Why do young people worry about money?

17 March, 2022Heather Tilston

A staggering 81% of young people feel anxious about money and finance, according to our latest Young Persons’ Money Index. That’s an increase of 14% on last year and the highest result recorded since LIBF first asked the question in 2016 (60%).

Worryingly, over half have also been targeted by fraudsters.

Young people want to be financially resilient but aren’t getting access to enough financial education in school. And the economic impacts of Covid-19 – and the rising costs of living – are all taking their toll.

This year’s research finds that 72% want to learn more about money and finance in school, rising to 85% among 1718 year olds. Most want to learn about the practicalities of managing money well, including:

  • budgeting
  • debt
  • tax
  • different financial products.

Are young people at risk of developing bad financial habits?

Catherine Winter, managing director of financial capability at LIBF 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.

“As part of our research we test a few core financial capability concepts and it’s clear that most young people don’t understand some of the basics. That means they are at risk of developing some bad financial habits when it comes to using and understanding debt, leading to potential financial issues in the future.

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.”

What access are young people getting to financial education in school?

73% of young people report having access to some form of financial education in school. That’s an increase of over 10%, with the rise particularly marked in the 15–16 age group (88%), compared to 61% of 17–18 year olds.

However, the percentage of those who had access ‘within the last term’ was less than 50% (46%). That’s a big increase on last year (27%), but there are significant differences between the age groups – 65% of 15–16s compared to only 27% of 17–18 year olds.

What are the main findings from the Young Persons’ Money Index?

  • 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.
  • 17-18 year olds are being left out at a time when arguably they need it the most. 

Related content

Read this year’s Young Persons’ Money Index

Find out more about our financial education qualifications

Watch our video of the key Young Persons’ Money Index stats