Majority of investors say schools failed them on finance

Majority of investors say schools failed them on finance

Almost eight in 10 personal investors have had no exposure to financial education at school, according to research.

Analysis by online stockbroker The Share Centre, found two-thirds of personal investors believe they would have made more informed decisions if they had received dedicated financial education lessons at school.

In a survey which took place between July and August this year with 1,120 personal investors, only 18 per cent said they received some form of financial education as part of other subjects such as maths and economics, with the remainder learning about the subject through their peers.

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Richard Stone, chief executive at The Share Centre, echoed the sentiment of 90 per cent of the respondents, who felt that financial education should be compulsory within the school curriculum.

He said: “With the plethora of relatively complex financial decisions required in life it is clear that there is a need for greater financial education within the school environment and perhaps there should even be a formal Financial Education GCSE or similar which everyone should take.

“With school leavers now heading off to university and likely to end their higher education with large debts, combined with housing now less affordable as house prices have accelerated far quicker than wages, and as the savings ratio is at an all-time low of 1.7 per cent, it is clear that more needs to be done to help give everyone the financial skills they need to equip them for life.”

The research found that the lack of financial help means that personal investors feel unprepared when faced with tax, mortgages and pension.

As part of the survey, respondents were asked about specific financial topics and products they had used in adult life but wish they had learnt more about at school.

Half of investors cited the mechanisms of the stock market, while 38 per cent wished they had learnt more about tax and mortgages. Finally, almost half flagged a desire to learn about pensions prior to leaving school.

The Share Centre set up Shares4Schools 14 years ago, a national programme introducing sixth form students to the world of finance.

AJ Somal, financial planner at Birmingham-based Aurora Financial Planning, said: “This highlights why financial education is crucial at school.  But due to lack of financial education, regulated financial advice is as important than ever.”