The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) and the Department of Accounting and Finance at the University of Cyprus (UCY) on Thursday jointly launched an educational initiative aimed at enhancing financial literacy among the public, especially young people.

According to the announcement, this campaign features citizens who have learned from their financial mistakes and are now sharing their experiences to educate others.

Titled “Make your past financial mistakes lessons for the future,” the campaign seeks to document real-life stories related to money management and investments.

These stories, the announcement explained, will be used to create educational materials for schools and universities, encouraging smarter and more strategic financial and investment decisions in the future.

The campaign calls on individuals who have made regrettable financial decisions, learned hard lessons, or experienced financial fraud to share their stories.

By participating, these individuals can help create a comprehensive campaign aimed at protecting investors and consumers of financial products.

Participants will have the option to consent to the publication of their stories and personal data, with no personal information released without permission.

CySEC chairman George Theocharides highlighted the importance of this initiative, saying that “with rising retail activity and accessibility, it’s crucial that new investors understand the risks as well as opportunities of investing”.

“People who have been through these unfortunate experiences and have understood what went wrong are often the best people to keep others from making the same mistakes because of the valuable knowledge and tools they’ve acquired,” he added.

Moreover, CySEC officer Elena Karkoti explained that “the complexity of today’s financial markets makes it even more imperative to apply certain basic principles of self-protection to avoid making wrong decisions and pitfalls”.

“Both past and more recent experiences of our fellow citizens can serve as a source of knowledge and advice,” she added, noting that “participants will be asked to share a negative money experience from their everyday life”.

Additionally, Karkoti said that “through CySEC’s financial education activities, we want these stories – and the lessons acquired from them – to guide and protect other people,” stressing that they are asking the people of Cyprus to share their stories.

“Be the protagonist of our campaign,” she stated.

Meanwhile, Andreas Milidonis, Professor of Finance at UCY’s Department of Accounting and Finance, said that “through the classrooms of both the University of Cyprus and secondary education schools, it has become evident that the financial literacy of the younger generation can be enhanced by learning from the mistakes of previous generations”.

“The case of the Cyprus stock market, convertible bonds, over-borrowing, frauds, and illusions of quick wealth have affected many of us,” Milidonis explained.

“Therefore, it is time to document these unfortunate experiences (anonymously or not) to include them in the educational materials for the financial education of the new generation. We look forward to hearing from you,” he concluded.