Our research so far shows that education is critical to making better financial decisions. In the final part of our series, we look at the ever changing role money plays in modern society, how this impacts the shape of financial education and its lasting effects on the future.
Money, finance and the economy all look dramatically different now to what they looked like at the beginning of this year, let alone a decade ago.
When it comes to the evolution of money in recent times, online shopping and cryptocurrencies may spring to mind, but it’s not just these structural factors that have directly impacted the way we behave and the financial decisions we make. Even before the pandemic, shifts in society have meant people are constantly struggling with multiple ongoing challenges which directly impact our relationship with money. From recessions to rising house prices, low interest rates, unemployment and Brexit – It’s no wonder our financial future is far from predictable.
Having a solid foundation of financial education is invaluable to managing the ongoing uncertainties we are faced with on a daily basis. Our knowledge and understanding of money is something that has to be developed over time, as it continues to adapt to the new opportunities as well as the challenges that have developed in parallel.
The new opportunities
In recent times, countless new innovations and technologies have emerged to help navigate the changing world, ultimately producing a dynamic and increasingly noisier market.
Money is now more accessible than ever, so much so that we barely need a card to make a payment, as mobile apps and smart watches have somewhat seamlessly integrated into everyday life. HSBC recently announced that you can even cash a cheque from the comfort of your own home, via their online portal. Information on money management has become more accessible too, with price comparison sites, bill payment apps and pension savings, to name a few areas, where processes have greatly simplified.
The rise of challenger banks have enabled us to open bank accounts in minutes without having to provide a printout of a bank statement, or dig out a photocopy of your passport (a selfie will do) – this simply would have been unthinkable just a decade ago.
Nowadays, you can do anything from investing in startups to applying for a mortgage, all in just a few simple taps. Technology has opened up a new age of money management, meaning that it’s never been easier to budget, save, and prepare for the future.
The new challenges
There is a dark side to these new opportunities.
With multiple cards, accounts and income sources – it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep track of our money and ensure that cash savings are being optimised. The plethora of choices has also made it more challenging to make positive, well informed decisions with certainty.
The ease in accessing money has also meant that some are more prone to spending. Other products further encourage this behaviour, such as buy now pay later options and access to earned salaries. These schemes may seem great on the surface but you really need to know the ins and outs of what you’re getting yourself into, otherwise you could find yourself in more debt than you started out.
With a greater proportion of our money remaining digital, we are increasingly vulnerable to fraudulent activity. Increased regulation has been implemented to protect us to a certain extent but it’s equally important that we have the right knowledge to be able to help us navigate through changing legislation and the modern world of money.
As we close this series, it’s clear how financial education can empower us to make better decisions and ultimately reach our financial dreams and goals.
With the ever changing landscape of the economy and society, financial education is something that we have to nurture, like all aspects of our wellbeing. The foundations start at school and carry right the way through the different stages of life. Accessing financial education that is unbiased is also critical to building confidence and helping people make better financial choices.
The pandemic has proved to business owners that people are their best assets and employers have an increasing duty of care for the workforce, as employees seek guidance they can trust. At work, financial education as a wellbeing solution is unique since it is inclusive – regardless of personal circumstances – it will benefit everyone as well as being a mutual benefit for business.
Nobody knows what the future holds, and as technologies and societal changes bring about opportunities and challenges in equal measure, the best thing we can do is prepare ourselves as well as we can.