From wanting more money lessons to fears about leaving school with no financial know-how: A kids’-eye-view of financial education

From wanting more money lessons to fears about leaving school with no financial know-how:  A kids’-eye-view of financial education

UK kids want more financial education in school, ranking it more important than core subjects.


  • 84% of kids and teens would like to have more financial education in school

  • 84% of young people say that financial education is equally or more important than other core subjects like Maths, English, and Science

  • 68% of 18-year-olds are worried about leaving school without any money skills 


At GoHenry, our mission is to make all kids smart with money, so we asked 2,000 UK kids aged 6–18 what they thought about financial education in schools to find out if young people are getting what they need.


Alarmingly, 42% of primary school-age kids and nearly half (49%) of all secondary school teens said they’re worried about leaving school without any money skills. 


Louise Hill, Co-founder and CEO of GoHenry agrees: “If financial education was compulsory in all schools, it could make a huge difference to the next generation, and it’s clear that kids and teens are acutely aware of this too. The fact that kids as young as primary school age are worried about their money skills is yet more evidence that financial education must begin earlier. We’ve heard from parents, teachers, industry bodies and organisations on this debate but now the Government must listen to these young voices and prioritise the practical money skills they need - and want - to navigate the adult world successfully.”


Kids’ want more money talk


When asked what money topics they would most like to learn about in school, our research found 6-18-year-olds would most like to learn about:


  1. How to save money - 46%

  2. How to buy a house (e.g. mortgages) - 34%

  3. How to earn money/build a career - 34%

  4. How to create a budget - 31%

  5. How to use a bank account - 31%


Retirement is already on the minds of young people too, with over a quarter (26%) of 18-year-olds1 saying they want to learn about pensions in school7.


Kids and teens also told us that they want to spend, on average, 45 minutes of lesson time learning about money each week. Of these, 18% wanted 1-2 hour long lessons, increasing to 29% for 18-year-olds who are about to navigate the world of student loans and independent living. 


Yet, currently, of those 18-year-olds1 who can recall having financial education in school, 50% say it wasn’t enough to make them feel confident managing money as adults, and 68% are worried about leaving school without any money skills at all.


Asked to list the reasons why students were leaving school unprepared for the adult world of finance, the Money and Pension service found 79% of teachers said other subjects had to take priority and around a quarter said teaching staff didn’t have enough confidence or skills (25%) to teach financial education, or weren’t sure where to find the right support and financial resources (26%).


It’s one of the many reasons why financial education in the UK is currently very patchy. Money lessons are only mandatory at secondary schools in England, but this doesn’t apply to Academies and independent schools. Where schools do teach financial education, the topic is split between Maths and Citizenship classes. In Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, financial education is part of the curriculum from primary school age, but it’s combined with other subjects. 


The case for financial education


Financial education is crucial for many reasons, not least because kids want it. It raises early-career earnings prospects by up to 28% and makes children and young people more likely to save money, have a bank account, and be confident with money management.


OIa Majekodunmi, financial expert @allthingsmoney, says, “It’s worrying how ill-equipped we are to navigate adulthood financially in schools. Lessons on how to manage our finances effectively in both primary and secondary schools would be a game changer in the way young people manage and feel about their personal finances.”


Our CBI Economics analysis reveals the huge impact regular and good financial education could make on Gen Z and Gen Alpha:


  • Prioritising financial education will add an extra £6.98 billion to the UK economy each year (£202 billion by 2050)

  • If all adults received financial education at school, an additional 76,400 businesses could be created each year, resulting in an annual increase of 123,000 direct jobs

  • Adults who don’t learn about money when they are young are now more likely to earn less than the national average wage of £31,461.

  • Of those earning between £55,001 and £65,000 per year, 77% received financial education as children.

  • Kids who received financial education from an early age could be £70,000 richer in retirement than kids who had none. That’s because they are saving, on average, 44% more into their pension pots each month compared to those who did not benefit from financial education when they were at school. 


Louise says: “These findings clearly demonstrate the positive impact that financial education has on children’s financial confidence levels, businesses and the wider UK economy. This is why it’s vital that we teach these essential life skills much earlier to bridge the financial capability gap that is costing the UK billions every year.” 


What can you do to help? Well, according to a Cambridge University study, children’s financial habits are formed by the age of seven, so it’s vital that kids start learning about money at the same time they learn other core subjects such as numeracy and literacy.


You can help your child grasp key financial lessons by giving regular pocket money - no matter how small the amount - and talking about money at home as a way to bring to life key financial skills such as budgeting, saving, earning and participating in the digital economy.




1. UK children surveyed who have attended/currently attend school

2.  84% of respondents would like to have/have had more financial education in school.

3.  ‘Much more important’, ‘A bit more important’, and ‘Equally important’ answers combined.

4.  Extremely worried’ and ‘Quite worried’ answers combined.

5.  ‘Disagree’ and ‘Strongly disagree’ answers combined. (How much do you agree/disagree with the following statement: The money lessons in school were enough to make me feel confident managing money by myself when I am an adult).

6.  Age ranges have been grouped as follows: Primary school: 6-10, Secondary school: 11-16


The research was conducted by Censuswide with a sample of 2,000 UK Children aged 6–18 years old (Minimum of 50 respondents per age). The survey fieldwork took place between 07.03.2024 and 13.03.2024. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society, which is based on the ESOMAR principles, and are members of The British Polling Council.
Written by Anita Naik Published Apr 22, 2024 ● 5 mins