Only 26 percent of Norwegians regularly set up a household budget and follow it, according to a new survey conducted by research firm Respons Analyse for the country’s bigget bank, DNB. That compares to 61 percent of Europeans on average.
The relative lack of private financial discipline is linked to Norwegians’ high standard of living and ability to afford it after years of a strong economy. Now that the oil boom has ended, however, the lax attitude towards income and expenses may need to change.
“Norwegians have never had better household economy, but it can look like the better off we are, the lazier we are in regards to our own economy,” Trond Bentestuen of DNB told news bureau NTB.
By comparison, 63 percent of Danes and 42 percent of Swedes set up a household budget. The most budget-conscious in Europe are those living in Poland, Russia and Greece, where nearly 80 percent of households live according to a budget. In France, 64 percent create a budget as do 58 percent in Germany. In the UK, 62 percent of households surveyed set up a budget. The survey was carried out in January and February of this year and questioned 1,000 people in every country in Europe.
Bentestuen said the low level of budgeting in Norway, second only to Finland at 35 percent, is worrisome especially given high household debt levels. Young Norwegians aged 18 to 26 also have defaulted on more than a billion kroner in consumer debt.
“Many don’t understand the consequences if they land in economic trouble,” Bentestuen said. The survey results prompted the bank to enter into a partnership with the Norwegian Red Cross and start offering courses in household economics in elementary schools nationwide.