The survey says that four years after the introduction of financial education in English secondary schools, leavers today have better money skills than Millennials aged 19-39 who often think they know more than they actually do, the study found.
Some 42 per cent of 16-year olds surveyed achieved an A grade in a mock GCSE financial literacy exam but Millennials (19-39) fared the worst in the exam.
Baby Boomers, the post-war generation now aged 50 to 65, performed the best, benefitting from ‘school of life’ experience, according to the survey by credit report provider Noddle.co.uk, who tested over 1,000 people in England on their personal finance skills with a mock GSCE financial literacy exam.
The experiment compared recent secondary school leavers with older generations. Part of the aim was to assess the impact of the 2014 introduction by the government of adding compulsory financial education to the National Curriculum in England.
The 16-year olds of the ‘Class of 2018’ have received four years of financial education and the results from the study suggest that the government’s decision is having a “positive effect” on young people’s money skills, says the company.
Overall, 16-year olds achieved more A grades in the mock GCSE financial literacy exam than Millennials (42% vs 36%). They also achieved better average scores (5.8 marks out of 10 vs 5.3 marks out of 10) and were less likely to get the very lowest grades, E or below (17% vs 25%).
The mock paper used in the research looked to gauge people’s understanding of key financial principles, as well as test their grasp of basic maths in the context of typical money scenarios. Questions included calculating the best interest rates, analysing the impact of inflation and understanding the difference between good and bad debt.
Over half (56%) of Millennials say they find it hard to make decisions about their personal finances, the highest among all age groups.
Baby Boomers performed well in the mock GCSE financial literacy exam. On average, they scored a B grade (or 6.7 marks out of 10). They also had the highest number of people who achieved an A or above (59%).
Baby Boomers were the least likely to agree that they find it hard making financial decisions (14%). However, only 16 per cent believe that their education prepared them to make the right money choices in adulthood.
Jacqueline Dewey, managing director, Noddle.co.uk said: “It’s really encouraging to see that 16-year olds performed well in the mock GCSE exam four years after the government introduced the mandatory requirement for financial education.”