Skip to main content Accessibility Statement
Multi ethnic schoolkids

Make sure your kids' poor maths skills don't add up to debt

How do the UK's 15 year olds rank for maths and science skills with the rest of the world? It may be lower than you think.

Currently we rank 20th – below countries such as Ireland, Vietnam and Estonia for maths and science skills.

And this could be costing us. If all teens could achieve basic educational skills, we could be improving the UK's economic performance, adding 3.1% to our Gross Domenstic Product (GDP) by 2030 – a massive £2.3 trillion, according to a report by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It also revealed that one in five pupils don't have basic maths and science skills by the time they reach 15.

Surprised? Well, education doesn’t just have to be in schools – if you are a parent, you too could be making a difference.  

In fact, our research has shown 84% of children say that their parents are either the only or the best source they would seek for money advice.

Here, Kirsty Bowman-Vaughan, who leads on the Money Advice Service’s thinking on ways to help children and young people manage their money now and in the future, shows how you can help your child’s financial skills.

Money habits start earlier than you think

Did you know many money habits are formed by seven years old?

At that age, children know how to recognise the value of money and count it out, but they're not just limited to money concepts. They are also are likely to have picked up from you whether money is something to be feared or avoided; whether they are a saver or a spender.

So, how could you make a difference?

Involving your children in some of the decisions you make about money is one really easy way to help develop the right financial behaviours for the future.

For example, you could sit them down and show them how you budget the weekly food shop and ask them to have a go.

Talking to your children about the regular money decisions you have to make is a particularly good idea as they reach their late teens.

You could show them how you shopped around for a better deal on your utility bills, or even talk to them about some of the mistakes you’ve made in the past and how it impacted you.

This way they start to learn that the much sought after independence brings money responsibilities.

You could also consider giving your children more responsibility for their money. This could be as simple as providing them with a regular fixed amount of pocket money, instead of giving it on an ad-hoc basis, and then giving them something they are responsible for, like their weekly lunch.

What’s important is they learn how to set and stick to a budget and realise there are consequences if they don’t. Better to learn this now than getting into a world of trouble with debt at 18, when so many credit options become available.


Do you talk to your children about money? What tips and tricks do you use to get your children involved in money matters?


What do you think?

We really want you to share your views, but please remember to be nice ☺
All fields are required. Check out our full commenting guidelines

By clicking on 'Post Comment', you're agreeing to our Commenting Policy