Teaching kids about personal finance: a good or bad thing?
Posted on 23 July 2014
Readers of my regular ramblings will know that I sometimes highlight what should be done in order to prepare young people for life after school.
I’ve mused on plastics companies visiting schools to show pupils what gets done in the workplace. I’ve looked at those plastics companies that host open days for parties of school children. Both such undertakings aim to sow a seed in the minds of young people regarding the opportunities that lie beyond the school gate.
With this in mind I was interested to read that from the start of the next school term the national curriculum will include lessons on personal finance.
An outfit called MyBnk (you'd think an organisation aimed at youngsters would be mindful of spelling issues) has created what it calls a “high impact and high energy financial and enterprise education programmes on topics such as saving and budgeting, survival money management, social enterprise and start up entrepreneurship”.
Set up by Lily Lapenna, who previously worked in international development projects in Africa and Asia, MyBnk has apparently helped more than 80,000 school children get to grips with basic financial housekeeping.
With personal debt still a major issue for the UK economy such lessons may be worth their weight in gold. As Lapenna tells the Guardian, “We need to teach students to manage money. That was not the prevailing attitude pre-crash where thoughts were, they will learn from their parents.”
Some will view this exercise as yet another attempt to ‘adultify’ youngsters before they have even learnt to appreciate the joys of childhood, although judging by some of the comments from the young people who have already taken a MyBnk lesson not all of the messages about financial prudence seem to have reached their intended targets.
But good on Lapenna and her team for trying to explain, among other things, why spending more than one earns is not a good thing in the long term.
Preparing children for the rigours of adulthood need not be a heavy affair, but planting the seed in younger minds about what potentially faces them once they walk out of school can only be a good thing. Surely?
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