Preparing her children for the harsh financial realities of life is a cause close to Secret Millionaire star Gill Fielding’s heart.
So much so, she’s now on a one-woman mission to persuade the Government to place basic monetary skills at the core of our national curriculum and prevent a generation slipping into life-long debt because of a lack of education.
Welcome to the Money Mum campaign, consisting of a “financial five a day” of effective steps, which the Worthing-based entrepreneur believes would make a massive difference to our younger generation’s grasp on making the most of their personal finances.
“I know I could solve the pensions crisis with my five a day,” says Gill, who has gained recognition on a global level for her highly-practical and inspirational public speaking.
To her credit, she’s never tried to blind anyone with science – her methods are direct and grounded in a unshakable belief that it’s important we don’t tell our children the acquisition of money is a bad thing. She highlights the absence of a unified policy on teaching children prudent financial management as being at the root of how our nation has found itself as one of the most debt-laden nations in Europe.
“I am undertaking this campaign as it’s important for financial education to be on the national curriculum. The country has a massive problem as people really are not providing for their own future.
“I’m going to No 10 Downing Street as part of a business forum.
“If I can get 100,000 signatures for the campaign then I’ll be given a one-to-one audience with David Cameron on this. I’m upbeat we will be able to do this,” adds Gill who believes that while some schools are engaging with the issue, a coherent plan is desperately needed.
Speaking as a successful accountant who has previously worked for Price Waterhouse, she stresses that unless this is tackled within the next few years, the country’s economy will continue to stagnate under the financial pressures of supporting an ageing population.
She adds: “This has got to start from the bottom up, with our children taught how to save and even make money. In my view, the Government is failing young people and, as a consequence, the adults they will become, by leaving them clueless about personal finance.
“We have people in debt who can’t cope, people going bankrupt, people having to rely on handouts or just plain not enjoying life because they can’t afford luxuries, or even the basics – and these challenges need not happen if we taught financial fundamentals early on.”
One of her biggest gripes is the alarming rise of pay-day loan companies which have sprouted up across the Herald and Gazette area, as with the vast majority of places around the country.
The promise of easy access pay loans has led to considerable concern from consumer groups regarding the hugely-disproportionate interest rates of thousands of pounds that many firms are charging.
“I’d get rid of the lot of these pay day loan companies. Allowing them to advertise on TV is like encouraging our kids that it’s cool to borrow money at interest rates of 4,000 per cent – children are growing up thinking that is okay.
“They just trap people in a spiral of debt,” reveals the entrepreneur, who expressed her frustration at the Government’s inaction on this key issue.
There have previously been several attempts by backbench MPs to gain legislation against permitting loan companies, but efforts have been rejected in the heavily-disputed belief that a ban on such companies would drive people into taking black-market finance from street loan sharks.
With issues of personal debt never being far from our national news headlines, a campaign spotlight being placed on this critical subject has already been welcomed by observers on a national level.
The prospect of “an audience with Dave” is a tantalising one for Gill, who is hopeful her ideas will come to fruition and are adopted in classrooms across the nation within the next five years.
- For more on Gill’s financial five a day visit