Anxiety about money and lack of knowledge ‘a perilous mix’ for young people

11 March, 2022

A staggering 81% of young people feel anxious about money and finance an increase YPMI-press-release of 14% on last year. That’s according to the latest Young Persons’ Money Index from The London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF).  It’s the highest result recorded since LIBF first asked the question in 2016 (60%). The Institute has been surveying young people about their access to financial education and experiences of money since 2014.

This year’s research finds that over half have been targeted by fraudsters and the majority want more financial education in school. 72% say they want to learn more about money and finance in school, rising to 85% among 17– 18 year olds. Most want to learn about the practicalities of managing money well, including budgeting, debt, tax and different financial products.  

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

“Anxiety about money, combined with a lack of financial knowledge is a perilous mix. Our research tells us that most young people don’t have the financial knowledge or confidence they need. Even before they leave school, they’re vulnerable to scams and fraud – and are at risk from developing some bad financial habits when it comes to using and understanding debt.

“Young people want to be financially resilient, and the impacts of Covid-19 – and the rising costs of living – are all taking their toll. We all need to step up to help young people develop these essential life skills. That means providing support – for schools, for teachers and for students – to make sure high quality financial education is available to all age groups. Including financial education in the Ofsted Framework would help ensure that happens.”

The research found: 

  • young people want more, and more regular, access to financial education in school
  • they want to learn about the practicalities of managing money well
  • they are at risk of getting into bad habits, and are vulnerable to scams and fraud
  • there’s evidence to suggest that financial education among 15–16 year olds may be on the increase, but the majority don’t get dedicated lessons. The results also suggest that 17– 18 year olds are being left out at a time when arguably they need it the most.

  • Key Stats 

  • Anxiety in young people about finance has increased to 81% from 67% last year
  • In particular, 67% say that Covid-19 has made them feel more anxious about money. That rises to 73% among 15–16 year olds
  • Overall, 72% want to learn more about money and finance in school. That rises to 85% among 17–18 year olds.

  • Asked at what age they’d like to start learning about money:
  • 56% said between the ages of 11–14
  • 25% said between the ages of 15–18
  • 8% said from the age of ten
  • 15% said ten and under

  • 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.

  • There have been improvements in some specific areas of knowledge:
  • 62% said they hadn’t received any information about tax in school – a reduction of 15%
  • 36% say they don’t how a student loan works – a reduction of 5%.
  • 32% would like to learn more about pursuing a career in the finance sector

  • So what access are they getting to financial education? 

  • 73% of young people report having access to some form of financial education in school. That’s an increase of over 10% compared to last year, with the rise particularly marked in the 15–16 age group.
  • 88% of 15–16 year olds, compared to 61% of 17–18 year olds.
  • The percentage of those who had access ‘Within the last term’ was less than 50%. However, that’s another big increase on last year (27%), but there are significant differences between the age groups.
  • 65% of 15–16 year olds, compared to 27% of 17–18 year olds who said they’d had recent access.

  • Where do they get most of their financial understanding from? 

  • Just over half (56%) say most of their financial understanding and knowledge comes from their parents.

  • That’s an improvement compared to last year (75%), but again there’s a big difference between the age groups:
  • less than half of 15–16 year olds (43%) compared to more than two thirds (68%) of 17–18 year olds
  • Only 15% cite school as their main source of financial education – but that’s a 7% increase on last year.
  • 25% of respondents say they’re self-taught – up 12% on last year
  • Worryingly, of those, those in the 15–16 age group are more likely to say ‘self-taught’ – 31% compared to 19% of 17–18s

  • Are they vulnerable to financial crime? ? 

  • Over half have been targeted by fraudsters asking for bank details or claiming to be from HMRC.
  • More than one in ten (12%) have been asked for their PIN numbers and 8% have had their credit or debit card cloned or stolen.

  • 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.