Helping youngsters to gain financial skills will help us all

Simon Read

Kentstudents 300x199 Helping youngsters to gain financial skills will help us allIs it important to give young people the skills to help them understand and manage their finances? I think so. My belief is that if youngsters understand how to budget and spend sensibly, they can avoid falling into a debt spiral and becoming easy prey for unscrupulous lenders.

The latest stats about young people don’t paint a pretty picture. More than one in five 16- to 24-year-olds are out of work. Even those that do have a job are struggling to cope with rising costs, rents, energy bills and so on. The result is that more and more young people are falling behind financially, with three-quarters of 18-24-year-olds now in debt.

So I’m really pleased to hear that’s there’s going to be more help for them. Some 20 charities are grouping together to use their collective power to give more children and young people the knowledge to take charge of their money.

The charities all separately work to promote financial education and enterprise education. Together they’ve launched a new movement which they’re calling Take Charge and I hope it will prove to be a powerful force in changing young people’s approach to dealing with money.

Of course there are always going to be people who can’t budget properly and seem to let cash slip through their fingers. But I think the majority of folk do want to lessen their money worries, and teaching them some basic personal finance skills can make a positive difference.

The new movement was conceived by financial education charity PFEG (the Personal Finance Education Group) but it’s brought on board lots of other well-known charities that do excellent work in financial education including Brathay Trust, Girlguiding, Prince’s Trust and Young Enterprise.

Other charities involved include Credit Action, Learning to Work, MyBnk, National Association of Student Money Advisors, National Skills Academy for Financial Services, National Youth Agency, PSHE Association, The Aldridge Foundation, Toynbee Hall, UK Youth Parliament, Vi-Ability, vInspired, and Young Chamber.

And a hat-tip to insurer Standard Life, the company that has put up the cash to launch this laudable movement. There’s more information about it at and I hope to be able to report in the future on some of the movement’s successes.

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  • Pacificweather

    It is good to know that there are some 18-24 year olds in debt rather than scrounging from their parents as we are often told is the cast of the current generation.

  • Squrrl_Lvr

    When looking for books to help my 13-yo stepdaughter learn to manager her cash, I was stumped. There are some books aimed at 6-10, and a great book aimed at 18-25, but nothing in between! Teenagers often have pocket money and spend a great deal on entertainment and such and must be targeted to help learn how to manage money. But there are NO resources out there!
    The best thing this charity could do is publish workbooks, budgeting books, ledgers, and such aimed at children of all ages -starting from about age 6 until age 18.

  • Squrrl_Lvr

    although, having had my browser crash TWICE on their site, I’m losing confidence in their ability to help your young people.

  • 3aple

    May I suggest ‘Learn to Earn’ by Peter Lynch. It might be slightly on the ‘old’ side for her, but would give the right priorities from the start of any income she might get.


  • Concerned Citizen

    Kids who have to *earn* their spending money are not so keen throw it around like there’s no tomorrow! That’s the way I was brought up. It works!

  • Broekhuijzen

    Exactly my thought. In the past I earned 50p with household chores. I thought very hard before I spent my money

  • Blackbullion

    Can I suggest you have a look at the book I wrote called Money Smarter? It is written for ages 6-16 and is designed to help parents guide a conversation about money. Each week covers a different topic and there are supporting games and activities in the attached CD. You can purchase it through amazon or on our website and I would be really happy to get your feedback. Good Luck

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