Parents call for personal finance lessons

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A new survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of the Personal Finance Education Group (pfeg) has found that four-fifths of parents think it is important to have financial education in primary schools.

Other findings include:

Children are strongly feeling the impact of the recession - over a third hear about it more than once a week and a quarter are reducing their own spending.
Children are natural savers: 80% say they would save up to buy something rather than get into debt, and over half said that if they were given £20 they would choose to save it.
The survey, which covered 1,000 children aged 9-10 and their parents was commissioned by HSBC and the Personal Finance Education Group (pfeg) as part of the What Money Means programme to expand financial education in primary schools.

Wendy van den Hende, Chief Executive of pfeg, said: "The survey shows that children have very good instincts towards money, but this does not always last into adulthood. Parents plainly want their children to be taught about personal finance as part of the curriculum, and we are delighted that the Government has acknowledged the importance of encouraging children to think and talk about money issues from a young age.

"We believe that What Money Means has made a real difference. Children learn the value of money, the dangers of getting into debt and the basics about the banking system. Whoever wins the next election, and whatever happens to the economy financial education needs to be kept on the agenda."

Peter Bull, Head of HSBC in the Community, said: "It is very reassuring to see that many children want to save rather than get into debt. However there is a danger of children picking up bad habits from adults. Financial education at an early age can reinforce children’s better instincts."

Key findings of the parent’s survey were:

  •  Four out of five parents felt that children aged 9 to 10 should learn about financial matters in school and only one in ten could remember having received tuition on personal finance whilst at school themselves.
  • Whilst most parents had discussed money issues with their children, only one in ten had done so in-depth, but there was evidence of this changing over time with younger parents far more likely to have done so. 
  • Mothers were more likely than fathers to have discussed financial issues with their children and they also felt slightly more confident in doing so. Common topics were: savings, pocket money and the ‘value’ and importance of money. 
  • For around a third of families, the recession had led to more discussion with children about money. This was not surprising given that over half had specifically cut back on spending and taken steps to reduce their bills during the recession.
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