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Bring on the Baby Boomers: Financial Capability Week 2016

In line with Financial Capability Week, we did a survey with our own staff to see how we compare to the rest of the country.

Today we’re looking at the Baby Boomers, or in plain English, those born between 1945-64, to see how their financial education matches up and how it has gone on to affect their everyday life.

When did they receive their first financial education?

On average, the ClearDebt Baby Boomers received their first financial education at age 8,which, according to research from Money Advice Service, is a year too late as we have supposedly already developed our attitudes and values towards money by age 7.

However, the ClearDebt Baby Boomers may have something to say about that, as three quarters of those we surveyed felt that their first financial education was substantial enough and the evidence would support their claim, as eight out of ten of them completely understood the terms of their first credit agreement, would have enough savings to cope in an emergency and are saving for retirement.

Who should be responsible?

Although the majority of our Baby Boomers received their financial education from their parents, it would appear confidence in financial education in the home has somewhat dwindled.

Not a single Baby Boomer surveyed thought it should be left solely down to parents, with most opting for a mixture between home and school teaching.

Elaine Masters, an Insolvency Practitioner at ClearDebt, believes that financial education should come from a combination of parents and representatives from the financial sector visiting schools. She received her financial education from her father who taught her finance by having her help out with administrate duties for the family business.

It stood her in good stead as, in her own words, Elaine says:

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know about basic finances such as bank accounts, loans, income and outgoings.

This suggests that educating our young in practical financial situations has more effect than standard classroom lessons, but not every parent had the opportunity to do this.

However, ClearDebt’s Andrew Smith, who has been writing and speaking on personal debt and related issues for many years, believes financial education should be introduced at primary school level, but that it needs to be handled carefully:

It could be included into PHSCE and fully integrated into Maths and Literacy. It can’t take much curriculum time away from teaching basic skills, but should be integrated into the core curriculum in the most accessible way possible.

But what about those who have reached adulthood with little or no financial education?

Andrew says:

Financial education needs to be available for adults as well as school students. Many will continue to need help with basic skills as adults, and that needs to be made as practical and useful as possible in order to be relevant to users’ needs. It is likely only to be effective when users have need for it – so financial education for adults should be integrated into debt advice and also into the sales and “aftercare” relationships between individuals and financial services providers – who should also bear the cost.

The Verdict

The ClearDebt Baby Boomers are a financially savvy bunch, taking care to prepare for retirement and emergencies.

Nobody surveyed would advise someone to use credit to pay a bill and all in all seemed to be prudent with attitudes to spending.

Is that a generational thing, or the industry in which we all work? We’ll find out more tomorrow when we tackle the millennials!

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