Financial Education Paves the Path to Personal Success
Over the course of their lives, most adults face a wide variety of financial concerns, from saving and investing, to financing large -scale purchases like homes and cars. Managing credit card balances and accounting for other household expenses adds further variety to the myriad of money management considerations faced by average consumers. And reconciling income and cash flow are additional money handling skills required for effective household management, which relies on sound budgeting and financial discipline. With so many things to learn about money, where are UK residents picking up the knowledge they need to effectively conduct their personal financial affairs?
Early Financial Foundations for Young Money Managers
Financial understanding is not automatic. Clearly, it is related to mathematics, but the sums and balances are only part of a more complex equation. To help tomorrow’s leaders manage money, it is important to instill early lessons about cash handling, budgeting, saving and other practical aspects of personal finance. Some schools, like the Priory Witham Academy in Lincoln, are doing just that; incorporating valuable financial instruction into daily curricula.
The school is engaging in a partnership with one of the country’s leading financial education charities, as well as the bank company Santander, joining upwards of fifty participants in a collective effort to enhance financial understanding among young people. The charity will assist teachers as they integrate financial education into their lesson plans, drawing from the organisation’s many years of specialising in this area. By recognising the importance of financial mastery, the Academy and others participating in the programme are taking-on the responsibility as primary educators. The programme aims to ensure each young person transitions to adulthood with the knowledge and skills required to manage money, but partners in the effort also hope to instill financial confidence in students, who are exposed to money matters at an increasingly young age.
Math and citizenship teachers across the UK are now teaching financial literacy, as part of an initiative set in motion last fall. By formally incorporating budget-specific learning into math and citizenship instruction, schools are showing their commitment to shaping children’s future financial success.
Private Sector Support
In addition to financial education initiatives driven by the public sector, private partnerships are an important part of early financial education. Royal Bank of Scotland, for example, puts forth a few financial literacy schemes to assist children of various ages. The Money Sense for Schools programme, for example, is now taught to 11-18 year olds in more than fifty per cent of secondary schools in UK and Ireland. Programme resources are being used even more now that financial education is compulsory for many teachers. Pocket Money, a suite of activities for 7-11 year old’s curious about finance, furnishes help with money lessons. Not only can families enjoy learning activities on the award-winning site, but primary school teachers can also check-in for advice crafting financial lesson plans for kids.
NatWest is also involved in financial education, partnered with the Personal Finance Education Group in an effort to support teachers with the new mandatory financial curriculum. The Group’s Initial Teacher Training is set-up to assist more than 400 student teachers during its roll-out, with targets of assisting as many as 2000 educators within a few years’ time.
Although some detractors feel educational resources should be directed at traditional mathematics coverage, rather than expanding curricula to include finance lessons; there is evidence kids benefit from financial literacy training. Advocates of teaching money management to kids point to the essential need for the skill-set and the evolving nature of personal finance, which requires more expertise than ever before. Steps to standardise can only be good news for young people, who get a head-start understanding adult money matters.