For the past six months I’ve been searching to find out how much we young people really know about money. I was shocked to find out that 55 per cent of young people (7-15 year-olds) in the UK frequently worry that they don’t know enough about money* I was surprised, and wanted to find out how the situation can be helped.
Young people are the future, they say, so I thought the best place to start would be to speak to other young people. During a roundtable chat, I found out that young people want to be taught about how to manage their money on the TV and at school. They also feel banks are becoming more digital and they’re concerned about how to keep their money safe online. Plus - they think that learning about money is as important as learning about Shakespeare!
It was serious food for thought, and my next step was to find out what NatWest is doing to help young people. Kirsty Britz, who looks after Sustainability at the bank, told me about NatWest MoneySense. She said that the programme has been running for 22 years and has helped 4.5 million children learn about money.
Remembering that young people want to learn about money at school, I asked whether MoneySense is accessible in the classroom. Kirsty said that that’s exactly what the programme is; teachers can access lesson plans, quizzes and activity sheets (including how to budget for a party!) to help run sessions with students while they’re at school. Often NatWest staff members go along and host the sessions, and they also help the students with tips and advice.
It’s great that NatWest has helped so many young people already, and they want to keep going. In 2015 they set a target to help 1 million more young people with MoneySense by the end of 2018. So far they’ve reached around 350,000, so that means they have another 650,000 to go! It seemed ambitious and I wanted to know how they could achieve this, so I met with the bank’s CEO Ross McEwan, to find out.
Ross said they’re going to achieve their goal by working with schools and encouraging more of them to get involved. He thinks it will be great for students to learn about how to make good money decisions, and I agree! If they’re able to reach another one million young people, those people can weave that knowledge into other people’s lives and help them as well.
It’s clearly a priority for Ross and the bank to teach even more young people, like me, about the financial skills needed to prepare for adult life. I really hope NatWest MoneySense achieves its goal of reaching another one million young people by the end of 2018.
NatWest has been running MoneySense, an impartial financial education programme for 5–18 year-olds, for more than 22 years. The programme uses key money moments in a young person's life – starting to save their pocket money, opening a bank account, or getting their first mobile phone – to make learning about money feel relatable. The free, online content aims to boosts parents’ and teachers’ confidence and provide a platform for young people to learn life skills that will create a foundation to ensure financial capability throughout adulthood.
For more information visit the MoneySense website.
*MoneySense programme research