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How would you fare in a personal finance exam?

Student in exam hall with laptop

Almost three quarters of adults can’t answer personal finance problems aimed at schoolchildren, according to new research. Well this does not surprise me at all…

At school, I remember knowing loads about the Greek gods, Ancient Egypt and working out the area of a circle. Yet, I joined the adult world having absolutely no idea about the following topics; How much tax do I pay when I get a job? How does a credit card work? And what is a mortgage?

Money may make the world go round, but my generation had to learn about these topics at their own leisure.

That will hopefully change when personal finance is added to the National Curriculum this September.

Our Forever Young report published earlier this year found that young people are more likely than any other age group to have experienced a problem with a purchase. 51% of 18 – 24 year olds and 44% of 25 – 34 year olds have experienced a consumer issue within the past 12 months compared with 32% of the general population.

Testing your finance skills

And our surveying suggests that in the last year, young consumers failed to return goods to the value of around £500 million because they did not exercise their rights. It sounds like these lessons are coming in the nick of time to save young consumers from further financial loss.

Our research also shows that younger consumers are not shopping around for the best products and prices available, not using the appropriate avenues for redress and not reading the terms and conditions of major transactions. 44% of those aged between 18–24, and 33% aged between 25–29 are in the lowest quartile for consumer engagement, and just 9% and 21% are in the highest quartile.

A few of the teasers that teenagers could soon be tested on were released to the media last week. They include problems which involved working out the best savings accounts, foreign exchange rates and energy tariffs.

How do you think you would fare if tested on these subjects? Will you be sharpening up on them yourselves now they’re being taught in schools and do you think this will have any sort of impact on national spending habits as a whole?

Comments
Profile photo of AnthonyHowe
Member

I am sure I would fare well in such an exam but I think its vital these days such topics are taught as too many people do not understand personal/household finances. Some companies play on this but even the straight ones make it too complicated.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Children born after 1 September 1997 will have to stay in some form of education [including training or apprenticeship] until at least their eighteenth birthday. It would be good to think that the extra time that many will therefore experience in a tutored educational setting will have some provision for learning more essential life skills including personal finance and consumer rights. Unfortunately, millions who have emerged from school, college or university well past their eighteenth birthday in recent decades are incredibly ignorant in these areas. I think it should be a fundamental part of every child’s curriculum regardless of their intended destination after secondary school.

Member
joyce says:
15 May 2014

As Mr Micawber says in David Copperfield “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

THAT is what we should be teaching, NOT how to borrow whilly nilly

Profile photo of Beryl
Member

If Mr Mcawber was around today he would have much cause for concern! With UK national debt currently increasing at a rate of £5,170 per second, what hope for our young ones if highly educated government economists are unable to get it right and balance the books. I think ‘wants and needs’ added to the national curriculum might be a good starting point, followed by personal finance.