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Most women learn about money in the home, and they tend to be responsible for household finances too. Learn more about this, and where you need to go to gain the money management skills you need.
If we asked you whether you studied mathematics or English at school, your answer would probably be ‘yes.’ But what about money management? Well, it seems that most of us didn’t receive any formal education in money management at school in the same way we did with other subjects. So, if this is the case, where do we actually learn the very important skill of money management?
To carry on with our ‘women and debt week’, we’re going to look at financial education, specifically where most womens' attitudes and knowledge around money management originate from. We’re then going to tell you how you can take control of your own finances by seeking the knowledge and skills you need.
What the research says
According to our research, few women have ever been given lessons in managing money outside of the home. In fact, less than a fifth of those over the age of 35, and just 15% of women over 45, said they had ever been given lessons outside of the home at all. This information is especially striking when you realise that, in most families, women are the ones who hold the purse strings, and take responsibility for managing the household finances.
Nowadays, it seems the situation has improved somewhat. There has been an increase in the number of women and girls being taught about money in school or college – personal finance was added to the national curriculum in England in 2013. However, the majority of 18-24 year olds still said they were taught about household budgeting at home, even when some lessons were provided in a formal setting.
Interestingly, some of the women surveyed – over 50% of those aged 35 and over – said they were not given any money management lessons from their parents at all. This could be the result of a tendency in older generations to avoid discussing money in front of their children.
Learning and acquiring money management habits in the home
From the research, it’s clear to see the vital role parents play in educating their children about how money works, and providing them with the tools to cope financially later on in life. (If you’re a parent and you’d like some advice on how to teach children to be responsible with money, our blog should help.)
It’s also important to say that, even if you don’t feel that your parents intentionally taught you about money, it’s still possible that the attitudes and habits you have formed come, in part, from those that surrounded you earlier in life. Whether you were sat down and taught about money, or you simply acquired your approach to money management from what you picked up around you – your early experiences can greatly influence your decisions later on in life.
The truly wonderful thing about learning, of course, is that it never really stops. We can continue to grow and learn in every area of our life, long after we’ve left formal education, and finance is no exception. It’s also possible to relearn how to manage money and let go of old habits that may not have served you well.
Sometimes just a little knowledge can make the difference between feeling overwhelmed, and feeling like you’re getting in control of your finances. Let’s have a look at the resources available if you want to learn the best strategies to manage borrowing and budgeting.
Turn to us for support
As more and more women are finding themselves in a position of power when it comes to the family finances, it becomes even more important that they get the help, support and access to information that they need in order to make the right choices.
You may simply feel you need to adjust your borrowing or spending habits a little to get back in the black and on secure financial footing. If that’s the case, make sure that you explore the rest of our Money Savings Section, as there’s so much to learn, from how to prioritise your bills to tips to manage you money if you earn a variable income.
If you want to learn about money because of problem debt, you can turn to our advisors for support. It’s very important that you get help as soon as you know that you’ll have a problem maintaining contractual payments with a lender. When it comes to debt, the sooner you address the problem the better, and how you address the problem depends on how severe it is. It may simply be a case of contacting the lender and asking whether payments can be suspended for a couple of months, or if they can freeze interest and charges. If you think that the problem is more severe, then it may require you to start a debt solution, and we can certainly help with that by taking your through your income and expenditure and recommending the best one for you. There are solutions designed to fit the circumstances of different types of people and it’s important to seek professional advice before you go ahead with anything.
Other places to learn about money
The age of the internet means that we now have the means to access loads of information at our fingertips. If you have a very specific question about money, don’t forget to look it up – you won’t be the first person who has ever asked!
There are organisations out there specifically designed to help people understand money and, in some cases, offer courses on the subject. Christians Against Poverty have an online money management course for adults which focusses on budgeting, saving and spending, and The Money Course does exactly what it says on the tin.
Sometimes, people can shy away from looking into their finances because they just don’t feel confident with numbers to be begin with. According to the BBC, the fear of working with numbers is more common than you think, and can originate from a scary school experience, or because you’re simply a bit rusty. There’s no need to avoid engaging with your finances because you don’t like maths – why not try and brush up on your skills from the comfort of your own home? Try Citizen Maths or The Open University, they both have great free maths courses for adults.
If you prefer learning with others, it’s best to contact your local college or library to see whether they’re running any group maths or money management courses you could join.
by Christine WalshBack to blog home