Financial education should start at 7 years old: Mas

Financial education should start at 7 years old: Mas

Financial education is vital to creating a better-informed consumer, the chairman of the Money Advice Service has claimed.

Andy Briscoe, who became chairman of the Money Advice Service (Mas) in September 2013, said it was imperative to have "cradle to grave" financial education.

Speaking at the launch of Financial Capability Week, in co-ordination with the Financial Capability Board, Mr Briscoe said having a better-informed consumer would benefit financial advisers and the whole industry.

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He commented: "Financial capability will not just help IFAs but the whole of financial services. The more capable and informed people are, the more they will seek out advice and appropriate products, and the more they will engage with financial services.

"The whole industry stands to benefit as not only are individuals more engaged but there will be times when a member of the public will need expert financial advice, and having a more educated client can only be a good thing."

Mr Briscoe added it was vital to get the money management message across to children as young as seven.

He added: "If you can teach children about managing money and instilling the right attitudes to money, then they will carry this learning for the rest of their life."

The Mas event at the Bank of England museum, which was held in association with Young Enterprise, aimed to highlight to educators and the financial industry the importance of inculcating financial know-how among young people.

Over the next few months, Mas is implementing several initiatives to improve financial education among young people, including a project to give parents tools to teach their children about budgeting and money.

Earlier this year, Mas launched a £7m fund to gain a better understanding of which projects and interventions work best to help people make the most of their money.

According to Mr Briscoe, Mas received more than 400 expressions of interest for funding and it is aiming for projects to commence by January 2017.

Financial adviser Rob McCurrich, head of investment and pensions at Roxburgh Financial Management, said it was important to speak with clients and get them on-board with educating their children about money matters.

He told FTAdviser as part of a Guide to Investing for Children: "Explain to clients how they can show their children the effects of what they are doing to build up funds on their children's behalf.

"If the myths can be busted at an early age and good disciplines instilled, there is every hope these good behaviours will be carried through adult life."

Mr Briscoe's comments came as research from Mas, carried out for Financial Capability Week, revealed that only four in 10 young people in the UK say they have received any form of financial education.