One of the things I was taught whilst growing up was that it's not the done thing to talk about money. Never acceptable, always tacky. And yet here I am, about to break this rule. (Sorry, Mum.) I do think this is kind of important, though.
I left school with absolutely no knowledge of personal finance. I mean sure, I'd studied GCSE Mathematics, but that was always more about Pythagoras and quadratic equations than pensions and investments. We'd also spent plenty of Focus Days (I think that was an early form of PSHE) on things like deciding on colleges and career paths (all I remember about this is having to fill in some survey on a weird little computer program called Kudos which then told you what to go away and research, as this was before the days of prolific internet connections). But nothing about how to actually manage your money to survive in the big, wide world.
A lot of things have changed since I was at school. but according to this article in the Independent, it would seem that this isn't one of them. According to research done by MyVoucherCodes, 65% of the people they surveyed said that young people do not receive enough education about debt management during their time in the UK education system.
I left school with no idea about how to budget and it's something that a lot of people (myself included to some extent) have to learn the hard way. That said, by the time I was at Uni I was shocked when some of my friends would receive a student loan payment and spend it right away and then be out of cash and having to try and borrow money from people to see them through.
It would scare me to not know how I was going to pay for something, but I guess I've always had it drummed into me that you don't buy things unless you can afford them. (And it didn't take me long to decide that I'd prefer to spend my money on a pair of shoes than a night out, which wouldn't likely even be remembered the following day). I've never borrowed money nor taken out credit or store cards as I just can't see the benefit, (not to mention not being convinced I could trust myself to walk past a Louboutin store and resist the temptation of a credit card in my purse!). But I know a lot of people who haven't resisted the lure of easy credit, or pay day loans and have ended up getting into all kinds of bother.
I genuinely think that finding time in the school curriculum to teach people about managing their money from a young age could save them all kinds of trouble in the long run. Running various businesses has taught me about certain financial aspects, but I still know nothing about pensions (nor do I have one), for example.
Is there anything you wish you'd been taught at school?