Why We Need Financial Education In Schools
Today’s generation of school-leavers face arguably the worst set of economic circumstances if any generation. While we have seen unemployment as a whole fall over the last few months, the number of unemployed 16-24yr olds remains high. Those young people lucky enough to be in employment are facing a combination of high rents, rising transport costs and squeezed wages.
The fact that we are in difficult economic times is nothing new – but the particular challenges facing young people today means that the issue of how we can give young people the best possible start in life has never been more topical.
Financial education is absolutely central to achieving this goal – and yet with no place in the curriculum, the teaching of this vital life skill is in short supply.
Making Informed Decisions
School-leavers are faced with a vast range of personal financial decisions for which too many of them are not being adequately prepared.
- How do I set a budget?
- What do I need to do to save enough for the future?
- How do I check my payslip is correct?
- Where should I go if I need advice?
– All of these questions, and many more require a level of knowledge and skill that our education system is largely failing to provide.
We believe financial education should be taught in all schools and colleges, from the age of four right up to leaving cert. We need every young person to gain the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to be able to manage their money and make informed financial decisions. This includes learning the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’, how to interpret financial information and how to set and stick to a budget. Managing credit safely, understanding the role of insurance and weighing up risk and reward when making financial decisions are also crucial in preparing young people for life.
The time to act is now
Financial education has the power to transform young people’s futures. We participated in a new initiative a couple of months ago in association with Brokers Ireland. The aim of Future Financial Experts was to help ‘bridge the gap’ in communicating prudent financial planning to students and create awareness around the basic concepts of how good financial skills can empower young people to manage their finances more efficiently, helping to reduce personal debt in the future.
The programme was delivered to TY students through a defined financial literacy programme via four modules. All modules were designed to deliver key learning principles and skills to students with the aim of creating positive life-long habits for managing future finances. This should only be the start as the economy of tomorrow is dependent on the financial and business skills we pass on to the next generation.
This article aims to give information, not advice. Always do your own research and/or seek out advice from a regulated financial broker, before acting on anything contained in this article.