This week is ‘Talk Money’ week – an annual activity organised as part of the Financial Capability Strategy for the UK which aims to get more people talking about money. Financial capability and confidence among UK adults is generally low, lower than many other countries. That affects how consumers engage with the sector and the outcomes they get with their money.
We believe in the power of education in helping to create more financially confident and competent consumers. Getting financial education onto the national curriculum in secondary schools in 2014 was a great starting point for helping to move the dial in terms of giving younger generations stronger foundations.
More young people say they worry about money
In our annual Young Persons' Money Index we track the delivery of financial education, and its impact. We’ve found that very few schools are teaching standalone personal finance qualifications – it’s being squeezed into other subjects. More young people than ever before say they worry about money – 71% in total (2017: 62%), increasing to 81% in the 17-18 age group – and most young people – 83% – say they want to learn more about money in school. These results suggest that, so far, just including financial education in the curriculum is not having the impact we all hoped for.
In our view, young people need help understanding the practicalities of managing money, day-to-day and for the long term, and teachers need support to deliver that. We need to look at what’s being taught, how that’s being delivered and make sure there’s enough time on the curriculum. Otherwise we risk another generation growing up without the essential knowledge they need to manage money well.
Teachers need clearer guidance
We’re calling for clearer guidance to be given to teachers about what financial education should cover and for financial education to be allocated a mandatory number of hours – at least an hour a week. We’re a member of the Youth Financial Capability Group which has developed Financial Education Planning frameworks
to support teachers, and which are being sent to all schools.
And we’re doing what we can – we provide specialist personal finance qualifications which schools can choose to offer, which we know really does shift the dial for those students lucky enough to get access to them. And we’re also reaching out into the communities – in particular to vulnerable groups – to help improve financial capability among adults.
We all need to talk about money more
Changing financial capability across the UK will take time and commitment at all levels – in the industry, in government, in education and at home. We all need to talk about money more.
This week could be an opportunity for you to think about what more you could do – is there a financial charity in your local community you could get involved with or is it simply time to ask yourself whether you talk to your children, or parents, about money enough?
Alison Pask is MD, Financial Capability and Community Outreach
Find out more about Young Persons' Money Index
To follow our exclusive industry insight, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, connect with us on LinkedIn and follow our blog.