today, we have over 2,000 math videos and several hundred financial literacy videos.
To reach a wider audience, we have profiles on several social networks, including LinkedIn for professionals, TikTok for younger audiences, and Facebook and Instagram for everyone. We always make sure that the materials we publish are educational and useful for all of our followers.”
2. What are some common misconceptions people have about managing their finances, and how do you help them overcome these misconceptions?
“I believe that we all have room for improvement in managing our finances. Financial literacy has three main components: financial knowledge, behavior, and attitudes. For instance, let’s say we’ve spent all the money in our current account, and we come across a beautiful pair of shoes that cost 200 euros. If we know that if we bought them, we’ll be charged an 8% interest rate for overdrawing our account and that it will cost us 16 euros for the whole year, that indicates we have financial knowledge. However, if we still purchase the shoes despite the cost, we need to work on our financial behavior. Having knowledge is not enough.
The third component, financial attitude, is also critical. A positive attitude like “The purpose of money is to ensure a more secure future” is ideal, while a negative attitude such as “The purpose of money is to be spent” or “You only live once” can lead to negative consequences.
As someone from Eastern Europe, I know that many of us struggle with financial behavior and attitudes. That’s why it is crucial to work on raising awareness and improving our financial literacy. We can start by keeping track of our expenses, creating a financial plan, and seeking resources that can help us manage our finances better. Citizens from Western Europe tend to exhibit better financial behavior and attitudes. They are more likely to save money and be mindful of how they spend their money.”
3. Do you need to understand economics and finance to be an active member of society, an active citizen? Why or why not?
“In my opinion, it’s crucial to have at least a basic understanding of economics and finance to be an active citizen. Our financial decisions affect not only our personal well-being, but also that of our communities. For instance, in Croatia, parents can allocate their children to their tax card and pay less income tax. However, determining which child should be assigned to which parent requires an understanding of payroll calculations from gross to net. Unfortunately, many citizens in Croatia are not familiar with these calculations and end up paying higher taxes than necessary.
This issue highlights the importance of financial knowledge in our daily lives. I believe that we can find many examples in any country that demonstrate how financial knowledge and attitudes can impact the financial and civic well-being of citizens.”
THE CIVICS would like to thank Toni Milun for his time and valuable insights!