Suzy Kirby from Money A&E shares how a financial education session during UK Savings Week went.
For one group of east London teenagers, UK Savings Week was a catalyst to start thinking about their financial futures.
The 16 to 18-year-old Newham College students took part in ‘Money Know How: Financial Intelligence’, an interactive workshop on making saving a ‘happy habit’.
At the front of a packed lecture hall in the East Ham campus, surrounded by yellow and green UK Savings Week boards and flyers, workshop leaders Frederick, Tanzila and Mustakim started up the conversation. Their message?
‘Saving = personal development’. Saving establishes what the priorities are in your life, and can help to define your goals, including financial ones. Starting young with a good understanding of money, finances, and savings habit can maximise the benefits of financial education.
“You’re being informed about how to manage your money from NOW”, Frederick told the students. “You’re going to be leaders of households, leaders of families, leaders of organisations. And I can guarantee all of you here, in the future, you’re going to have more money than you have now.”
“So, today is your day, and that’s the best way to start thinking about it.”
The workshop team explained the main types of savings accounts and the savings rates that the students could take advantage of at the moment. Then they asked the students what their money goals were – ‘buying a car’ was popular! – And went on to discuss the power of starting small, and how to budget successfully.
The aim of ‘Money Know How: Financial Intelligence’ is to get young people ‘life skill-ready’. Whether their next stage is employment, ongoing education or apprenticeships, they will need the knowledge to manage their next level of income.
Only 8% of young people cite school as their main source of financial education – and this leaves them vulnerable to poor quality information elsewhere. Alongside ‘Money Know How: Financial Intelligence’, UK Savings Week is helping to close that gap.
It’s even more important in Newham, as it is one of the UK’s youngest boroughs but also has some of the highest rates of homelessness and child poverty.
As Harry Matthews, Enrichment Manager at Newham College, explains, “At Newham College we take pride in the holistic development of the students. We want students to succeed in their academic studies and aid them on their way to great careers, but we also want to give them the best experience in prepping them for life beyond education.
Financial literacy is not something curricular studies teaches young people but it is something they will utilise for the rest of their lives. Offering workshops such as ‘Money Know How: Financial Intelligence’ on saving habits and bank accounts is essential for the future individuals our students will become.”
Back in the lecture hall, we heard from both students and staff that they would like to learn more about saving.
They reflected on how, in the words of one student, “saving is good for security for your family, and to avoid bankruptcy.”
And in the words of one of her peers, “[Financial education] is a good opportunity for the future”.
Money A+E is an award-winning social enterprise that provides money advice & education to disadvantaged groups, Diverse Ethnic Communities (DEC) and young people.