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With recent research revealing that 74% of teenagers do not feel confident in their current financial knowledge*, Chartered Financial Planner at FPC, Helen Thomas, argues that local communities can, and should do more to educate young people about finance.

Helen believes that, whilst schools should offer more financial education, firms like FPC in communities across the UK should also offer their time and resources to educate youngsters on finance.

“The world we live in continues to be tumultuous, and with issues here as well as globally affecting our livelihoods, it’s important we don’t leave school children and teenagers in the dark when it comes to money”, Helen says.

“It’s easy to believe that managing money well comes with age, but in reality there are many people in their later life without financial security due to a lack of financial understanding. Many have insufficient pensions as they have not made suitable investments or inflation proofed their money for the future.”

And, as the same survey found that 56% said their parents were their main source of financial knowledge and understanding*, incorrect information about managing finances will undoubtedly be shared with children, as other research suggests over a third of adults in the UK don’t feel confident managing their money**.

“Becoming financially aware is not an easy task – and if parents don’t feel they are confident in their own skills we shouldn’t expect them to be the answer to their own children becoming financially literate,” Helen continues.

“Of course, having no requirement in the curriculum for financial education means that there’s less of a priority for schools to run such modules. But, if they are interested, there are plenty of steps they can take to start educating pupils on finances.”

Helen is an education champion for the Personal Finance Society and regularly delivers workshops in local secondary schools for 16-18 year olds. Together with three other members of the FPC team, Helen also participated in the BPP University Law School Financial Literacy Campaign in 2021 for law graduates, the first initiative of its kind within the world of higher education.

FPC believes that financial planning firms in the local community have a responsibility to reach out to schools in the area and offer advice and expertise.

“Becoming an education champion, like myself, is a great way to get into schools, beginning with topics that will help pupils learn to budget over time.  One of the best things for schools to do is to reach out to My Personal Finance Skills, which delivers free financial education workshops to schools across the country – and plenty of financial planners are already signed up to deliver it.  I would encourage any financial planners who are looking to contribute to their community, and inform the youth of today about their finances to sign up to websites like My Personal Finance Skills, and/or reach out to schools in their community and see if there is any way they can help.”

In April this year, Helen won the Insurance Institute Liverpool (IIL) Young Achiever of the Year Award.  The award is open to employees under the age of 35 who have achieved ‘something of significance’ in the last year and have made a positive contribution to their profession.

*The London Institute of Banking and Finance, 2021/22 Young Persons Money Index
**Financial Capability Survey, 2018