Millennials have been failed when it comes to financial education

young woman with question mark on a gray background
young woman with question mark on a gray background

Financial education has quite rightly been put on the national curriculum, which means young people will be a more money savvy generation: but what about the millennials?

As part of the millennial generation, I can say that no-one has ever sat down formally with me to teach me about money. My parents and grandparents instilled in me the need to get a job and save, but I didn't have any formal money education that explained the virtues of pensions, including the benefits of tax relief and compounding.

Those born between 1980 and 2000 have been largely forgotten when it comes financial education (and some Gen Xers are in the same position). The generation older than us who received more generous workplace pensions understood the benefit of what they were receiving and now younger people will be taught about budgeting and saving in schools; the millennials have fallen in the gap between the two.

We've been left to our own devices and it's not a pretty outcome for most who fail to save enough, don't invest, and were lured by the siren song of cheap credit when they were younger (not to mention the student loans).
So how to engage millennials? At an event this week, representatives from the pension industry discussed with mostly millennial-aged journalists an app that would let you compare your pension savings with peers anonymously. It would allow you to find out if you're doing well, or doing badly, when compared to those of similar background and means. It's pension saving for the Facebook generation and it seems like a smart idea.

Millennials live online, constantly comparing their lives with their peers, so why not turn that into something positive? Rather than comparing holiday shots, compare savings totals and even investment returns. I think it would be a great motivator to see how much money my peers have squirrelled away in their pension - and even what they're invested in.

You could even go one stage further and create an app that lets you compare with your friend without the anonymity, a bit like a fantasy football team but with your money and with funds and shares rather than football players.

Let's face it; pensions are boring and we need to find another way to make them interesting. For an online generation, through a computer screen is the way to fill that education gap.

Millennials and Debit Cards
Millennials and Debit Cards