Dr Marcel Lukas is an expert in financial decision-making and a fellow with the Office for National Statistics. He has been leading new research at the University of St Andrews, in collaboration with GoHenry, examining how completing GoHenry’s in-app money lessons, Money Missions, affects children's spending and saving behaviour. Here, Dr Lukas tells us more about his research.
Our study aims to shed light on the various factors that influence financial literacy and decision-making among young people. This helps us to better understand how we can support children with the skills and knowledge they need to make informed financial decisions.
Money Missions are bite-sized games and quizzes designed to make financial education fun. They are accessed via the GoHenry app and have been developed with teachers and financial experts to build financial literacy and confidence.
Our initial findings suggest that:
Children who engage in GoHenry Money Missions save more than those who have not completed a Money Mission:
Kids are putting over 30% more into their savings in the first month after completing a Money Mission.
They are continuing to save 10% more after three months of completing a Money Mission compared to those who haven’t completed a mission.
Kids who completed all the Level 1 Money Missions are saving, on average, 50% more than they did before they completed a Money Mission.
The impact of financial education
The following graph shows how much money kids sent to their savings accounts before and after they engaged with GoHenry Money Missions. Kids saved on average £11.06 per month in the six months leading up to them completing the first money mission. This then increased by £3.75 (34%) in the first month after they completed their first mission.
These results suggest that financial education initiatives, such as GoHenry's Money Missions, can have a positive impact on the financial behaviours of children and teenagers.
While the research is in its early stages, the initial findings are promising. Children who complete Money Missions are more likely to put more money aside than those who still need to complete a mission. Plus, the effect gets stronger with each mission completed, reinforcing the importance of early financial education in shaping responsible money habits and decision-making.
The benefits of bite-sized learning
Our research shows us the benefits of having Money Missions embedded in the GoHenry app, which allows kids to view their spending and saving – and really affects how they manage their money.
“GoHenry created Money Missions to help provide kids (and parents) with the context for ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ when it comes to making kids and teens smarter with money. Much of the reasoning that underpins why we do certain things with money is invisible to young people. So we are very interested in seeing what we might learn about the impact of Money Missions on kids' and teens' spending and saving behaviours.”
Beth Zemble, VP for Education, GoHenry
Our findings suggest to us that financial education should be delivered in smaller chunks, made more accessible for kids, but most importantly, be connected with real-life behaviours, as is the case within the GoHenry app. We are now looking into how we can motivate kids to do more Money Missions.
*Authors of the research: Dr Christian Engels (University of St Andrews), Dr Chuck Howard (Texas A&M University), Dr Marcel Lukas (University of St Andrews), Prof Dennis Philip (Durham University)