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04 Jan 2016

UK employees lacking personal financial education

A new study has found that more than half of UK employees have not been given any education about how to manage their personal finances, the Training Journal reports.

According to research commissioned by the Open University Business School (OUBS) and Share Radio, many employees in Britain feel that their financial knowledge - such as managing every day saving and spending - is ‘reasonable.´

However, rather than this knowledge coming from any sort of personal finance education, a large number said that their financial lessons were often learnt as a result of a significant life event – for example, buying their first home.

In fact, some 44% of respondents said that a major life event was the last time they had gained any type of new financial knowledge.

Commenting on the findings, Martin Upton, director of the True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance at the OUBS, said it was “clear that many generations have suffered from a lack of formal financial education, and […] there is a real need for many consumers to increase their knowledge of, and confidence in, financial matters.”

Financial education was added to the National Curriculum in England last year, which is expected to go some way towards improving financial awareness among generations to come; but the issue still remains for the current workforce.

The majority (81%) of employees would like to receive help from their employer when it comes to their finances – a third (33%) said this would help them prepare for their financial future, and a quarter (25%) said it would help with understanding their pension.

“By 2018 all employers will have responsibility for offering access to pension schemes, and there should be guidance on the schemes offered and the desirability for employees to augment their state pensions,” Upton stressed, adding that “employers are in a prime position to help their employees get a better understanding of how to deal with their personal finances effectively.”

Sharing this view was Gavin Oldham, managing director of Share Radio, who noted that today´s consumers need to think ahead to the long term rather than just the month ahead. He stated that “employers now have a huge responsibility to ensure their workforce understand and have the knowledge to make those important life-changing decisions.”

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