DYW Borders worked in partnership with Prosperity Financial Advisors & Stockbrokers to develop and deliver a pioneering programme to teach financial literacy to secondary school pupils across the Borders.
The ground-breaking programme was the brainchild of the Borders’ youngest Independent Financial Advisor, Mary Hemingway, who left school at the age of 16 with what she calls average GCSEs and initially trained as a plumber. It wasn’t until she moved to the Borders and found work in a local bank that she began to learn about the world of finance.
However, Mary is the first to admit she learned about personal finance by accident and it wasn’t until she noticed a post on Facebook which mocked the lack of financial education in schools that she realised the basic budgeting skills being taught may not be enough.
Mary knew that through her experience she could do something about it. She said: “I was an exception, normally children with poor financial literacy grow into adults with poor financial literacy which leads to less understanding of financial products, poor money management and potential for financial difficulty".
Working with the DYW Borders team, the programme covers Income Tax, National Insurance, Pensions, General Living Expenses and Borrowing.
To date, it has been delivered to pupils at Jedburgh Grammar School, Peebles High School, Eyemouth High School and Selkirk High School.
Many continued: “So far the feedback from staff and pupils has been great. I have especially enjoyed seeing enthusiasm for pension saving at an early age. The majority of my job is pension planning, most of my clients wish they had started earlier and had some form of guidance from a young age!".
Selkirk High School’s S6 pupils could see the benefit of the programme. Roslin Scott said: “The lesson was very informative and eye opening about my future”. While there was surprise from Tom Scott who said: “It was a bit scary how much you have to pay out from what you earn!”
Watch Mary talk through future financial commitments with two Selkirk High School pupils.