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Call for financial education to be prioritised as Covid increases anxiety about money among the young

24 March, 2021Heather Tilston

Calculator and notebooksThe Covid-19 pandemic has made young people more anxious about money, while financial education in schools remains patchy according to the latest Young Persons’ Money Index from The London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF).  

59% say Covid-19 has made them feel more anxious about money, with 67% saying they regularly worry about money overall.

83% want to learn more about money and finance in school, but very few (less than 19%) have had recent access.

Most want to learn about the practicalities of managing money well, including budgeting, debt, tax and different financial products.  

These are the core findings from the latest Young Persons’ Money Index, annual research by LIBF to assess the take-up and impact of financial education in schools. LIBF has been running the research since the introduction of financial education onto the National Curriculum in 2014.  

Catherine Winter, MD, Financial Capability at The London Institute of Banking & Finance says:  

“Young people say they want to learn the practical skills that will help them prosper in life, but they need quality education to help them do that.

"For many schools, battling the challenges of the pandemic, implementing better financial education may not seem like it can take top priority right now. Meanwhile Covid-19 is making significant numbers of young people more anxious about money (59%), particularly in the 17–18 age group (71%). 

"It would help to include financial education in the Ofsted Framework, so it can be prioritised and measured.” 

Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England, commented: 

“The Young Persons’ Money Index once again shines a light on the important issue of financial education and the need for more to be done to prioritise it.

"This need has only been exacerbated by the events of the last year which, as the survey shows, have further increased young people’s anxieties about money.

"The Bank of England fully recognises the need for young people to get more comprehensive financial education and we try to play our part through our education programme, including the resources we make freely available for schools. We’ll continue to invest in this area and support the efforts of others who are trying to address this issue.” 

Abigail Tang, 16, from Newcastle, who is a member of the Bank of England Youth Forum, says:

“These findings prove just how anxious and concerned young people are about their own financial literacy and lack of financial education. This is particularly concerning given the current level of economic uncertainty, with young people at the forefront of the recovery period as we get older and move into the real world, making decisions about money and becoming policy makers in the future.

“It is worrying that more than 2 in 5 young people don’t know, or are unsure of, how a student loan works. This may deter young people from reaching their ambitions because they see a financial barrier between them and their dream education.”

What the research found

75% of those surveyed say most of their financial understanding and knowledge comes from their parents.

  • That number increases to 88% when those who say they are self-taught are included.
  • Only 8% cite school as their main source of financial education.

83% want to learn more about money and finance in school and those who say they worry about money remains high at 67%.

  • That increases to 82% in the 17–18 age group.

59% say that Covid-19 has made them feel more anxious about money.

  • That increases to 71% in the 17-18 age group.

Of the 64% who say they have received financial education of some sort in school:

  • Only 19% only had access within the last month
  • 8% said only ‘in the last term’
  • 18% said only ‘in the last year’
  • 15% said it was more than a year ago

When asked at what age they’d like to start learning about money, 81% want to start learning about money in school after age 11. 

  • 54% said between the ages of 11–14.
  • 27% said between the ages of 15–18.
  • 7% said from the age of ten, with only a few suggesting younger ages.

What would young people like to learn more about?

  • Financial products – such as mortgages, pensions, loans and credit cards – along with budgeting and debt management came top, followed closely by tax.
  • 77% said they hadn’t received any information about tax in school.
  • 41% do not know or are unsure how a student loan works.
  • 32% would like to learn more about pursuing a career in the finance sector.

Download the full Young Person's Money Index 2021 Report