With increasing emphasis being placed today on the importance of financial management across all sections of society, there is a distinct need for improved financial literacy in education. As a growing number of technology-based resources are steadily integrated into the classroom, is there an opportunity for investment platforms to examine how they could help improve financial literacy and ultimately financial well-being?
Earlier this year, David Cameron, UK Prime Minister, announced plans for the inclusion of financial education in the final draft of the English national curriculum to be implemented from 2014. This was the result of a long-standing campaign spearheaded by Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, built on the argument that individuals do not understand the concept of risk.
Technology has the crucial ability to add a new dimension and interactivity to the learning process. It can support the motivation to learn, providing a sense of competence and autonomy as well as fun. Think about the growing presence of tablets and smart phones in everyday life, which allow students to absorb information on the move, increasing their engagement.
Platforms could use this to their advantage. Perhaps they could sponsor investment games, giving students the opportunity to set up a dummy portfolio and gain basic practice in investing. By introducing this concept to education, students can learn about the world of investment and be introduced to momentous life events such as buying a property, having children and retiring. The important thing is to make it engaging and ensure that technology is available to all students to avoid creating or reinforcing financial vulnerability.
Incorporating financial education into the national curriculum is only the first step in a long road, but Lewis believes that investing in financial education now will reward society in 15-20 years’ time. This will coincide with the time when the ownership of Junior ISAs are passed onto today’s infants and these might well be the vehicle that sparks students’ interest in learning about managing their finances.
Banks already actively target students to influence customer loyalty. With the D2C sector set to boom in the coming years, perhaps it’s time for the platform market to target the education system– providing learning resources that are interactive and engaging to capture the imagination of the young.