Money: Wising up today's teenagers

Wising up today's teenagers

John Andrew reports on an initiative to give school leavers some financial know-how

Some tough questions were being asked at the stock-exchange last month at the final for the ProShare national investment programme, which attracted entries from some 1,400 schools around the UK.

The teams had participated in a series of tasks, including creating an imaginary pounds 50,000 portfolio. There was also a Liffe challenge, where decisions had to be made on buying and selling futures and options.

The five teams of finalists faced a business and finance quiz and a challenge involving investment decisions, in which they looked at factors that cause share price fluctuations. They also gave detailed presentations. The competition was judged by a panel of experts from finance and education backgrounds.

Gill Nott, ProShare's chief executive, commented, "We were impressed with the standard of the entries to this year's competition, and in particular with the teams that made it to the final ... the competition is an ideal opportunity for young people to learn about money management."

The winners were an all-girls team from Loreto College, Coleraine, Northern Ireland; second place was taken by an all-boys team from Firrhill High School, Edinburgh. In third place was Moseley School, Birmingham. Each of the winning schools received multimedia PCs and team members received individual cash prizes of pounds l00, pounds 75 and pounds 50.

Although all the teams that entered the competition had a high standard of knowledge, it is exceptional for young people to know about the stock market. There is a general lack of financial knowledge in the UK at all ages. Whereas the task of educating adults is a formidable one, if the topic of personal finance is introduced into the National Curriculum, the next generation may get the chance of a fuller understanding.

This must be built upon a solid foundation of budgeting and proceed to all aspects that will become essential in an adult's life, especially savings accounts, borrowing and, ultimately, financial planning. This last should include packaged products such as pensions, unit trusts and life cover as well as the stock market.

At the end of 1996 the Personal Finance Education Group (PFEG) was launched following extensive cross-industry discussions between those who believe that the young need to learn about personal finance. Its mission statement is: "To educate all young people about financial matters so that they are able to make independent and informed decisions about their personal finances and long-term security".

The benefits are obvious. School leavers will manage their financial matters better. A savings culture will develop. In the long term, young people will be better informed to make decisions about their financial future.

Research by the PFEG published last November revealed that 77 per cent of secondary school teachers considered personal finance education to be important. They regarded budgeting, saving, borrowing and tax as key areas of which pupils should be aware. However, lack of time was seen as the main barrier to teaching.

The research also revealed that confidence in teaching the subject is prohibitively low. Only one in 10 teachers, even in schools where some personal finance is taught, claimed to be very confident at teaching the subject. This does not bode well for the future.

The time constraint appears to be induced by the breadth of the National Curriculum and the focus on performance assessment. Any educational material seen to be additional is unlikely to be welcomed by teachers.

Last summer the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (Umist) established a consumer finance education centre financed by the financial services industry. Its aim was to educate adults and young people on all aspects of personal finance. Sadly, the project never got off the ground. Disputes as to who should run the centre resulted in the resignations of those initially responsible for its establishment. The donations were returned to the sponsors.

This is a sad state of affairs. Millions are spent regulating the financial services industry, but nothing is being done to give consumers the ultimate protection - knowledge. Just imagine a Utopia where everyone has a good working knowledge of financial matters; there would then be no need for regulation.

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'