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To answer the question 'Financing what?' this article distinguishes several models of lifelong learning as well as a variety of lifelong learning activities. Several financing methods are briefly reviewed, however the principal focus is on Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs) which were seen by some analysts as a promising model for financing learning for adults and an instrument for shifting initiative, choice and responsibility for learning to the learners themselves, for generating a market for providers of education and training, as well as making individuals and their employers share the costs of these activities. Before the backdrop of the decision by Sweden and Canada to abandon their plans to introduce such ILAs prior to their actual launch and the negative experience of the UK where ILAs were implemented on a large scale but later rescinded, the article tries to analyse the problems that ILAs experienced.