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Revealed: the financial topics Brits wish they’d been taught at school

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

Pensions has topped the list of financial topics UK workers wish they’d been taught about at school, a study reveals.

A third of the 2,000 employed adults surveyed said they wish they’d been taught what a pension is and how it could benefit their future, when they were younger.

Just over a quarter (28%) said they would have liked to have learnt basic money management skills, while a further 28% said lessons about savings methods would have been helpful.

Other popular topics were general investment and understanding interest rates.

Overall, 80% of people surveyed believe they would be financially better off if they had been taught more about money in school.

Half said money lessons would be most beneficial in secondary school.

According to the research by pensions advice specialist, Portafina, teachers think the current school curriculum is not teaching children adequate financial skills.

Sue, a secondary school maths teacher from Kent said: “The current GCSE mathematics curriculum contains no financial content.

“Students may need to work out what the best buy would be or the VAT on a sofa, but at no point are schools directed to teach anything specifically relating to finances.”

Previous research from Portafina highlighted that a shocking 88% of those fresh out of education (18-24-year olds) could not correctly identify what a pension was.

Jamie Smith-Thompson, managing director of Portafina said: “The issue of financial education in schools needs addressing urgently.

“Yet making it a part of the curriculum looks like an empty gesture if teachers are not given the time and tools they need.

“The government has an obligation to equip the next generation with the right financial skills to navigate life. An outcome that looks very unlikely while the government’s focus is fixed on the continuing mess that is Brexit.”

The top 10 financial skills/ knowledge UK adults wish they’d been taught at school are:

  1. What a pension is and how it will benefit your future (32%)
  2. Basic money management e.g. how to budget (28%),
  3. Saving methods (Cash ISAs, savings accounts, Lifetime ISA, Help to Buy ISA etc.) (28%)
  4. General investment knowledge (27%)
  5. How to understand interest rates (23%)
  6. What a mortgage is and the process of applying for one (21%),
  7. What tax and national insurance are and why we pay them (21%)
  8. Banking (including online banking, the difference between debit and credit accounts) (19%)
  9. Paying bills and what happens when you miss a payment (19%)
  10. How to understand credit ratings (18%)