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Being financially capable – it’s not as simple as you think

21 June, 2018Natalie Peters

Piggy-bank-with-moneySince the introduction of financial education into the curriculum in 2014, we have seen a great step forward in the financial awareness of young people today. But what are they actually learning? And how valuable is it?

The birth of financial education

This is the first generation to receive formal financial education. The growth of this important topic has aligned with the economic climate; with every hit the industry takes, we see a boost in uptake. And this is no surprise as we need to move away from the pay-day loan culture and an era of bad financial advice; we need savvy and well informed consumers.

Real-life versus text book

A maths class will teach a student how to calculate percentages, an economics lesson will teach them about the bigger picture; what’s missing is the middle ground of real-life financial planning experience.

Pensions are not an exciting topic for the average 16 year old; but the consequences of these life choices are very real. Our Financial Capability champions and many other teachers across the UK are bringing this subject to life. They use their own experiences and the mistakes of their generation to explain the core concepts and get students thinking about their future.

It’s about giving context to the numbers, not only preparing them for the real-world but also sparking an interest in the exciting world of finance.

It’s not all bank accounts and savings

Yes, financial education can be as simple as learning about how to budget or what APR means, but day-to-day money management is much more than that. Since 2003, we have been delivering our qualifications at A-level standard. They have the academic rigour and recognition of any other course at that level, but are specific to a key set of life skills.

These lessons explore the following set of important questions – what are the benefits of renting versus buying? What is good debt and what is bad debt? Should you save or should you invest? We even have 40,000 students learning about the risks and rewards of trading and portfolio management in the Student Investor Challenge. That certainly wasn’t available when I was at school!

Today’s future

Young people today are going to be up against the most challenging economic climate. We still don’t know what Brexit could mean for us, many will struggle to be homeowners and the age of retirement continues to rise.

We need to keep financial education high on the agenda – the emerging generation need these vital skills not only to benefit themselves but also to benefit the financial services industry.

Find out more about our Financial Capability qualifications and the great work we are doing with young people across the UK.