What would you want in a basic Financial Studies Course for young people?

This got me thinking, and I think it’s a good idea.

What would you want/put in a Financial Studies Course?

My initial thoughts:
Student Finance
Bank Accounts - overdrafts
Credit Cards

What would you add? What points in these categories would be important to raise?

1 Like

I’m not sure I’d have wanted any of those things in a financial studies course

Don’t get me wrong, they are all valuable lessons, but more something your parents should be teaching/instilling in you - Rather than a textbook.

If you were to learn about financial studies, I’d want to learn about the history of the banks, the stock markets, the various banking crashes over the years.


And how card payments work, about international payments (SWIFT, SEPA, SOFORT, Western Union, etc), about currency and foreign exchange, history of payment types such as cheques postcheques eurocheques and postal orders, interest types (simple and compound) and how to calculate and display interest (e.g. AER, APR etc), types of institution e.g. banks and credit unions (and the different types of bank around the world e.g. in Germany), the role of central banks, etc


I think we’re on completely different wavelengths - this was in response to a young person suggesting that basic financial nouse should be taught in schools and I agree.

If you attempted to teach what you suggest, you’d have 90% of the class on their phones reading instagram within 10 minutes.

I’ll modify the subject!


Ah @anon44204028 - I feel if anyone should teach a lesson on international payments - It’s you!

1 Like

Oh… Well then, I disagree! haha.

You don’t teach a kid to save in a 1 hour lesson in secondary school.

1 Like

We were lucky at our middle school. We had a bank come in and teach us and they helped run with a teacher a school bank with school bank cheque books etc. We could pay cash into the account and use the cheques to buy stuff in the school or pay for school things (lunch, snacks, trips, uniform, books, etc).

We did something similar with the TSB, a very long time ago!

1 Like

I think our was with NatWest?

There are certainly some beneficial and valuable lessons to be learnt about managing your money and understanding what financial products do as part of your education. It’s a huge part of living independently and I imagine this is something that would have a relevant home in a post-16 or college course for 16-18 year olds gearing up to leave home for the first time.

There are plenty of courses now which are less textbook based and more about discussing and sharing perspectives with peers, plus a lot of the history and background context would need to be included here to provide the appropriate background and context, so you’re almost learning both sides in the same course!

1 Like

There are multiple levels of financial education, and a course could easily have a drill down approach such that the basics are taught to everyone and those with more interest can push into the detail.

But if a young person doesn’t understand the basics of spending less than you earn, the theory of fractional reserve banking is not likely to be of primary concern.

I agree that financial lessons are important. But my point was that in an ideal world, these lessons would begin at home. If you get to 16, and have zero concept of saving, it’s not great.

If anything, these “basic” lessons should be taught much earlier - Maybe in the 12-14 age group - Around the time they may start earning pocket money.


GCSE LLW (learning for life and work) is an option in some schools, with non examinable LLW if you choose not to do it for a GCSE. There is a unit on finances



Best way to is by letting children have their own accounts and seeing how saving works early on. Currently both my children have goHenry accounts (they’d love Monzo ones!) and have saved their weekly money for all sorts of things.

We need to start early.


Fully agree with you!

It’s a general trend, though, to absolve parents of any educational responsibility, isn’t it? Just like when youngsters aren’t eating healthily, it’s not the parents’ responsibility, but instead schools need to enforce lunch box policies.

And if a student can’t realize that overdrafts aren’t there for long term finance, then I think that’s not something that uni can fix.

Being German, I read this article with fascination a short while ago:


(It’s behind a paywall, but if you google the title “Why are Germans so obsessed with saving money?” and go there from the search results, the Financial Times sometimes lets you in)

It’s relevant here, because it points out that saving is essentially instilled into young people from primary school age. (I certainly remember getting my first savings book at that time. My parents had already put a few marks on it, and I kept putting my pocket money on it. I graduated with 1000s of euros in savings, not in debt [granted, the fact that we have no student fees in Germany, and that I had a part time job since I was 16, had a big impact on this!])

1 Like

more something your parents should be teaching/instilling in you - Rather than a textbook.

What if the parents are just as clueless as the kid? That’s definitely possible and even more so today when you look at some people.

I would personally welcome such a course. Not saying it should be mandatory (someone made a good point about kids being bored and going on Instagram instead, and that is their right) but it should be available should the student want it.

This is from another country’s perspective (France), but I find it funny that school insists on teaching you some very advanced math (by everyday standards) but completely misses teaching the basics like running a business, filing taxes (taxes in France are way more complex than the UK, you need to calculate and file them manually even if you’re just an employee), etc. Advanced math has yet to make me a penny, but knowledge of running a business would’ve been invaluable.

I’m not sure if the situation is the same in the UK but here are my 2 cents.


I agree regarding the parents being as clueless as the kids…

Although I still think educating the kids at a more impressionable age (10/11/12/13/14) with very basic saving advice/financial advice is step 1.

Step 2 is the more advanced stuff you are talking about, which would certainly be an option for those wanting to take it.

It’s a good read - I’m not sure the British culture will change anytime soon (shame).

1 Like

Hey, that’s me :see_no_evil:

An old job (debt collection company) of mine went into primary schools to teach kids about debt. First the kids got some money and they were allowed to go around the room purchasing things. Like cars, and houses and decide to have babies.

They came back and discussed why they chose them and we explained that now they have no money left. After a quick teaching on debt, they were allowed to go back and pick again. Their choices changed drastically.

Something as simple as highlighting limits in younger children is a good place to start. Games for primary school children are a great tool.

As for things to be taught and covered …

  • income and tax
  • basic household management. ie what bills are needed. Council tax, water, electric.
  • recommended household.management. Insurances and the importance of these
  • budgeting
  • savings. There is a few ways to save and it’d be nice to discuss the pros and cons. Basic, ISA, stocks and shares etc
  • arranged debt ie loans (fixed term)
  • non forecast debt ie credit card (non fixed term)
  • managing debt (debt consolidation etc)
  • income shocks and resources. Lost job, vulnerabilities, mental health, bereavement
  • how to deal with the above ie COMMUNICATING with companies and creditors about financial or otherwise difficulties
  • fraud ie protecting yourself and what to do
  • basics of banking. Ie payment methods, interest rates, how things just work …
  • credit file

That’s what I can think of right now. But some of it is stuff I am still teaching my younger sister … and she’s almost 28. I think it’s such a massive things in life that financial education should be a thing.


That’s really great! We often think of debt collection companies as absolute evil. (And I’ve made a few truely dreadful experiences with some of them, who had me confused with someone else.) It’s good to see that there are other aspects as well.

1 Like