The basics of financial planning should be taught in British secondary schools and colleges, according to the UK division of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations.
deVere United Kingdom, part of multinational advisory giant deVere Group, insists that financial education is key to improving the life chances of young people and that it will help boost the country’s chances of long-term, sustainable economic growth.
These fresh calls come after Kevin White, deVere United Kingdom’s Head of Financial Planning, addressed a group of 19 to 24 year olds last week at an event organised by City Gateway, an award-winning London-based charity which aims to engage, train and provide young adults with the skills and opportunities they need to enter work or further education.
Mr White comments: “At this event I gave practical, workable advice, tips and information about budget planning, paying off debts, the repercussions of not paying bills which can include defaults, CCJs and bankruptcy, and the importance of setting mid to long-term financial goals – and how to tackle each of these areas head on.
“Strikingly, not one of those in attendance had ever been given any kind of financial education before. With such a lack of basic financial literacy it is perhaps unsurprising that so many individuals fail to achieve their financial objectives.
“We’re woefully ill-informed as a country on the fundamentals of personal finance and to turn this situation around we are again making an urgent call for financial planning lessons to be offered in all UK schools and colleges.”
He continueds: “Quite rightly, we educate our young people about how to find a suitable job and, understandably, we offer extensive careers advice. Yet for the most part we stop at teaching them the essential life skills of how to manage money and become financially independent.
“And this, perhaps now more than ever in today’s world in which financial security is increasingly a personal responsibility, is doing a massive disservice to this generation and those who will follow it.”
The deVere United Kingdom Head of Financial Planning adds: “Successfully planning finances will enable people to reach – and often exceed – their goals. Clearly, this will not only benefit the individual and their families by giving them advantageous lifestyle opportunities, but it will also benefit the country.
“This is because those who are ‘better-off’ will be more likely to become wealth and job creators in their own right and because they are, typically, less likely to be dependent on the state, which is crucial for Britain’s long-term economic growth and sustained competitiveness.”
Last year, deVere Group’s founder and chief executive, Nigel Green, publicly lobbied the government to offer financial planning classes in schools and for firms to receive additional tax relief if they provided financial planning courses to employees.
Since last Wednesday’s City Gateway event at Canary Wharf, deVere United Kingdom has committed to working with the charity to provide apprenticeship opportunities to “talented young Londoners.” The first apprentice has already been taken on by the firm’s London offices.
deVere Group director, Mike Coady, says: “It’s a truly inspirational project, and one with which we’re proud to be associated. We’re thrilled that we’re going to be using our resources to help motivated young adults take their first steps towards a rewarding career in the financial services sector.”