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Health and Wellbeing
A Health and Well-being Wales Partner

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to forget all about money and just get on with enjoying life?

That’s how most of us felt when we were young – and it’s probably not very different to your own children’s attitude towards financial matters. Regrettably, things that may seem irrelevant and distant when they are still at school – tuition fees, housing costs, household bills, and insurance – take on a whole new importance when they reach adulthood.

All young people will be able to access credit when they reach 18 and the majority of those entering higher education will need a Student Loan. Young people who go straight into jobs or training might want to start saving for their future, perhaps for their first car or home. Those who are living independently might need help with housing costs and young parents with childcare costs.

The soaring cost of living means the majority of young people – even those who are in full-time employment – now have to make difficult decisions about what they spend their money on. The ability to manage their incomings and outgoings – and to know where to go for financial advice or even emergency financial support – is now more important than ever.

Unfortunately, an insufficient budget, lack of budgeting skills or bad financial decisions (or all three) can have a long-term impact, potentially leading to debt, poverty, homelessness and mental health issues.

If the worst happens and your child has a debt problem which is spiralling out of control, encourage them to seek advice at the first opportunity as delaying things will only make the situation worse.

Financial education

Financial education has been an important part of the school curriculum in Wales for over a decade. The aim is to teach children and young people how to better manage their finances when they reach adulthood and to make informed decisions about spending, saving and borrowing.

The new National Curriculum for Wales sets out what should be taught in primary and secondary schools.

By age 11, children should be able to:

  • understand the use of £ and p
  • do calculations with money
  • compare costs and understand how to budget
  • plan and track money and savings
  • calculate profit and loss
  • assess value for money

By age 16, young people should be able to:

  • know about different currencies and exchange rates
  • be able to calculate things like compound interest rates
  • be able to compare and choose financial products
  • have had practice in managing household budgets

How to help

Children learn from the people around them and helping your child to understand how to save and handle money is one of the most important things you can do to ensure their future well-being.

Start with pocket money, perhaps paying children to carry out easy household tasks, like washing the car or cleaning out the rabbit cage. Persuade them to save some of their birthday or Christmas money in a savings account. Get older children to save up for a big item or concert tickets, maybe going halves with them. 

MoneyHelper has some age-appropriate guides to help parents talk to children and young people about money.

The Money Advice Service sets parents some tasks to help younger children and teenagers learn to manage their own money.

More information

Childline counsellors can help children and young people with money worries. Call: 0800 1111.

Stepchange offers free advice to anyone who is in debt.

Last updated: 28/02/2023