Young people demand financial education in schools

Young people demand financial education in schools
Photo: Julia M Cameron via Pexels

Fears over fraud, the economy and the rising cost of living has made younger people more financially anxious than before, research has found.

According to the latest Young Person's Money Index, compiled by the London Institute of Banking and Finance, 81 per cent of young people now feel worried about their financial situation. 

This is a 14 percentage point increase on the 2021 index and the highest recorded since the LIBF first started asking the question in 2016. 

More than 50 per cent of young people aged between 15 to 18 have already been targeted by fraudsters, leading 85 per cent of those aged 17-18 demanding more education about money and finance.

The fraud tended to be phone phishing scams, asking young people for bank details or claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs.

Some 12 per cent said they have been asked for their PIN numbers and 8 per cent have had their credit or debit card cloned or stolen.

LIBF commissioned YouthSight to survey a representative sample of more than 2,000 secondary school children across the UK. Aged between 15 and 18, the respondents said they wanted to learn about the practicalities of managing money well, including budgeting, debt, tax and different financial products.  

Catherine Winter, managing director, financial capability at the LIBF, commented: "Anxiety about money combined with a lack of financial knowledge is a perilous mix.

"Most young people don’t have the financial knowledge or confidence they need. Even before they leave school, they’re vulnerable to scams and fraud – and are at risk from developing some bad financial habits when it comes to using and understanding debt."

According to the study, 67 per cent said Covid-19 had made them feel more anxious about money.  

While 73 per cent of young people reported having access to some form of financial education in school - an increase of more than 10 per cent compared to last year, the majority wanted more detailed information.

Financial products – such as mortgages, pensions, loans and credit cards – along with budgeting and debt management came top, followed closely by tax.

Winter said: “Young people want to be financially resilient, and the impacts of Covid-19 – and the rising costs of living – are all taking their toll. We all need to step up to help young people develop these essential life skills.

"That means providing support – for schools, for teachers and for students – to make sure high quality financial education is available to all age groups. Including financial education in the Ofsted Framework would help ensure that happens.”

Last week (March 8), independent girls' school Streatham and Clapham High hosted an evening panel session on building financial resilience among young women.

One of the panellists, Jennie Kreser, former pensions lawyer and now independent trustee, commented that when she was at school, the only financial education they had was when a lady from the Bank of England "came in and showed us a chequebook".