Young Persons’ Money Index: gender and age differences in attitudes towards money

24 March, 2023Mutahara Gofur

The Young Persons’ Money Index (YPMI) is an annual survey that tracks financial education in UK schools and young people’s attitudes towards money. It has been carried out by us since 2014, when financial education was first introduced to the school curriculum.

Every year, the results tell us that young people want more access to financial education. This year, 82% said they want to learn more about money, a 10% increase from 2021. The index also highlighted ongoing age and gender differences in attitudes towards financial education and money.

Are there gender differences in young people’s attitudes towards money?

According to this year’s Young Person’s Money Index, 40% of female students don’t study personal finance at school, compared to 36% of male students. This is an increase from 29% last year for female students and 23% for males. It’s no surprise then that 75% of females worry about money, compared to 61% of males.

The cost of living crisis has also led to people feeling worried about money – the Office for National Statistics found that 77% of adults in the UK are somewhat or very worried about rising costs. This is also reflected in our Young Persons Money Index findings – 70% of female students and 63% of male students reported feeling more anxious due to the crisis.

Although a high percentage of both genders wanted to learn more about money in school, there was still a clear difference between females (86%) and males (77%). When assessing what they wanted to learn more about, a higher percentage of female students wanted to learn more about products, budgeting, debt, tax, and spending. In comparison, more male students wanted more information on careers in finance.

A potential explanation for women and young girls being more worried about money than their male counterparts could be the gender pay gap. Although in recent years, companies and industries have been working to close it, it is still an ongoing issue.  As a result, women are taking home lower incomes, which means less money goes towards their savings and pensions.

Do older children feel more worried about money?

This year’s YPMI findings echoed those from previous years – as children get older, they start to worry about money more. 83% of 17–18-year-olds reported that the cost of living crisis has made them feel more anxious about money and finance, compared to 54% of 15-16 year olds. This is unsurprising when 42% of 17–18-year-olds reported they don’t study personal finance at school.

Overall, a high number of young people (82%) want to know more about money and finance, but this increases to 85% among 17–18-year-olds. This could be because once they leave school, they will be starting university or work. As a result, they need to know more about student loans and how to manage their finances. Our findings also showed that although 95% of 17–18-year-olds are planning to go to university, 36% don’t know how a student loan works.

Linus Barnet, winner of the 18-19 category in the 2022 Young Financial Journalist competition, said financial education at school would have been very useful. “Most people at my school are going off to university soon and it’ll be our first time managing our finances. I think it would have been helpful to have some kind of education on budgeting.”

Why is financial education important?

A strong financial education in schools gives young people the opportunity to fill any knowledge gaps they have on money and finance. They will learn more about issues that they will face in the real world, such as budgeting, debt, taxes, financial products and more. This allows them to make informed and sensible financial decisions when the time comes.

Our 2023 YPMI results show that there is a clear demand for it – young people are eager to know more about finance and money at school.

We have a range of financial education qualifications for school, sixth form, and college students. Our Level 3 Certificate in Financial Studies and Level 3 Diploma in Financial Studies (DipFS) were created to help students build and gain confidence in their financial knowledge.

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Find out more about our Young Persons’ Money Index

Find out more about our financial education qualifications