Equipping teenagers with lifelong financial skills

29 Oct 2019

Equipping teenagers with lifelong financial skills featured image
Phil McGilvray visiting the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (Ottawa). From left to right Phil McGilvray, Julie Hauser and Becky Kong.

Financial coach and Educator Phil McGilvray and 2018 Park Family Churchill Fellow, recently returned from USA, Canada and UK, where he examined innovative methods of equipping teenagers with essential financials skills for life.

“My Churchill Fellowship gave me a very good understanding of a range of high-profile financial literacy programs around the world, as our traditional school based financial education programs do not work,” said Mr McGilvray. “Financial education needs be hands-on and competency-based, similarly to the way a trade apprenticeship works.”

Mr McGilvray gained insights into how other countries teach financial literacy to teenagers and ways to effectively equip our teenagers with the knowledge and practical money skills they need to avoid the financial pitfalls of adulthood and excel with money.

Key learnings from Mr McGilvray’s investigations are as follows:

  1. Financial education should be based on an apprenticeship model (1-part knowledge to 4 parts practical application).
  2. The best place for children to develop their money skills is at home with their parents – Parents need to be equipped with the knowledge, tools, resources and support to engage with and teach their kids’ practical money skills.
  3. Teens are very interested in learning about money, but policy makers and educators have a tendency to crush that interest by trying to squeeze ‘money skills’ into a traditional academic subject.
  4. We need to teach them in a way that is, fun, high energy, practical and relevant to their current life situation.

he Global Financial Literacy Excellence Centre Washington DC. From left to right: Hallie Davie - Research Associate, Anna Maria Lusardi – Academic Director and Phil McGilvray

“My Churchill Fellowship is a topical subject given Australia’s current high debt situation, combined with the “have it now” approach to spending,” added Mr McGilvray. “I now have greater clarity on how we need to approach financial education to ensure our teenagers develop the practical knowledge and money skills they need for life.”

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