Half of children in Wales say they haven’t been taught about money at home or in school, according to a new report from the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS).
Financial Foundations, based on a survey of 4,740 UK children aged 7-17, found that just 51% of those living in Wales recalled getting a meaningful financial education in either or both settings.
After extending the measure across five and six-year-olds, MaPS is now estimating that over 220,000 children in Wales don't have the money skills they’ll need in adulthood and it’s calling on parents, schools, financial institutions and funders to help.
The poll asked if they remembered getting a financial education at school that they considered useful, with a quarter (24%) saying they had.
They were also asked if they received regular money from either parents or work, if their parents set rules on it and whether they were given responsibility for spending decisions, with 18% saying yes to all three.
A further 9% said both the above scenarios applied to them, meaning a total of 51% had received a meaningful financial education.
The findings also revealed that some children were more likely to receive one than others. Those in Scotland were the most likely (52%), followed by Wales (51%), England (46%) and Northern Ireland (43%).
The report shows that learning about money helps children to feel more confident managing and talking about money, save more regularly and have a bank account that they use.
As part of its UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing, MaPS is aiming for two million more UK children aged 5-17, including 90,000 in Wales, to receive a meaningful financial education by 2030.
To reach that target, it’s asking all parents to talk to their children about money and combine it with everyday experiences, such as food shopping, budgeting and wages from a part-time job. To help with this, MaPS offers free resources like Talk Learn Do, an online tool that helps parents to start the conversation.
In addition, MaPS is calling on financial services and funders, like grant-makers and charitable trusts, to increase their investment in the delivery of financial education. It says this will help reach even more children, particularly those in vulnerable circumstances.
MaPS is also working closely with practitioners, funders and the Welsh Government on a variety of initiatives, including trialling financial education teacher training, but it says there’s more to do to give the opportunity to every child in Wales.
Lee Phillips, Wales Manager at the Money and Pensions Service, said: “These figures will alarm everyone in financial education because despite all the work so far, hundreds of thousands of children could still be going without.
“Our experiences in childhood prepare us for adulthood and learning about money is no different. It becomes a part of daily life and our financial decisions can bring real benefits and profound consequences, so it’s crucial to learn from a young age.
"Clearly there’s still a lot more to do and everyone from banks and building societies to foundations and financial institutions has a big part to play. Parents and schools can also make a huge difference by combining money skills with everyday experiences, both inside and outside the classroom.
“If we keep working together, we can help children across Wales to develop positive money habits that will stay with them for life.”