What I wish I were taught about money at school

4. Budgeting 

My generation is accused of being “unconscious” of money and believing “money grows on trees”, but is it any surprise we don’t know what to do with money when we have not been taught money management skills? 

To help us understand the importance of budgeting, we need to know about the expenses our parents have to pay, such as council tax and national insurance and how long they save up for luxuries. After all, money doesn’t grow on trees. 

In a couple of years, I will be off to university and will need to know how to budget if I am to not have to constantly rely on the bank of mum and dad. 

6. Investment 

We don’t know anything about investment. Many of us are lucky to receive money for our birthdays, from Child Trust Funds and from grandparents, but we don’t know what to do with it except spend it on clothes or games. 

Young people need to be taught about different types of investing, such as passive and active investments – and the benefits and risks of each. 

I have saved over £7,000 (through birthday money, Christmas gifts and working) and I am eager to do something productive with this and invest it, but I don’t know where to start. How can I invest it strategically, safely and legally? 

I am one of the fortunate young people who received a Child Trust Fund (all children born between Sept 1, 2002 and Jan 1, 2011 received one) and now that I am 16, have been given control of it. I would like to know where my money was invested and what I should do with it next.

7. Bank account basics

Online banking can be confusing and scary. Part of the problem is a lack of high-quality, up-to-date teaching tools to help students learn about managing money online. 

Children can have a bank account from the age of 11, when they are still in primary school, so basic bank account knowledge is vital. We need to learn to recognise scams and the importance of checking bank statements regularly to avoid spending too much and incurring unexpected charges.

Instead of teaching students like me the “imperativeness of equality” (with lessons about team building, discrimination and prejudice in society), perhaps we should be learning about the “imperativeness of money”; after all, without money we frivolous and meritless. 

Secondary education lacks lessons about money management, budgeting, loans, credit cards and interest rates – all topics I will encounter as soon as I turn 18. Maybe it is time to add financial literacy to the curriculum, in addition to conventional literacy.

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