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Majority of teenagers starting university without knowing how to plan a budget

21 October, 2015

• 17/18 year olds least likely to have had any financial education
• 70 per cent leave school without ever having a lesson in personal finance

Teenagers are being left dangerously underprepared in being able to manage their finances as they leave school for university or the world of work.

With a record 426,000  students starting university this week, the Young Persons’ Money Index, published by ifs University College reveals the 16-18 year old demographic is most at risk of financial exclusion.

Nearly 70 per cent of teenagers in this age group will leave school without ever having received any formal financial education, just as they are about to take on greater independent financial responsibility, including taking out loans or managing budgets.

The picture of financial education at GCSE level, where it is now statutory within the curriculum is also stark, with 59 per cent still not receiving any form of formalised financial education.

Because of this dearth in structured financial education, teenagers are becoming increasingly reliant on a range of informal sources to fill this gap. These include from parents, from the news and media, from friends and even social media accounts.

Commenting on the findings, Alison Pask, Vice Principal at ifs University College said:

It is the height of irresponsibility to send so many young people off from full-time education without even a basic grasp of personal money management.

At a time when they are about to embark on the next stages of their lives where they will have to make life-long financial decisions regarding taking on debt and managing the costs of living, we run the very real risk of storing up long-term problems for the economy.

Informal financial education, be it from social media, the news or other influences are no substitute for age-appropriate, structured and consistent education, delivered by trained teachers.”

For more information on the Young Persons’ Money Index, please visit: http://www.ifslearning.ac.uk/financial-capability/young-persons'-money-index