Do you remember who first taught you about money? What it is, and why it is important? Most of all, how you should spend it, and how you should save it?
For many people, there’s no single moment when they learn how to take control of their financial wellbeing, and in doing so their future wellbeing. Money habits can be picked up from parents, friends, teachers, employers, TV, adverts and many other places. However, the number of people who fall through this net, who are never exposed to simple money management advice, is far too high. According to an FSA survey in 2009, 43% of 7-16 year-olds worry about money. When speaking to young people, we have found that an alarming number don’t appreciate the fact that they may have to save up to 15% of their income in order to achieve a comfortable retirement. In a world where the individual has to take increasing responsibility for their own financial future, where a bombardment of financial choices are aimed at ever-younger people, whether it be bank accounts, student loans, mobile phone contracts, or payday loans, we can’t risk letting basic money management skills and financial education bypass the next generation.
Financial education is not taught in primary schools, and while it has been on the secondary school curriculum, teachers often do not have the knowledge or incentives to teach it. Relying on people to pick up money management habits in passing is not an option. Research shows that money habits are formed as early as seven years old: we need to ensure that these habits are the right ones to give young people the confidence and skills necessary to make their own informed financial decisions.
My Money Week is a focus point for all of those who share this goal. It brings together the government, charities, corporations, schools and parents, who all share the goal of improving the next generation’s financial literacy.
At RedSTART, we passionately believe that bringing all of these parties together is the key to ensuring the financial wellbeing of the future generations. Over the past year we have worked with schools, charities, financial services companies and a group of hugely talented and enthusiastic volunteers across the UK to deliver 45 education days to classes between the ages of 12-18. We have developed our teaching materials in conjunction with teachers and youth charity workers, understanding how best to engage primary school and secondary school children. We have worked with 14 partner organisations in the financial services industry to deliver education sessions, and are reaching out to more in order to achieve our goal of bringing financial education to 1 million young people by 2025. We have even started to develop our teaching material into games that can be taken home by parents and played with the family outside the classroom!
We know that we can’t guide everyone on every step of their journey towards financial security, but if we can plant the seed for financial confidence in young people and help others to do the same, then we feel we will have made a difference. My Money Week is a fantastic showcase for all those who are on the same mission, and we hope that it will help give young people the tools they need to begin taking their financial future into their own hands.