With one in ten UK adults admitting to being ‘terrible’ with money, and one in four of us having no savings at all, many of us will wish we had been taught more about personal finance at school.
Children become aware of money early on, be it in the form of pocket money, weekly allowances or a visit from the tooth fairy. However, finance is still not a statutory part of the primary school curriculum and is only a sporadic part of the high school one. So it’s no surprise that a recent survey found that 71% of 15-18-year-olds worry about money.
While some financial management is being taught in secondary schools, our attitudes and habits may be formed at a younger age. But with such a big subject, which areas should be prioritised to give young people the confidence to make smart financial decisions later in life?
While some of us may take on part-time jobs and pay board for a brief period, leaving home is the first time many of us will deal with managing bills and other outgoings with only our own income to support us. Budgeting is an important skill to develop to make sure you’re covering the essentials without getting into debt.
The idea of sitting down and creating a budget can be intimidating at first, but modern technologies and applications have made it easier for young people to track their spending and manage their finances than ever before.
Learning to allocate money goes hand in hand with the skills learned in mathematics and will prove essential to anyone moving into their young adult years.
As well as managing money day-to-day, students can benefit from thinking about their finances in the long-term. The idea of building an emergency fund or planning for retirement can be difficult to grasp when young, but the earlier they start saving the better.
It’s a particularly important topic when you consider that one in ten UK adults over the age of 55 don’t have anything put away for their future. Training young people to set short-term and long-term savings goals can help them to establish how much they should be saving and for how long, while teaching techniques such as setting up automatic payments will make them more likely to put money away consistently.
There are many ways to organise our finances, and credit is undeniably a huge topic. All of us are likely to borrow money from time to time, while building a good credit score is important for life’s milestones, such as buying a home.
However, with these opportunities comes risk. And it’s important for young people to know how to correctly use their cards, rather than abusing them and getting themselves into debt.
From interest rates to the types of bank accounts out there, there’s still so much to learn. What do you wish you were taught about money at school?