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First-ever financial education textbook now available across the UK

The first-ever curriculum-mapped financial education textbook – funded by a personal donation by MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis – is now available in secondary schools across the UK.

Download a free copy of the right textbook...

As the textbooks are curriculum-mapped, which one is right for you depends on which UK nation you are in. For the sake of transparency and openness, we have detailed the funding of each textbook...

  • England. This was the original Your Money Matters - England and was funded solely by Martin in 2018, with a donation of £325,000 to the Young Money Charity, which included sending 340,000 free copies to all English state secondary schools, one per two children. Since then, an additional 6,000 copies have been sent to schools and colleges in England – bringing the total to 346,000. 

  • The other UK nations. After the success of the English textbook, the Money & Pensions Service agreed to split the cost (£162,000 each) of adapting and republishing the textbook for the rest of the UK nations:

    Your Money Matters - Northern Ireland (15,450 copies were sent to schools)
    Your Money Matters - Scotland (27,000 sent to 350 schools)
    Your Money Matters - Wales (16,500 copies to 200 schools in Wales)

As well as the textbooks, schools are given an accompanying online teacher's guide and a PowerPoint version for use in lessons, which were all made available for free to support home learning. Digital copies of the textbooks can also be downloaded for free (via the links above). 

Related: Martin: what happened to my pledge to give £10m to charity

Martin: 'We need to educate people of all ages'

MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis said: "The pandemic has shown the lack of personal financial resilience and preparedness of the UK as a whole. Not all of that can be fixed by improving financial education, but a chunk of it can. Of course, we need to educate people of all ages, yet young people are professionals at learning, so if you want to break the cycle of debt and bad decisions, they’re the best place to start.

"I was one of those at the forefront of the campaign to get financial education on the curriculum in England in 2014, and we celebrated then 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.

"So even though I questioned whether it’s right that a private individual should fund a textbook, no one else would do it, so I put pragmatics over politics and did it in 2018. I’m delighted that now we’ve proved the success of that book in England, the Money and Pensions Service has agreed to team up to provide this much-needed resource for Wales – adding a rightful sense of officialdom to the whole project.”

The textbook gives students essential knowledge about money

In all UK editions of Your Money Matters, students are taught the importance of saving money, how to manage a budget, understanding payslips, student finance, protection against fraud and identity theft and much more. The textbook contains a wealth of facts and information, as well as interactive activities and questions for students to apply their knowledge. The chapters are as follows:

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

Sample questions from the book

Below are some sample questions from the book to test your knowledge (answers at the bottom of the story – no cheating...):

1.  Do you know what your personal savings allowance is?
2.  What does the term PAYE stand for?
3.  Explain the difference between a standing order and a direct debit.
4.  How might changes in the UK base rate of interest affect borrowers?
5.  What is phishing?

'Developing knowledge in relation to money and personal finance enables young people to make more informed financial decisions'

Sharon Davies, chief executive of Young Enterprise, said: “Developing knowledge, skills and attitudes in relation to money and personal finance from an early age enables young people to make more informed financial decisions, making the most of the opportunities they are presented with and avoiding some of the pitfalls that they will undoubtedly have to navigate." 

Answers to the sample questions

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Standing order: You are in control. You instruct your bank to pay the money to a particular person or company, and it is your responsibility to change the payment details (eg, the date or amount) if they need to be changed.

Direct debit: An instruction to your bank to release money from your account to pay bills and other amounts automatically. The billing company has control.

4. The official UK interest rate (often called the base rate) is reviewed and set eight times a year by the Bank of England. Many lenders, especially with mortgages, tend to move their rates in line with this rate – so when it rises, so do they. Some rates are directly linked to it, but at other times the lender can choose whether and how much it tends to match it depending on its own competitive advantage. Yet some rates, such as fixed-rate mortgages or high-interest credit cards, may not move at all.

5. Phishing is a criminal activity which attempts to mislead people into providing personal information and often bank account details. This is often done online through the sending of fake emails or pop-up messages.

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