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Young people reap rewards of money lessons

Young people reap rewards of money lessons

Young people are reaping the rewards of early intervention in financial education amid fears of a growing gender gap which sees girls more likely to struggle with their finances. 

Charity MyBnk has warned of a "worrying early indicator" of divergence between the money management skills of young men and women, as it called on the industry to help "level the playing field" for the younger generation. 

Recent research published by the charity confirmed concerns of a gender gap in young people's financial capability, with girls more likely to suffer poor mental health as a result of money concerns. 

Of almost 4,000 11-25 year olds taking part in MyBnk's money programmes over the course of a year, the charity found girls were 18 per cent less financially confident and 10 per cent more females suffered financially-linked anxiety and depression than their male counterparts. 

But after lessons led by financial experts, the charity recorded a 48 per cent increase in regular saving and a 40 per cent decrease in owing money within the 16-25 year old demographic. 

Guy Rigden, chief executive at MyBnk, said: "When it comes to a basic life skill, money management, we have identified a worrying early indicator of divergence in the life chances of young women compared to young men.

"Yet this study also reveals the huge potential of young people when they are engaged with money and are motivated to act which also affects attitudes and behaviours.

"Prevention is always cheaper than the cure and we are calling on education departments, financial services and corporates to back what works in our classrooms to help dodge debt and level the playing field for young people."

Mr Rigden warned funding was tight and it was becoming harder to deliver frontline projects which help narrow the inequality gap. 

Throughout this week MyBnk has delivered virtual classes to almost 1,000 young people in schools and youth organisations, with most of the sessions free or funded. 

Adviser involvement 

Keith Richards, chief executive of the PFS, said it was "vitally important" that young learners had access to financial education.

He said recent months have seen hundreds of advisers join the Personal Finance Society's pro-bono programme to provide financial education in schools across the country.  

The programme sees advisers deliver financial workshops to students aged between 14 and 18 years old, with the professional body last year setting its sights on rolling out the scheme to every school in the UK. 

Before the coronavirus outbreak, and under the guidance of more than 900 PFS members, the scheme delivered 400 workshops to 12,000 students in the current academic year. 

This week the professional body launched a collection of virtual courses as part of the curriculum to navigate the continued lockdown measures.  

Since the start of the new school year in September the curriculum has featured in more than 90 workshops, which the professional body said had reached more than 2,000 students. The number of workshops is expected to grow by a further 200 before the end of the year.