Talking money with children and young people during Talk Money Week and beyond

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The Money and Pensions Service’s (MaPS) Propositions, Insights and External Engagement Director, Sarah Porretta, on the importance of financial education for children and resources available to schools and families during Talk Money Week.

This week we’re working to turn talking about money from one of the UK’s least favourite topics into something that becomes as natural and familiar as talking about the weather.

Children’s money habits are formed younger than you think; even by the age of seven, children have started to develop attitudes and habits around money. Talking with children and young people about money from an early age helps them to form good habits that will last a lifetime.

Yet only 48% of 7–17-year-olds receive financial education at home or in school in the UK. This means 5.3 million children and young people are not getting the vital learning they need. What’s more, just 58% of parents feel confident talking to their children about money.

Financial education in schools

Too many young people are entering adulthood unprepared for the money-related realities that lie ahead, so financial education in schools is hugely important.

Research shows that fewer than 40% of young people aged 7–17 say they recall having learned about money at school. Those who recalled learning about money management in school are more likely to have a bank account; 10% of young people aged 16–17 have no bank account at all.

Fewer than 30% of young people aged 14–17 plan ahead for how they’ll buy things they need.

MaPS' bold target for financial education

The UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing, developed by MaPS, has set an ambitious goal of ensuring that two million more children and young people have a meaningful financial education by 2030.

To achieve this goal, we want to see more teachers with the confidence, skills and knowledge they need to deliver high-quality financial education, and parents encouraged and supported to talk about money with their children.

Many schools and teachers report wanting to deliver more learning about money for their students. However, barriers remain, including a lack of time and resources, and teachers’ confidence, knowledge and access to tools.

How MaPS are improving financial education

We are already investing £2.7m in projects to test effective and innovative approaches to securing financial education for all children and young people.

We work with partners to help teachers deliver high quality financial education, including the Financial Education Quality Mark and financial education textbooks for schools across the UK.

Schools and colleges play a vital role in ensuring children and young people develop the skills and knowledge they need to manage their money well, both now and in later life.

At the same time, financial education can enhance your curriculum, strengthen your extra-curricular offering and provide a focus for wider engagement with the local community.

We’re calling on all schools and colleges across the UK to do what they can to help the children and young people they work with to talk about money:

  • Our Talk Money Week Toolkit for Schools is full of ideas and resources to help deliver quality financial education.
  • Schools can contact the MaPS partnership manager in their area for advice about how to deliver financial education in a way that suits the needs of children and young people in their region.

Talking about money at home

How parents teach and talk about money also has a huge influence on children’s money skills, knowledge, and habits. The sooner you start the better, but you can make a difference at any age.

As a full-time working mum to children under ten, I have introduced conversations and activities covering financial education in everyday situations. For example, vocalising my choices during the weekly shop at the supermarket, giving them pocket money and helping them understand the concept of saving and spending.

Research shows that giving money to children regularly, setting rules around money and giving them some responsibility for money choices all have a positive impact. However, fewer than 25% of children experience all three of these at home, and not all parents feel confident talking about money.

Support for talking to children about money

Our MoneyHelperOpens in a new window service has lots of resources for parents and carers showing fun, easy ways to talk about money with children, from toddlers to teens.

Our advice includes tips on how to talk to children about money according to their age group and fun ways for children to think about spending limits and saving.

Sarah Porretta headshot

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Sarah Porretta, Executive Director - Propositions, Insights and External Engagement