I wish I was given more in-depth financial education in school
PUBLISHED: 23:06 27 December 2019 | UPDATED: 23:06 27 December 2019
It's a problem familiar with many twentysomethings - how do you get decent financial advice? Kate Wolstenholme says it needs to start at school
I have just begun that chapter of my life which has been coined "adulting", working full time, running a car etc., and to put it mildly, I've had a question or two along the way… mostly money related.
I find myself asking the advice centre of mum and dad, but for some of my peers, this just isn't an option and it ends up being a guessing game. We learn mostly from those we are surrounded by, and so university was rather a case of the blind leading the blind when it came to finances, with the phrase 'I'm so broke' being used rather too frequently (and often falsely).
I don't mean basic numeracy; I mean taxes, mortgages, investments, student loans…! Money is a bit of a worry, and perhaps having a basic and well-informed training would have taken some of the stress out of these decisions.
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Why don't you go and read about it and find out yourself, I hear you say? Well which website on the internet would I be listening to? I say in response. Everyone takes great pleasure in telling me you can't believe anything you read on the internet, so I have learnt to have trust issues on that one. I am asking that there be more of a basic and compulsory training on this.
I left high school in 2014, and it appears that I just missed the boat. That year saw the introduction of statutory financial education in high schools in England. Why then, did The London Institute of Banking and Finance collect data last month which stated that 82% of students would like more education in school on finances? Is the coverage too vague and infrequent?
It appears that the Bank of Mum and Dad has a brilliant help centre attached, as the Financial Times quoted last month that three quarters of young people get their financial understanding from here. Statutory education for finances in schools sounds fantastic, but only until you hear that it is not required to be a lesson of its own, with little training and resources supplied to teachers, and academies and independent schools not required to teach it.
Of course, if you make the decision to go to university, there comes a time when you have to leave, and no one tells you that this is the hardest part. Not only do you have to leave a life you've been wrapped up in for three (or more) years, leaving people who have become your second family, and see them spread around the country, and even the world, but you have an enormous amount of debt. A debt many of us will never pay off completely, but a debt none-the-less. This would not have stopped me going to university, there's not a lot which would have, but to have been taught this more in school would have been a tremendous asset.
It is true to say that you learn through practice, but it would have been nice to have a heads up, rather than learning about solids, liquids and gases four times over, or sitting in form doing team building activities. More life lessons, that's what would have been truly useful in school. I am so pleased that the financial side of this has changed, even though it was implemented too late for my school career, but I just hope it is focused enough.
Sir, Miss, I pitch to you that there is regular classroom time dedicated to this, as, despite what a lot of people appear to think, some of us did listen in school, and it would have been ace to have more financial teaching in time for tripping and falling into the real world.