Kiwi teenagers are taking on 'easy loans' and falling into debt traps that can take 10 or 20 years to get out of, says the Commission for Financial Capability's National Manager of Schools, Kelly Gay.
He's hopeful Sorted In Schools – a new $10 million nationwide programme to educate kids about money, debt and savings – will become the 'fence at the top of the cliff'.
The programme, now in development and due to start trials in the CFFC's partner schools in Term 3, 2018, aims to reach students as they enter the high risk age group of 18-24, equipping them with financial capability so they avoid the traps of high credit, loans and other forms of financial quicksand, and know how to build their financial wealth through every life stage toward retirement.
So far 50 schools have volunteered to work with the CFFC in developing and piloting Sorted in Schools. In May the CFFC will announce the content provider which will produce 10 teaching and learning packages aimed at students in Years 11-13. The programme will be free and aligned to NCEA so students get credit for participating.
In a CFFC survey of school leavers, 80% said they would prefer to learn about financial literacy at school, taught by teachers as part of the curriculum. The two things they most wanted to know about were effective budgeting and borrowing.
Many parents surveyed were surprised to discover money management isn't taught in schools at all, Gay says.
Teachers surveyed said they would need an easy way to deliver the information that isn't boring.
'Many kids are looking for that sort of experience – 'Who am I? How do I fit within the world?'
"If you make this a personal experience for kids they're far more likely to remember it and apply it later on."
If your school would like to partner with the CFFC in designing and piloting the Sorted in Schools programme, please email our National Schools Manager Kelly Gay at firstname.lastname@example.org