Hands up if the only financial “training” you had at school was having access to the school bank where you could bring your money in every week to save in your special blue book. Looking around now and seeing reports about the level of personal debt people have, how many people are living beyond their means and have no concept of budgeting, I wonder if the curriculum has been missing something vital all these years.
Roy and I had a discussion the other night about our first house, a small two bedroom terrace house which cost us £300 a month. We had no gas, just electricity on a key meter. We didn’t have the internet or a land line, we had mobiles (large mobiles!) and credit seemed to last forever. Our council tax was £52 a month, our electricity £30 a month and we could do a weekly shop on £40, easily.
Our bills have doubled, easily and there are many more payments going out now than we had then. Our cost of living has risen sharply; our incomes have of course increased but not as fast or as high as our expenditures have. Fortunately for us we are and always have been quite savvy when it comes to saving up etc; for young people starting out now it is much harder. Prices are high, incomes are lower and jobs are less secure. I see so many people setting up home, living on credit, above their incomes and not realising how dire things are getting until it’s too late and they are over-committed on credit.
Banks and private lenders have tightened the regulations on borrowing but not tight enough and we are now faced with school leavers and adults in a position where they simply don’t understand how to budget and live within their means, who are over-committed on credit and for whom things have spiralled out of control. The saddest thing of all? It’s avoidable!
I firmly believe that children should be taught from an early age to understand the value of money, how to create a budget and stick to it, to understand the danger of credit as well as the importance of savings. I strongly believe that this is a topic that should be built into the national curriculum and taught across the school years. Do you agree?
So far nearly 80,000 people have sign this petition, created by Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert, to state that they do believe in compulsory financial education in schools and want it in place asap. If you too agree then please take a minute to sign.
Hard times come and go, how well you survive them depends on how prepared you are when the storm hits.
Nicki Cawood, Freelance writer and blogger at Curly&Candid.Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net