How should graduates start on their finances?

  • Describe the financial predicament of recent graduates
  • Identify certain ways graduates can help themselves when seeking information
  • Describe the tax advantages low earners have
How should graduates start on their finances?

It is all too easy for parents to focus on getting children through the education system and then on to university.

But what about the next step?

While conversations about their dreams and aspirations might be quite common, how many of us talk about how they will have to manage money?

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Financial concerns and headaches among young people are more common than you might think.

In our annual Young Persons’ Money Index, over 69 per cent of young people (15 to 18-year olds) said they were worried about money – and that increases to 82 per cent in the 17 to 18 age group.

We also asked our undergraduates, who are studying banking and finance degrees with us, about their attitudes to money.

While some of the results were unsurprising, there is a definite change from when I left education (30 years ago) to where we are today.

So, why is this an issue for financial advisers?

You are likely to have clients that have young adults in the family – perhaps the new year would be a good time to suggest the whole family comes in for a financial health check?

Before looking at areas that you could cover, let’s look at their financial priorities and worries.

Paying the rent is top priority

Unsurprisingly, most students worry about paying for rent, food and travel.

When they have money troubles, they go to their parents or work more hours.

However, when they need advice on money two thirds would go to the internet and only a minority would go to Citizens Advice. Just under 4 per cent would go to their bank for help and advice.

We all know how unreliable the internet can be.

Equally, if they were to ask their parents, would their parents know how best to advise them on credit cards, student loans and other forms of debt?

That very much depends on the level of financial know-how and education their parents may have.

Citizens Advice holds a huge amount of trusted advice and support for students, as does the government-backed Money Advice Service.

Both these sites offer clear advice on managing money and offer information on student bank accounts, student loans, tuition fees and money saving tips.

They also go into the next stages of repaying student loans when entering the big wide world and what that entails.

So, there is free advice out there. But that only goes so far.

Planning for the future

Next on their list is employment and finding a career, or building their own business, while maintaining a good lifestyle and saving for the future when it comes to property and transport.

The first piece of good news for students is that according to the Office for National Statistics UK unemployment fell to its lowest level since January 1975 in the three months to October 2019.