We're all responsible for teaching kids about finance

14 May 2018

It’s the responsibility of all of us to ensure children are taught about personal finance, the results of a recent Moneywise.co.uk poll reveal.

We asked whose responsibility it is to teach kids about finance, in the light of our campaign to ‘Get financial education working’.

Over half of those who responded (56%), said they believe this responsibility lies with a mixture of some or all of the following: education charities, financial providers, government campaigns, parents, guardians or other family members, and schools.

However, what I found interesting is that when singling out individuals or organisations, over a third (35%) felt that it is parents, guardians and other family members who should be ensuring children understand money matters.

It seems Moneywise readers aren’t palming off this responsibility to others – fewer than one in 10 (7%) said that the main responsibility for financial education was schools, while 1% selected education charities and 1% selected ‘Other’.

No one felt that it was the government or financial providers’ sole responsibility to ensure children are taught about financial issues. See the full results in the pie chart below.

Financial education poll results

Financial education has been on the national curriculum as part of maths and citizenship since September 2014. But schools that don’t follow the national curriculum are not obliged to teach personal finance. Meanwhile, research from financial provider Prudential found that only a fifth of primary school pupils (21%) learn about money at school every week, with the majority only receiving financial education on a very ad hoc basis.

Of course, logic follows that if we become financially literate from a young age, this will stand us well in the future, when as adults we have to navigate the often jargon-filled world of self-assessment tax returns, mortgages, investing, and even calculating simple household bills to establish whether we could save by switching.

And it seems one reader is proof of this metaphorical pudding. She taught her two daughters about using pocket money to save for the long term when they were young, and now as adults, they both have a sound financial footing and they’re helping their partners to achieve the same. You can read more about this particular story in Your Shout.

Another reader agrees that it’s the parents’ duty to teach their children about money from a young age, but floats the idea of banks funding courses on a Saturday morning for young people, who could then be given a certificate to prove they have received the training needed to open an account.

This sounds a sensible idea if you ask me, and perhaps the same would also prove helpful for credit cards, given credit card debt has risen at its fastest annual rate since 2012, according to worrying figures published by UK Finance earlier this year.

However, a further reader argues that the teaching of personal finance by schools is “likely to be more reliable and up to date”.

And it seems even parents themselves are keen for more personal finance to be taught in schools. Research published by financial education charity MyBnk earlier this year found that more than half of parents polled (54%) wanted more time devoted to financial education and were happy to reduce the time spent on national curriculum subjects to achieve this.

At Moneywise, we believe that everyone has a part to play when it comes to teaching personal finance, but we’re keen to support and highlight the schools that do this well as part of our annual Personal Finance Teacher of the Year Award. The voting for 2018 has now closed and the winners will be revealed in June. Thank you to everyone for their nominations and entries.