Industry taps into growing need for financial education
With initiatives in the UK and the Middle East aimed at under-18s.
Nearly three in four Brits (72%) support the teaching of financial education to children as young as seven, a study by research consultancy firm ComRes found.
This is because attitudes towards money start forming at that age, meaning it is important to start educating them on how to manage their finances as early as possible.
It follows The Money Advice Service’s discovery that half of young people (12 to 17 years of age) and half of parents in the UK are not confident about managing money.
This prompted a number of bosses of the UK’s main savings and investment firms to write to the prime minister demanding compulsory financial education in primary schools in the UK.
Make a difference
An evaluation by Kickstart Money, a coalition of 20 savings and investment firms, delivered by charity MyBnk, found that financial education has been proven to be effective.
After a year of independent monitoring of more than 3,000 pupils, it found that 66% of children in primary schools were working towards saving money, and 77% managed to delay spending gratification, after financial education sessions.
Jane Goodland, corporate affairs director at Quilter and representative of the Kickstart Money programme, said: “This new polling shows the support from the British public for financial education in primary schools and the year two evaluation of the Kickstart Money programme proves that it works.
“Now government needs to act before another generation is let down by insufficient financial education.
“One in five adults have less than £100 ($129, €115) in savings or investments and 10.7 million rarely or never save, according to the Money Advice Service. This is a crisis that can be averted.
“We know that if we teach children at the right age, then financial education can be effective. We as a nation can’t afford not to tackle this issue.
“It is essential that we include financial education as a compulsory element of the primary school curriculum to prevent children leaving education with no understanding of how to manage their finances.
“We need the government to act now to protect the futures of the 4.73 million primary children across the UK,” she added.
A step further
A similar programme was rolled out by Zurich Middle East in Dubai.
Now in its second year, the ‘Investars’ initiative is an educational game that teaches students between the ages of 16 and 18 about the stock market by providing them with $100,000 (£77,610, €89,754) in virtual money to invest in real life funds.
The teenagers need to pick between four and 12 funds and allocate no more than 40% to a single one, as well as build their own investment strategy and spend six weeks monitoring their portfolios.
At the end, the student with the highest value portfolio wins a AED1,000 (£211, $272, €244) gift card.
“I am really proud of our Investars programme,” said Walter Jopp, chief executive of Zurich Middle East.
“Our experience with this initiative has shown us that students actually enjoy and embrace learning about investing and money.
“Understanding the basic concepts of financial decision-making before they take on their own responsibilities, can equip young people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to take charge of their lives.”