Why children need their financial five a day

Gill Fielding, ‘Money Mum’, explains why teaching children the basics of finance is crucial to the health of the UK’s economy.

“Most people in the UK are not in control of their finances. This is often blamed on the ‘global economy’ which, quite frankly, has nothing to do with most of our bank balances. I believe that if everyone concentrated on the money in their own pockets Britain would be a much more financially secure place.

This has got to start from the bottom up, with our children taught how to save and even make money. In my view, the Government is failing young people and as a consequence, the adults they will become, by leaving them clueless about personal finance.

We have people in debt who can’t cope, people going bankrupt, people having to rely on handouts or just plain not enjoying life because they can’t afford luxuries, or even the basics – and these challenges need not happen if we taught financial fundamentals early on.

My ‘Financial Five a Day’ is something that everyone in the UK should know, but sadly many don’t:

1. How to get, manage and monitor a bank account

2. How to understand, manage and control credit, debt and borrowing

3. How to control their money so that it lasts to the next pay day

4. A sense of the future value of money and how to plan going forward, including saving for the future so that everybody can have some jam today AND a bit of jam tomorrow

5. A sense of self-reliance and responsibility for their own financial future and well being.

I am petitioning Government to try and get these key life skills taught in schools – it’s as important to the health of our nation as that other famous ‘five a day’. As parents, you can help too by instilling these fundamentals in your own children and if you don’t know them yourself (don’t be embarrassed, many don’t) getting up to speed and taking control of your own finances. Lead by example and you might just surprise yourself!

Here’s a neat fact: if every Small to Medium sized Enterprise (SME) employed just one more person, there would be no unemployment in this country. By encouraging our children (and adults) to have a responsibility and interest in finance they might be more inclined to be Britain’s next entrepreneurs, thus boosting our economy.

Everyone needs these core financial skills, they should be second nature and as important to the curriculum as maths (my ‘five a day’ might even make this subject more fun and relevant) and English. Sign my petition and help safeguard the financial future of your children.

To sign the petition and for more information and personal finance advice, visit: www.moneymum.com

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