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
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
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.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas