One-third still paying for past mistakes – sparking calls for schools to teach personal finance

One-third of people are still paying for financial mistakes made in the past, with almost the same number saying they find the topic of financial management confusing.

Research from Aviva Life Insurance also found that more than half of Irish people (54pc) have had no financial management education.

The research sought to find out more about attitudes to financial planning and education and how that aligned with people’s own levels of financial protection.

Ann O’Keeffe, who leads Aviva’s Retail Life Insurance business, said: “Making smart decisions when it comes to personal finances can have a major impact on your life both in the short term and in the longer term.

“In Aviva, we believe there’s a strong argument to be made for personal finance to be taught in secondary schools to equip young people with the knowledge and tools they need to make the best financial decisions in their later lives.”

The research found that Irish women are more likely to be the sole financial decision- maker in the household than men (35pc compared with 29pc of men).

It also said that men are twice as likely as women to be motivated by the need to ensure the financial security of loved ones in the event of serious illness or worse (27pc against 14pc).

However, avoidance of debt is a higher priority for women than it is for men at 69pc against 56pc.

“Interestingly, our research shows that although there seems to be a lack of financial education across the board, women tend to be more cautious than men when it comes to making financial decisions and are much less likely than men to be saddled with debt from past financial mistakes,” Ms O’Keeffe added.

“The major finding to emerge from the research is the demand for a good course on personal finance management to be delivered through the school curriculum so as to equip our young people, both male and female, to make good financial decisions later in life.

“There is also work to be done by life insurers to ensure that women are as well prepared financially as men to protect their loved ones when the unexpected happens.”

The study of 1,051 adults was carried out by Empathy Research on behalf of Aviva Life Insurance.

Gareth Morgan   The Irish Times 20.03.2018