Getting a fair deal?

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Managing money is an essential life skill yet few young people in the UK are well equipped to make financial decisions. Young people already have lower levels of financial literacy because their experience is limited and knowledge is restricted to what they learn at home or at school.

Some of the young people we work with face additional challenges, and have big worries about how to manage money and avoid financial problems like debt. They tell us that they feel unable to access the advice, support and services they most need during major life changes – leaving care, setting up a home, having children. Many get into debt, increasing the difficulty of keeping a home, finding a job or completing training.

We asked young people what they think would help them become more confident about managing money.

Our research found that young people are most receptive to learning about money on a need-to-know basis, which means financial education has to be available outside the classroom.

  • 67% of the most vulnerable young people tell us they never had, or do not remember having, any financial education in school.

They want financial advice at the key moments which bring additional financial responsibility, and want to receive help with everyday living. For some of the young people we work with, ‘life events’ happen at different points to their peers, often without the safety net of family or friends.

"“I have no idea what the cost of living independently is.”"

Young person

The young people we surveyed want to know how to budget and how to manage their bills. They do not have the luxury of making mistakes. One unpaid bill, missed rent payment or unforeseen emergency can force some young people towards high-interest lenders (or, worse, to loan sharks) and debt can quickly spiral.

Financial institutions - especially banks and building societies - could also do much more to help young people. Over half of the young people surveyed wouldn't go to a bank for information, finding them intimidating and unhelpful.

We've invited banks, building societies and other providers of financial products to take our Young People's Banking Checklist Challenge. 

 

How you can help?

There are no easy answers for vulnerable young people. One thing is clear, though – they need a government champion. Someone who will unify Ministers, banks, employment advisers, the regulator, social workers and others to support and advise them on managing money.

Please write to your local MP, asking them to call on the financial capability minister, Harriett Baldwin, to rally everyone who can help. Take action here

We know that people who are in control of their lives and finances are more resilient, more able to find and keep a job, and more likely to create a stable home. Making sure that the most vulnerable young people are able to manage is both morally and practically the right thing to do.