Children are leading the way in personal finance

Child with abacus For those that think young people are money-wasting gadget fiends who are more interested in splashing the cash than savings, new research says you're wrong.

I'll admit that my generation of 20 and 30-somethings were untroubled by burdening ourselves with student debt and indulged in the odd credit card until the recession hit us like a truck and we all learnt the true cost of life on credit.

But it seems it's not just taught us a lesson, it's taught younger generations the value of saving. A survey of 2,000 children and adults in Britain shows that a massive 98% of 10 year olds have already started savings, while just 15% of adults said they had started saving before the age of 15.

Some of the children surveyed are saving for something special and 14% are saving for when they are older. And even more staggering – 70% of children understand what a pension is and are already thinking about how they would like to spend their retirement.

The lessons of the recession have trickled down to us all, and it's incredible that so many children have picked up on the importance of pensions – there are plenty of adults who need to take heed of it.

It gives me hope that the next generation won't be as apathetic and wasteful as so many adults of all ages have been.

This understanding of long-term saving chimes well with the government initiatives like auto-enrolment. I know these children are only 10 but time flies and it won't be long before they're looking at the jobs market. If they carry their enthusiasm through to adulthood then workplace pension saving will once again be something this country can be proud of, rather than the disproportionate two-tier, underfunded mess we have now.

We may all feel that the government's austerity measures are tough on us but they have taught us all a lesson, and the austerity measures we are putting in place in our own homes have instilled a valuable nugget of information in our children; spend less and save more.

And when those children get round to reading Charles Dickens, they'll more than understand why Mr Micawber was right:

'Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen ]shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annuity expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.'
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