Two thirds have never received personal finance education

While many employees want personal finance help from their employers, few receive this

Two-thirds (64%) of UK employees have never received personal finance education, according to research commissioned on behalf of the Open University Business School (OUBS) and Share Radio.

The research also found that, while four in five (81%) employees want personal finance help from their employers, only 7% of those who have received financial education received this from their employer.

More common sources of information included through family and friends (12%), the media (10%) and the internet (8%). Only 6% had received any financial education at school, and only 6% at university, while 5% taught themselves through personal finance books.

The research also revealed that seeking out information on personal finance was usually done in a reactive way, where a major life event such as leaving school or buying a first property acted as a trigger. Almost half (44%) confessed that major life events were the last time new financial knowledge was gained.

Regarding the sorts of assistance employees would like, a third (33%) stated financial education would help them plan their financial future and 25% said it would help them to understand their pension. In terms of the type of assistance employees want from their employer, more than a quarter (26%) favoured one-to-one sessions and 22% would like the option of free financial courses.

Director of the True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance at the OUBS Martin Upton said:

“It’s clear that many generations have suffered from a lack of formal financial education, and, while it was finally added to the school curriculum [in England] last year, there is a real need for many consumers to increase their knowledge of, and confidence in, financial matters.

“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. Assessing how much income is needed in retirement requires budgeting skills and an understanding of taxation. In effect, pension guidance is a stepping stone to wider financial education. We have a situation where only a tenth of consumers have consulted a financial adviser in the last 18 months, so it’s apparent that employers are in a prime position to help their employees get a better understanding of how to deal with their personal finances effectively.”

The OUBS has partnered with dedicated personal finance radio station Share Radio to produce a ‘Managing My Money’ eight week personal finance course. This is available to employers looking to offer personal finance education to employees.

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