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First-ever financial education textbook lands in schools – funded by Martin

All 3,400 state-funded secondary schools in England will get 100 free copies of a financial education textbook thanks to a £325,000 donation from founder Martin Lewis.

Your Money Matters, the first-ever curriculum-mapped financial education textbook, is primarily aimed at students aged 14 to 16 but can be used across multiple year groups, and will teach them about topics such as savings, budgeting, borrowing, student loans and identity theft. It was written by the financial education charity Young Money with guidance from Martin.

Download a free PDF of the English textbook from the Young Money site (may be slow in times of high demand). For those who want a hardcopy, the English version is available via the charity on Amazon.

Martin: 'The best place to teach is in the classroom'

For more on the textbook and Martin's role in making it happen, watch the video below:

Martin said: "I passionately believe that financial education could have a huge impact on the future wellbeing of millions of young people.

"When we got financial education on the national curriculum in 2014, we celebrated thinking the job was done. We were wrong. Schools have struggled with resources and there's been little teacher training. Something else was needed to make it easy for schools and teachers.

"I still wrestle with whether it's right that a private individual should fund this. Yet nothing else was forthcoming, and pragmatics outweigh principles.

"We live in one of the world's most competitive consumer economies, with companies spending billions on advertising, marketing and teaching their staff to sell, yet we don't get any buyer's training. That needs to change. We need to break the cycle of debt. The best place to teach is in the classroom – I hope this textbook will help make that easier.

"Yet us launching the textbook isn't enough. We need schools to teach it. The growth of academies mean less than half now follow the national curriculum. So parents, if you want your children to be tooled up to face the financial realities of life, why not have a polite word with teachers or the headmaster to encourage them to give it the time it needs."

What is in the textbook?

Financial education is currently primarily split across the maths and citizenship curriculums, as well as being included in personal, social and health education (PSHE) lessons.

The textbook contains facts and information as well as interactive activities and questions for students to apply their knowledge. The chapters are focused on the following areas:

  • Savings – ways to save, interest, money and mental health.
  • Making the most of your money – budgeting, keeping track of your budget, ways to pay, value for money, spending.
  • Borrowing – debt, APR, borrowing products, unmanageable debt.
  • After school, the world of work student finance, apprenticeships, earnings, tax, pensions, benefits.
  • Risk and reward – investments, gambling, insurance.
  • Security and fraud – identify theft, online fraud, money mules.

Some sample questions – test your own knowledge

Here are some examples of questions included in the book – the answers can be found at the bottom of this story (no cheating...):

  1. Explain the advantage of compound interest compared to simple interest.
  2. Which is better for a saver – an account which calculates interest daily, monthly or yearly?
  3. Do you know what your personal savings allowance is?
  4. Explain the difference between APR and AER.
  5. What does the term PAYE stand for?
  6. Explain the difference between a standing order and a direct debit.

What about Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish schools?

This version of the book is only sent to schools in England because the book is mapped to the English curriculum. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, schools follow different curricula.

But over 45,000 copies of new versions of the book will be sent free to 700 schools in the rest of the UK over the next year, along with an accompanying teacher's guide (which will be available digitally). The cost is being split between The Money & Pensions Service and Martin Lewis. There's full info in our First-ever financial education textbook to hit schools in Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland, funded by Martin news story.

Can I buy the book?

The book is available as a free PDF download.

It's also available in hard copy format on Amazon at a price that covers Young Money's costs.

What does Young Money say?

Young Money chief executive Michael Mercieca said: "We're delighted to have worked with Martin Lewis on this pioneering project to produce these important educational materials, which will help many students and teachers across the country.

"Financial education is a topic that still doesn't always get the recognition in the education system that it deserves, despite its fundamental importance for everyday life.

"It's vital to the personal wellbeing of individuals and to the country that we improve the education of young people in this area to give them the best possible chance of success in the future."

So how did you do? Answers to the earlier questions

  1. Compound interest means you get interest on interest. So if you earn interest in year one, in year two you get the interest both on what you saved and on the interest in the first year. Simple interest does not do this, meaning that at the same rate, over time the compound interest method will generate a higher amount in interest.

  2. Daily calculation is better for a saver (this is actually the method most financial institutions use).

  3. The personal savings allowance means a basic-rate taxpayer (20% tax on income) can earn £1,000 interest on savings per tax year without paying tax on it.

    Higher-rate taxpayers (who move into the 40% tax bracket) can earn £500 interest on their savings before being taxed.

    Additional-rate taxpayers (whose income extends into the 45% tax bracket) get no allowance.

  4. The interest rate you receive when you save money in an account is known as the Annual Equivalent Rate (AER). The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is what you are charged for borrowing products. Both take into account any fees and charges.

  5. Pay As You Earn. This is the way most employees pay tax – it is deducted by the employer – so the amount of money received comes after tax is taken off.

  6. With a standing order, you are in control – you instruct your bank to pay the money to a particular person or company. It is your responsibility to change the payment details (eg, the date or amount) if they need to be changed.

    A direct debit is an instruction to your bank to release money from your account to pay bills and other amounts automatically – the billing company has control.

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