Loose Change is a series of blogposts by members of the UK Money Blogger community where they let loose on a financial issue important to them.
This week Dan from The Financial Wilderness blog shares his frustration with the lack of financial education.
Hello everyone! Today I want to talk about a particular phrase which is a cause of immense
frustration to me – and it’s fact it’s something that really highlights why I started “The Financial
It’s a phrase I’ve heard from multiple people in debt situations: “I simply didn’t quite realise what I was doing”.
It’s easy to be sniffy about this, and say “oh, but that could never happen to me – how could they be so foolish!” With limited financial education, it’s a very easy trap to fall into and people who have fallen into it deserve compassion.
The startling thing to me is how I’ve seen it affecting those from all walks of life and takes many
forms, from the young professional with the glamourous Instagram lifestyle feed (who are massively struggling to meet their bills) right through to those who are really struggling to feed their family and simply looking for the next lifejacket to cling to just keep things going.
The way we approach financial education is absolutely nuts. Let’s think about what we use our
education system to do for a moment. Part of it is hopefully instilling a love of learning, but for many of us education is theoretically designed to be a means to improve our life, get that better job and improve “our lot in life.” We put huge amounts of money and resources into that aim.
In contrast, we put next to nothing into the fact that the sheer knowledge of how to manage your
finances in itself can itself get us there. Thinking about how to manage a loan effectively or how to
pay a bill is something that gives us a tool to avoid those extra costs. In the modern world, that’s not just nice to have knowledge but it’s an important skill.
Now thanks to some campaigning by the always-excellent Martin Lewis it’s now on the English
Curriculum – but in practice there’s been little teacher training and schools have often struggled
with the resources to actually deliver something in practice.
The unfortunate truth is that there’s a certain inequality to all this – I’m personally benefited by
being the son of an accountant who could teach me about this, but that’s a luxury that many people don’t have. When we can’t teach this consistently through the school system, we perpetuate that problem and create a trap where those who start off in difficult scenarios don’t have the knowledge to get out of them again.
The problem in part is who does the educating – I have several teacher friends who wouldn’t know where to start with this! Part of this requires training, but at the moment the gap is being largely filled by some excellent charities.
My review of MyBnk’s online resources can be found here, and I’ve really enjoyed teaching children manage their own business via working with the Young Enterprise Charity. If you are someone who feels confident with money, I’d very much recommend getting involved with these organisations.
Progress has been made in the area, but there really is much more to do here! My hope is that The
Financial Wilderness has at least assisted some friends who wouldn’t have otherwise had this
knowledge, and it can provide a resource that helps many who find themselves in this position!
Articles in the Loose Change series are written by members of our community. The views do not necessarily represent those of UK Money Bloggers or other members.