Leon Ward

Fortnightly financial #38 Leon Ward

Nigel Yeates, Communications and Stakeholder Business Partner, speaks to Leon Ward, CEO at MyBnk about delivering expert-led financial education to young people.

Please can you tell us about you, your organisation and its role in financial education? 

I am privileged to be the CEO of MyBnk, the UK’s largest financial education charity. We develop and deliver programmes that give children and young people the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to financially thrive, we work with young people between the ages of 5 and 25 across all 4 UK nations.

What essential skills do you think are needed in the constantly evolving financial world we live in? 

Our programmes encourage all of our learners to:

  • Get the basics right – writing your budget, regularly checking your income & expenditure and trying to save little and often.
  • Be cautious & curious – knowing there are questions you should ask when navigating financial services and products.
  • Seek help – knowing where to get more help and support if you don’t know what to do.

What are some of the key programmes MyBnk are delivering to support this?

Our entire programme suite is designed to build healthy financial habits and to demystify personal finance decision making. 

We partner with schools to deliver relevant information that is designed for the students’ stage of life and are developmentally appropriate. 

For our young adult work, we partner with youth organisations to primarily deliver our young adult programmes such as Money Works and The Money House. These programmes are accredited, and learners receive a Level 1 in Personal Finance Management. 

Across all of our programmes we cover topics such as:

  • How to budget
  • Income and income deductions
  • Household costs
  • Savings and saving products
  • Saving for retirement
  • Taxation and public spending
  • Smart spending
  • Accounts and banking
  • Types of borrowing
  • Credit scores
  • Insurance
  • Student loans
  • Investing, risks and financial crime

We are particularly proud of The Money House, winner of The London Homeless Award 2022, on this course learners join us for an intensive multi-day programme to support them as they transition into independent living. 

What are the most interesting trends you see from the young people on your programmes?

There is almost universal demand for what we do. Every time I watch young adults on MyBnk programmes they all wish they had it when they were younger.

In schools, children are so hungry for this knowledge; it’s amazing to see them engage so enthusiastically with money. 

MyBnk is worried about the amount of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) that young people seem to be using. Some of them have never logged into their providers account to find out how much they actually owe. This is especially tricky as many retailers now offer BNPL as the first payment option, so it’s no wonder young people choose this.

We need to prepare young people for a financially digitally world whilst ensuring they understand and appreciate the basics of money management. 

And finally, on a more personal note, a question we ask most of our guests: if £10,000 landed in your lap tomorrow, what would you do with it? 

Donate it to the MyBnk bursary scheme, supporting young people to access small grants when they find themselves experiencing hardship.

Thanks very much Leon, some fantastic initiatives in there.

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The content of any discussions shouldn't be taken as an indication of future FSCS policy positions. The views expressed by guests are their own and don't reflect the views of FSCS.

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Fortnightly financial five minutes will now be taking a break, we will be back with #39 in the summer.