Financial knowledge is probably one of the most important things to have in life. You can’t escape money, so knowing how to use it properly is a vital skill. Everything from budgeting and saving to getting a mortgage and investing requires some financial education but not everyone is financially savvy. This may lead to money related problems, such as debt. I was recently asked by the awesome guys at Noddle to take a mock GCSE Financial Literacy paper to see if I was financially smarter than a 16-year-old.
My Financial Education
When I went to school, many years ago, we were never taught anything about our future finances. Certain areas still confuse the heck out of me, such as investing, stocks and shares; I even ended up in debt due to poor choices.
Luckily for children in education nowadays, they are taught financial skills in secondary schools, after the government introduced it as compulsory education in 2014. However, limited research has looked at whether this education has been effective.
Therefore Noddle.co.uk launched its ‘Class of 2018’ campaign to see if 16-year olds have better money skills than older generations. The good news is that many do – with 42 per cent of 16-year olds achieving an A grade in the mock GCSE test.
Am I Smarter Than A 16-Year-Old?
I’m self-taught when it comes to finances. I learned how to budget, save money and increase my income through online research, as well as seeking the advice of my peers in the money blogging world. So, I’m delighted that Noddle invited me to take part in this campaign, literally putting my financial knowledge to the test.
Now, I don’t test well so I was a little nervous about doing this without knowing what knowledge I was going to need or even knowing what is actually taught in schools – Eban isn’t at that age yet so I’ve not experienced it.
The test itself consisted of 10 multiple choice questions covering topics such as income tax, interest rates, debt and savings. I had 20 minutes to complete it and I was able to use a calculator, but they also wanted to see my workings.
I personally didn’t find it too difficult. There were a couple of questions that were slightly challenging, purely because they were subjective. However, that’s the true nature of personal finance and the reason why Noddle included them in the exam.
Ultimately, I did well in the exam! I achieved 8/10, which is equivalent to an A grade. I was really proud of my score – especially because I didn’t receive any formal financial education while I was at school.
Being Financially Aware
I honestly believe that if I’d have been taught about finances at school, then I probably wouldn’t have encountered as many of the issues as I did in my late teens/early 20’s. I’d would have known to set aside a percentage of my wage every month into savings, rather than just spending it like no tomorrow. Now, my parents could have taught me what I needed to know but they just didn’t and I personally don’t think they knew how much it would affect me growing up.
Even though Eban will receive this education once he reaches secondary school, we’re already planting those seeds to make sure he doesn’t make any of the same mistakes as I did.
Improve Your Awareness
The first step in taking control of your finances is to look at your credit report, which will give you an overview of your financial health. Your report includes your credit history and information about how well you manage the money you borrow. Lenders use this information when assessing your applications for a mortgage, personal loan, mobile phone contract, credit card and much more. You can access your credit score and report for free at .co.uk, and that’s free for life!
Once you have a better understanding of your finances, you can then look at any improvements you might need to make – such as reducing and paying off existing debts or creating a budgeting plan. If you need any financial tips and tricks don’t forget to check out Noddle’s Help Hub or contact one of the many organisations that offer free money advice, like the Money Advice Service.
So, do you think you could pass the GCSE Personal Finance exam? Give this one from Noddle’s blog a go and let me know how you did.