Overheard in Young People’s Workshops

At The Money Charity we deliver financial capability workshops in schools and colleges across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. When I was thinking about what I could write a blog about, it occurred to me that the things we hear from young people can be insightful and entertaining! Some of these things might surprise you, and unfortunately some aren’t repeatable! Read on for some of the more common comments we hear from young people during our workshops. We hope you enjoy!

“I really appreciate everything my parents do for me now”.

This may sound a little cliché, or you may be surprised that young people would be so openly appreciative of their family in front of their peers, but it is one of the most common things we hear! No matter what type of school, the ability of the class, or how cool the young person thinks they are, we get this feedback almost every time. This often comes up following our activity that brings to life how the costs of things we need for our daily lives really adds up, and there can often be little money left over to spend on treats. It’s lovely to see young people gain this new perspective and have that light-bulb moment about spending decisions, realising that it isn’t easy, and that their parents have to make difficult decisions!

“I don’t need a mobile phone; I’ll use a payphone!”

Yes, this is something that real teenagers say to us in workshops (despite the fact they struggle to keep their hands off their phones during a lesson!). This frequently comes up when students are asked what they could live without if they needed to prioritise their spending. Often they seem to think that as presenters we don’t want them to spend any money on luxuries, or anything except rent, bills, council tax, and food – this isn’t our aim at all! We know that managing your money well is all about making the right choices for you, and it’s important to make your budget realistic, so you can actually stick to it! So keep hold of your phones, we aren’t going to take them away from you!

“Wait…I’ve only got this much left?!”

This is something most of us can relate to when we get to the end of the month! We often hear this when it dawns on students how much everything can add up to. It’s another real light bulb moment for students. This can be one of the challenges of teaching financial capability: keeping the subject positive and aspirational, whilst ensuring you are making students aware of the challenges of being on top of your money, and the potential consequences if you aren’t. We make this a positive realisation by making it clear that a lot of their spending is in their control – if they want something they don’t think they can afford, it’s quite likely they can find the money if they make sacrifices and cuts in other areas. It’s all about choices and priorities! This often picks them up and makes them excited for the future and becoming more independent! 

“Thanks for that, I learned loads!” – said the teacher

This is always lovely to hear and just goes to show that it’s never too late to learn about managing your money. It also shows that teachers need support in delivering financial education, and is one of the reasons financial education is still not being delivered in all schools despite being on the curriculum. They might not have very high financial capability themselves, and it can be a lot of pressure to deliver fun and positive financial lessons if you aren’t confident in the subject. Last year we did some research around this which can be found here. No matter your age or life experience there’s always something to learn!

Talking about money can still be seen as a taboo or something that shouldn’t be talked about. We see in our workshops that young people are really interested in learning about money and are dying to talk about it! If we open up the conversation a bit more at home with our kids, in financial capability week and beyond, we can hopefully ensure a generation leaves school feeling more able to stay on top of their money!