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Karim Peer

Balmoral Financial


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The importance of a financial education


As a financial wellbeing company, we regularly see young people applying for our financial products. In fact, 40% of our customers are under 30 years old. Clearly, this age group needs better access to knowledge than they have at the moment, which will help them to understand and improve their financial situation. But a financial education is important for people of all ages. With this in mind, schools, universities and businesses have a huge role to play in making sure this support is available to people at each stage of their lives.

Following the United Kingdom’s decision to opt out of the European Union, the importance of a financial education should be more obvious than ever before. Organisations including the government, businesses and schools should be thinking about how they can help people to better understand and manage their finances during uncertain times. What Brexit means for the pound, job market and tax payer is still unclear, so there is a lot of work needed in order to move towards a state of financial stability. The key is to incorporate financial education into everyday life.

Luckily, the government has recognised this and taken the bull by the horns in some areas, aiming to improve the level of financial education children are receiving whilst they are at primary and secondary school. For example, financial literacy education became part of the National Curriculum for UK based secondary schools in September 2014. It shouldn’t be long before financial education lessons also become compulsory for younger children at primary school, following a new parliamentary report. Six in ten teachers who took part in the study by the All-Parliamentary Group (APPG) said it would be ‘helpful’ if students arrived for the first year of secondary school with at least ‘some understanding’ of how to handle their finances.

The introduction of these subjects into the curriculum is certainly a step in the right direction, but only time will tell whether it will have an impact on how young people manage their finances in the future. In order for them to have the best possible chance, their financial education must continue well beyond school into their professional and personal lives. The needs of someone who has just had a baby will be completely different from those who are moving towards retirement. An individual who has a young family will be worried about childcare. What they learnt at school could be completely irrelevant at this point. This is why universities must provide their students with access to a financial education and businesses must do the same for their employees.

Luckily, it seems as though businesses are already starting to take action. They are beginning to recognise the importance of financial wellness for their employees and are looking at ways to provide a route to financial education. In a 2016 study, conducted by REBA into employee wellbeing strategies, almost half (49.3%) of the wellness strategies surveyed included financial education and advice. Nearly a third (32.4%) of respondents (HR, rewards and benefits professionals) said that they were planning to add some form of financial education or support to their wellness strategies in 2016 and beyond.

Overall, the steps being taken by government, schools and businesses are a good start. But more can always be done to cater to people at all different stages of life. With a concerted, joint effort, there is no reason why the UK can’t collectively move towards a more financially stable future for all.

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