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Young Financial Journalist of the Year Winner: 14-16 Category

26 March, 2018Hamish Orr
writing learningThe 14-16 year old category had many brilliant entries, but sadly the judges could only pick one winner. Again, we asked the young writers to answer the question: 'Why should I care about being money savvy, and how can financial education help?'.

Congratulations to Hamish Orr, 14, from The Portsmouth Grammar School, who is this year's winner of the 14-16 year old category. The judges said: “Great use of case studies which really helped bring the subject to life. Well done!” 

Below is Hamish's winning article, a fantastic read which I'm sure you will enjoy. 

Why should I care about being money savvy, and how can financial education help?

Being money savvy and managing money well is commonly seen as difficult and boring, however it needn't be. Financial education is easier and more interesting than it may appear.

During a survey conducted by Money Advice Service at the start of 2018 more than 30% of people aged between 16 and 25 said they have not put money into a savings account in the last twelve months. This shows a potential lack of knowledge about how to manage finances and to save for long and short term goals. In the same survey less than five percent of  young adults valued saving into a pension as being in their top three priorities in life.

We should care about being money savvy as it is key to making decisions that affect your life and the goals we have the financial ability to reach. An example would compare savvy Sally to confused Connor. They both have a job at a factory in their local town. Each gets £4,000 net income a month and is paid on the first Friday of each month. Savvy Sally pays her rent and other bills and bus tickets totalling £1,000 for the month. She then decides to put £1,000 aside into her instant access saving for holidays and emergencies, £500 into her 12 month notice account as well as £500 towards her pension. This leaves her with a comfortable £1,000 to spend on extras.

Last month confused Connor bought himself a car. He gets his pay cheque and goes out for dinner that night splashing £100 on a night out drinking and eating. The next day he realises he has £250 to pay off a payday loan he took out last week, as well as paying £750 on his new car. He then decides to pay off essential bills and is left with £2,000. However he spends £500 a month insuring and paying for the running costs of his car, only to go and crash it!

Confused Connor now doesn't know what to do as he is going to need to use some of his savings to spend on his car that he wanted to use on a holiday. Fortunately Confused Connor has never not checked his bank statement in the last 12 months, along with 20% of respondents in a survey of millennials asked. This means Connor might keep his savings and take out a short-term loan as he knows he can pay it back next month [although he should be careful of high interest rates on short-term loans, and make sure he pays it back promptly].

Short term planning is very important when being money savvy as short term problems can lead to longer term bad debt as well as a shortage of money in the future, such as during retirement.

According to the Money Advice Service’s survey only 20% of the young adults asked had paid money into a company or private pension plan in the last 12 months. In the long term they will have to contribute more money towards a pension to have a comfortable retirement thus putting more financial restraint on them in the future.

Being money savvy is the way to have the finances to help achieve all your goals. Buy your first house, go on holiday, trip to a concert or go to university - they all take money and earning money often takes time. I believe that the point of financial education is to give you more time to do the things you want to achieve instead of worrying about how you are going to pay your mortgage. If you have a plan most things are achievable.

In the long term saving £500 a month into a limited access notice account with an interest rate of 1.25% for 25 years generates £26,176.09 interest, compared to £15,078.74 leaving your £500 savings in a 0.75% current account for the same length of time. 35% of people mentioned in the Money Advice survey have not put money into a savings account in the last 12 months, showing a lack of financial education and planning.

The difference being money savvy can make upon your life is amazing. Over 25 years you could have 1000’s of pounds more to spend on holidays, family and friends or further education to try and broaden your budget so you can invest in yourself even more.

Financial education is one of the best ways you can help learn about the available ways to invest and grow your money. Eventually you’ll come up with a plan to help you manage your finances well, bringing time and ease life by taking away the stress of financial difficulties as well as showing your options for seeking financial support. And it is for these reasons why being money savvy is something we should care about and is the reason everyone should take some sort of financial education.

- Hamish Orr, 14

About our guest judge, Katie Morley

She was Consumer Affairs Editor at the Daily and Sunday Telegraph. She started writing during her time as a student at University College London (UCL), becoming the Editor of UCL’s student magazine in 2009, before beginning her formal training as a journalist in 2010. Her career has developed from writing on student issues to reporting on news and issues in the finance sector – starting with pensions and investments and then moving into personal finance. She started a Young Money column in the Financial Times in 2014 before moving to the Daily and Sunday Telegraph in 2014. Her roles at The Telegraph have included Senior Personal Finance Reporter.

Find out who won the 17-19 year old category in the Young Financial Journalist of the Year.