More Support for Compulsory Financial Literacy Core Topic in Schools


If there’s one goal the Australian financial services industry and accounting profession should unite around and pursue above all others – it would be to have financial literacy included as a compulsory course in the school curriculum, says Paul Tynan, CEO, Connect Financial Service Brokers.

Tynan says leaving school and becoming an independent adult are major milestones:

“However, it soon becomes a brutal reality for young adults that they have been done an immense disservice by the school system in not receiving a financial education throughout their learning years.” (See: Call for Financial Literacy to be Stand-alone Course in Schools).

Paul Tynan…the benefits of financial education can make an immense difference…

Tynan says that financial literacy should run throughout the secondary school curriculum and be integrated into a framework that allows students to gradually build and expand their knowledge.

“Just as learning a new language or skill takes time, building financial skills requires time and years to gradually build knowledge, familiarity, and confidence to manage one’s own finances when leaving school and entering adulthood,” says Tynan.

…government and the education system are dragging their collective feet

He notes that although the benefits of financial education can make an immense difference by empowering and equipping Australians – especially young people – government and the education system are dragging their collective feet.

Hence, he says, the need for the financial services and accounting sectors to join forces and voice the need to make financial education a critical, on-going inclusion in the education curriculum.

“In this current election environment, we hear every day from our politicians words like, unemployment, interest rates and economic management – but our education system neglects to teach future generations these basic financial skills for life.”

Tynan says there are countless resources for school leavers wanting to get themselves ‘up to speed’ with financial jargon and latest concepts and offerings to manage their personal finances and commitments.

But he adds that financial literacy is a core life skill to successfully participate in an increasingly complex modern society.

…why should young Australians be forced to play catch up?…

“So why should young Australians be forced to play catch up with respect to the increasingly complex world of finance and money after leaving school?”

Tynan says that on leaving school or care of parents, young Australians need to take charge of their own financial future, to live independently, and to know how to make wise, informed, financial choices for everyday living. He says they also need to know how to manage a variety of risks, save for retirement or an unexpected health or financial dilemma and avoid taking on unmanageable debt.

In addition, he says financial products and services vary widely and are becoming more complex, with choices more difficult and the adverse long-term ramifications more profound if wrong choices are made.

Adding to this complexity, Tynan says, are rapid advances in technology and communication that have enhanced greater global connectedness and massive changes in financial options/transactions, as well as social interactions, consumer expectations and behaviour.