National Literacy Trust supports financial capability of young people across the UK

The National Literacy Trust has partnered with global information services company, Experian, to launch Words that Count, a national campaign that will boost the financial literacy and understanding of 6 million young people aged 16 to 24 in the UK.


A survey(i) of children and young people’s financial capability(ii) by the Money and Pensions Service showed that

  • Only half (51%) of 16 to 17-year-olds in the UK feel confident about managing their own money.

  • Just over third (38%) of those aged 7 to 17 recall learning about managing money at school.


As part of its delivery, Words that Count will focus on a new financial matter of relevance to Generation Z every fortnight over six months, to support a growing number of young people with little or no experience in financial matters. The course is designed to build confidence and create a generation of more financially literate young people. Through website resources and endorsement from influencers in the financial literacy space, young people will get to know discussion points such as second-hand retail platforms, ‘buy now pay later’ schemes and crypto currency. The campaign will also share advice on topics including first jobs, paying bills, managing money and council tax.For each subject, they will be invited to test their knowledge in an interactive quiz. These resources are all available for free on wordsthatcount.org.uk


The National Literacy Trust’s previous research(iii) revealed the relationship between a person’s literacy and financial capability. Children and young people who have good reading skills are four times as likely to have good financial skills than their peers who have poor reading skills (36% vs 9%). Furthermore, children and young people who have poor reading skills are four times as likely to also have poor financial skills (56% vs 12%).


Jonathan Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust, comments:

“Our research highlighted the clear and urgent relationship between someone’s reading and financial abilities. ‘Words that Count’ aims to give people the confidence and competence to understand words in everyday situations that will allow them to make sound financial decisions knowing and using what support is out there, regardless of their situation. The advancement of technology has been brilliant on so many levels but there’s a limited number of people who are now equipped with the financial skills to become successful. We cannot afford to let this pandemic ruin young people’s futures any more than it has already. I would urge all young people to sign up for these free courses.”


James Jones, Head of Consumer Affairs, Experian UK&I, said:

“We’re delighted to join forces with National Literacy Trust to help young people build the skills and confidence in words that can help them improve their financial health. We know that 16-to-24-year-olds have been one of the most heavily impacted age groups since the start of the pandemic, so it’s vital they get the support they need to help them succeed and avoid long-term problems associated with financial difficulty, such as problem debt and poor mental health.


“The ‘Words that Count’ campaign, part of Experian’s United for Financial Health programme, strives to enable young people to be more comfortable and confident in making good financial decisions.”


To view the videos in the Words that Count series and resources, please visit: Wordsthatcount.org.uk.