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This article is the latest part of the FT’s Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign
When Lucy Kellaway left the Financial Times and retrained as an economics teacher, she could not have predicted how the cryptocurrency craze would sweep through British classrooms.
“This is what young teenage boys talk about every single break time; boasting really, really loudly about their gains and passing on tips,” she says. “The thing that frightens me most is they believe that because so much money has been made over the past few years, that will continue.”
Teens often get around the age limits on cryptocurrency trading platforms by creating accounts in their parents’ names, she says.
However clued up they might think they are about crypto, she is concerned that there’s nothing on the school curriculum to teach them about the risks of unregulated investments, or even basic financial literacy.
“Kids leave school without knowing that tax is going to be taken off their payslip,” she says. “They don’t have a clue what average salaries are, but they’re being whipped up into a sort of social media-inspired greed, which is alarming because it’s just not based on anything that’s real.”
This article is part of the FT’s Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign to develop educational programmes to boost the financial literacy of those most in need.
Financial literacy education gives young people the foundations for future prosperity — and can help economically disadvantaged people out of deprivation. Join the FT Flic campaign to promote financial literacy in the UK and around the world
The FT’s Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign — Flic for short — hopes to change all that.
On this special Christmas edition of the Money Clinic podcast, presenter Claer Barrett hears why Lucy Kellaway and other top FT writers are supporting a greater focus on teaching finance in schools, as they recall their own formative experiences with money.
Taking listeners on a tour of the FT’s City of London office, Claer hears from Patrick Jenkins, the FT’s deputy editor and trustee of the charity, who explains how he learned from the financial mistakes he made as a teenager in the 1980s.
Podcast: Lucy Kellaway’s crypto classroom confessions
Claer Barrett discusses financial literacy with Lucy Kellaway, Patrick Jenkins and Peter Spiegel. Listen here
“A lot of young people are looking for easy ways to make money, because there is that huge gap between asset-rich older generations and younger generations that find it very hard to get started in the world,” he says.
However, a recent poll carried out by the FT and Ipsos found that nine out of 10 people said they learned little or nothing about finance in school.
In America, US managing editor Peter Spiegel explains how he learned about finance around the family dinner table watching his father trade stocks.
“My dad was a physician, but like most Americans, he had a little bit of an investment portfolio and was always sitting with a newspaper looking at the stock listings,” he recalls.
“The stock market particularly is much more part of American culture than it is in the UK. You know, most of my peers in the UK prefer to talk about property — I think it’s because that’s where most Brits invest the bulk of their money.”
To listen to the episode, follow the link above or search for “Money Clinic” wherever you get your podcasts.