Personal investors cry out for improved financial education within schools 

finance education

More than 80 per cent of personal investors agree that today’s cashless society of contactless card transactions, online banking and smart phone payments have impacted the way children understand money.

Without physical cash in their hands, there is the danger that children could lose the concept of the value of the pound. This combined with the fact that a staggering 98 per cent of personal investors felt that they left school with insufficient financial knowledge, proves that it’s never been more important to address the lack of financial education.

When asked how financial education can be improved in schools, more than half of personal investors felt that practical ‘real world’ experience, including support from industry professionals and financial competitions, would motivate and engage students. Furthermore, almost 55 per cent of personal investors identified that financial education should be a separate lesson within the curriculum and that teachers should be provided with the relevant teaching resources.

Commenting on the importance of teaching financial education in schools, Chief Executive of The Share Centre, Richard Stone said:  “It is evident from our survey that few personal investors received any formal financial or investment education. This has resulted in nearly 3 in 4 considering themselves entirely self-taught. With little option but to self-educate the availability of information, tools, guides and other forms of assistance and material are critical. Our research suggests that most personal investors use online media, newspapers or magazines to help improve their financial education, with few turning to mainstream media such as TV or Radio, and only half using the investment platforms for this purpose.

“Personal investors clearly believe that more could be done in schools through better collaboration with experts and more practical ‘real world’ experience. Beyond school, there is a call on the Government to do more to improve education on the use of specific products such as ISAs and pensions, and to help individuals better understand risk and return and how investments work. This challenge is highlighted by the fact that, according to HMRC data published in August, despite having a long investment time horizon over 70 per cent of the Junior ISAs subscribed to in the 2016-17 tax year were cash JISAs, and 60 per cent of the £3.3bn which is held in JISAs is held in cash JISAs.

“We would encourage Philip Hammond, in his upcoming budget, to place much greater emphasis and support on financial education and encouraging younger people in particular to save and invest more.”