How we’re helping educate young people about money

May 12, 2017

Here at GreenSky Wealth, we’re big believers in getting people interested in managing their finances from a young age. If you start off with the right attitude and knowledge of money, you’ll stand a much better chance of making sound financial decisions in the future.

Financial education is now mandatory in schools, but only up to the age of 16. Arguably, it’s from the age of 16 upwards that young people need more help. They soon have access to uni, more bank accounts, credit cards…independence! They suddenly need to know how to manage money, not just spend it. Just when understanding your spending becomes most important, schools simply don’t have the budgets, or the time, to include finances within the curriculum.

So what’s the answer?

Currently if you think of financial education, you might well think of Martin Lewis who seems to be singlehandedly trying to get us to change our habits, switch bank accounts, switch energy providers, use 0% balance transfer credit cards to help pay off debt….He’s doing a good job but a lot of his education is aimed at adults who have potentially made mistakes in the past and need a bit of a helping hand to get back on track.

WizeUp came up with a pretty smart solution to try and stop these future problems from ever happening, by educating young people before they make the big financial decisions which can shape their futures.

They began delivering workshops and seminars in schools and colleges, covering a whole range of “grown up” financial issues. Whether that’s being able to find the best credit card with the lowest APR, highlighting the perils of flat and house sharing or explaining the importance of budgeting and taking care of your credit rating, the overall message is that there is peace of mind to be had from knowing your finances are on a solid footing.

It’s true, sometimes you learn from your mistakes, but financial mistakes can be very costly and can stay with you for a very long time. WizeUp aims to stop young people making those mistakes in the first place, showing them where to get the best help and advice to help make informed decisions.

There was plenty of interest from schools in the WizeUp sessions, but budget constraints proved problematic. So they began teaming up with local companies who were keen on promoting financial education. These companies sponsor a local school, enabling WizeUp to go in and deliver their tailored workshops to students.

We thought this was a great idea which sits nicely alongside our aims here at GreenSky, so we decided to get involved.

Our sponsorship of The Anglo European School

The Anglo European School is local to our very own Mike, in Ingatestone, Essex. This school had been using WizeUp for the past five years. Unfortunately, budget cuts meant they had reluctantly decided they couldn’t afford to continue, much to the disappointment of both students and teachers who’d found the session to be incredibly useful. That’s where we stepped in!

We had spoken to WizeUp’s Ed Flack, a former work colleague of Mike and Andrew, in the past and expressed an interest in helping. So when he heard about the school’s dilemma, Ed asked if we’d like to sponsor them. We were only too happy to help.

Mike went in to the school and chatted to the students about the benefits of the sessions and the reasons why GreenSky chose to sponsor them – namely our belief in the importance of a strong financial education for a secure financial future.

Financially educating people is probably the area of our work that we find most rewarding. Lots of people we meet are a bit scared of finance, so choose to brush it under the carpet rather than tackle it. They come to us when they can’t ignore it any longer because they’ve got pensions and investments all over the place with no logical plan behind any of it.

If we can reach young people early enough, that should make our job much easier! A big part of the WizeUp message is that if you don’t understand something, look it up here, or read this, or Tweet this person. Don’t just go jumping in head long if you don’t really know what you’re getting in to. High five to that.

We’re now looking forward to sponsoring Reepham High School, a little closer to our Norwich home, and will be delivering sessions alongside WizeUp from September 2017.