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A new report shows most children in the UK do not know what a wage is.

The findings of the KickStart Money programme, delivered by MyBnk, uncovered several worrying early indicators of poor financial capability. However, it also proves intervention can successfully target the executive functions behind money management i.e. habits, attitudes and behaviours.

The yearlong independent study of over three thousand 7-11 year olds taking part in the MyBnk ‘Money Twist‘ lessons found:

  • Three out of five struggle with basic personal finance terminology.
  • Barely a third can delay instant spending gratification.
  • Just 19% save money regularly.
  • Only 30% think how they treat money now will have an impact on their future.

Children from areas of high free school meals were found to have the lowest financial capability – after financial education they closed the gap with their peers.

Executive functions

According to evaluators Substance, three months after the programme, 69% of children are working towards a savings target and 60% think how they treat money now will affect them in the future.

Independent evaluators also found:

  • 77% of children who could not delay spending gratification now can.
  • 75% who could not separate their needs and wants now can.
  • 83% of those who could not correctly identify what a budget was, now can.
  • A 17% to 83% rise in teachers’ understanding of what makes good financial education.

This provision is funded by KickStart Money a coalition of 18 saving and investment firms with a vision to ensure every primary aged child receives a high-quality and effective financial education.

The programme has reached 20,000 primary pupils in three years. Direct in-person and virtual lessons are supported by teacher and parent resources and training.

Classes address executive functions like money mindsets, attitudes and behaviours, consumer choices, key skills and knowledge such as budgeting and prioritisation. MyBnk brings money to life using videos, manga comics, games and role play, drawn from youth culture.

Stark need

Currently over 20 million Brits cannot manage their money, 11.5m have less than £100 in savings, and nearly nine million are in serious debt.[1]

The sooner you start the better as key money habits are formed by age seven.[2] Young people are also taking the biggest economic hit of the pandemic,[3] having on average £2,000 worth of debts.[4] Half of twenty-somethings have no savings.[5]

Despite this, money lessons are not compulsory in English primary schools. Just 52% of 7-16 year olds recall receiving any form of money lessons.[6]

Full reportPress release.

Team MyBnk

[1] Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) 2020.
[2] MaPS 2013.
[3] London School of Economics 2020.
[4] Student Beans 2021.
[5] ONS 2018.
[6] MaPS 2018.