Do children even care about financial education?
That’s an important question we need to understand and address – especially since the entire United Kingdom has now introduced compulsory financial education in schools.
England and Wales are relatively late to the party, having now joined Ireland and Scotland who started doing so in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
An article by the Mirror (I know what you’re thinking, but bear with me) showed that finance related skills made up 6 of the top 10 skills that Britons wished they had learnt at school. Even if you take this study with a generous pinch of salt, the message it paints is, nevertheless, quite striking.
This poses a question...
Given this insight, should we do more? Is compulsory financial education enough? How about engaging children in a meaningful way?
The best way to engage someone is to put it into context; the best way to put context around financial education is to bring them to where it happens.
This is exactly what the RedSTART initiative aims to do.
It is a one-day workshop split into four sessions, where a class of students are given the chance to learn financial education from those who use it everyday and have a passion for finance.
This passion engages students, making it more than just ‘financial education’. It becomes a hobby, an interest into finance in and of itself. And formative change happens when a subject at school becomes a genuine interest.
The level of engagement may vary from individual to individual, but when they get to grips with the fact that this has a meaningful impact on their future, they begin to develop a curiosity for it. The earlier this curiosity can develop, the more likely they are to make smarter financial decisions in the future.
This is extremely important, given the young age when Britons are expected to make such decisions. For most this starts at 17, when they start thinking about university and student loans.
Does every 17 year old fully understand the implications of taking out a student loan?
Most likely not, and it is naïve to think that enough can be done for all of them to, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that the more 17 year olds who do, the better. How about when they start their first job? With the introduction of defined contribution pension schemes, do they understand that the onus is on them to ensure a secure retirement, and the best way to do so is to start early?
This is not a problem for the next generation. This is a problem that needs addressing now. So, what can you do to help yourself, your child, your friend? RedSTART is only a small brick in bridging this gap in financial literacy, but it is something we can do to make a difference.
What will you do?
RedSTART is trying to change the world. If you would like to learn more or get involved, drop us a message here.