Long Read  

How do we teach financial literacy to young people?

Children and young people are a particularly vulnerable group when it comes to living in a cashless society. A survey conducted by the Bank of England found that 81 per cent of 15 to 18-year-olds across the UK worry about money.

Additionally, figures unveiled by fintech app W1TTY found the number of young people seeking help with debt, credit cards, and loans increased by 205 per cent, from 951 in 2016-17 to 2,899 last year.

Children benefit from being exposed to situations where physical money is exchanged. So, without physical cash, they are understanding the value of money less than they were able to before, opening up the dangers of debt cycles and falling victim to scams. 

Last month, Lloyds Bank issued a warning to parents that their children might be being targeted via gaming scams, and many teenagers have unknowingly taken part in money laundering online through social media apps. 

Although incorporated into some secondary school curriculums around Europe, the current state of financial literacy is not where it should be.

The curriculum needs updating to teach practical tips around budgeting, saving and investing in the age of online banking, and a focus on digital skills that can help young people spot scams and financial misinformation.

The use of technology has grown exponentially during the pandemic, and this offers new opportunities for educators, such as digitally enabled learning experiences for children.

Financial education ensures that students will be able to navigate confidently around the ever-evolving financial environment. It provides young people with a variety of financial skills, and the ability to make informed decisions surrounding finances. For example, it aids in protecting from unsustainable debt, saving for retirement, buying a home, or financing education.

Today’s generation of young people learn best when faced with real, relevant and meaningful scenarios, therefore it is vital financial literacy covers topics including taxes, the value of employment and smart saving and investing.

Not only will this benefit the individual, but it will have wider reaching implications and feedback positively into society.

For example, employees will be better prepared for work, and people will be more equipped to help and support others. Financial literacy skills are highly transferable and can boost entrepreneurship as well.

Good financial literacy lays a foundation for students to build strong money habits from a young age to ensure good future financial wellbeing, and avoidance of many of the mistakes that lead to lifelong money issues.

It is crucial that we enable young people to build a healthy relationship with money and contribute positively to our economy.