plonkee money an english-er's thoughts on personal finance

July 9, 2007

personal finance education for England

Filed under: education and career — plonkee @ 4:03 pm

So the government has announced plans to put personal finance into the national curriculum, covering such things as debt, pensions, bank accounts and savings. I’m strangely ambivalent as to whether or not this is a good idea. I think that there are several reasons for my antipathy. Firstly I’m pretty certain (and it turns out I’m right) that this has been trailed before. Secondly I don’t think that all teenagers make very much effort to apply things that they are taught at school to their personal lives (exhibit A: the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Europe). Thirdly, lots of people in the UK don’t understand about personal finance issues – like investing and pensions for example, or even the finer points of credit scores and consumer debt. It would be foolish to assume that all the teachers of this fine subject (which I bet is going to be lumped into Citizenship) know all that much themselves. It could turn into the blind leading the blind.

Looking on the positives though, it would be a good thing if kids absorbed some of the principles of money management through the sort of semi-osmosis that these proposals are likely to lead to. It probably shouldn’t be compared to our poor record on sex education as no one is really giving teenagers access to credit or large amounts of money, so by the time they need to put them into practice they may have got over the ‘everyone else is doing it’ / ‘rebel without a cause’ stage. And perhaps people will start to realise that if you don’t put money away for your retirement then you will be living on not a great deal in your old age, and that a ‘secured loan’ as advertised by Carol Vorderman (booo) is not (normally) a good thing.

I think I should try to be a little more enthusiastic about this, after all, I want people to have sufficient money, which is far more likely if they have absorbed some personal finance education.

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