Adult Regret? No Financial Education When School Aged
By Dan Kadlec
June 5, 2017
Two in five consumers in the U.K. are still paying for financial miscues they made in the past, new research shows. Three in five wish they had started learning about money when they were young.
These results from an Aviva survey echo findings in the U.S. and other countries. In general, one of the biggest regrets adults express is not having learned more about money as students.
More than half of adults in every age group say the high school class with the greatest benefit, when offered, is personal finance, according to a recent survey in the U.S. They selected financial literacy over math, social studies and science.
This should come as no big surprise. Most people leave school and never again think about algorithms or the periodic symbol for Boron. Meanwhile, they’ve got bills to pay—and they wish they knew more about budgets and credit.
In the U.K survey, three in five said they not only wished they had been exposed to financial education as students but that they would manage their financial affairs differently if granted a do-over. A third struggle to explain simple financial transactions like paying interest on credit card debt and over drafting.
Despite being haunted by past money mismanagement, three quarters in the U.K. survey believe they are now financially capable. This is good news—sort of. It suggests that the school of hard knocks ultimately provides a financial education. But it also suggests that adults have struggled with money management, perhaps needlessly, for many years. These struggles put them in a hole and many are still climbing out.
School-based financial education in the U.K. seems to be making some headway. One in five 18-to-24 year-olds say they learned about money in school, compared to just one in seven 45-to-64 year-olds and one in nine past age 65.
“It’s striking that people across all ages say they wish their financial education had started earlier,” says Tim Orton, CEO Aviva Adviser Platform. “The more informed people are, and from a younger age, the more they will be able to make the best decisions for their circumstances and avoid making mistakes that may impact on their financial well-being for years to come.”
Aviva is among 16 financial institutions in the U.K. sponsoring financial education programs targeting 18,000 students in elementary schools through KickStartMoney. The program, launched in March, brings business to life by using the challenge of the day-to-day running of a football club. It aims to stir interest in business skills, and improve confidence in financial, business and risk management.