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Opportunity to improve personal finance education in schools, research shows – R3

Just one in ten (10%) British adults say they have received useful advice about personal finance through their school or college, a new survey of over 2,000 British adults by insolvency and restructuring trade body R3 and ComRes has found.

A similar proportion, 11%, say the advice they received via public education was not useful. However, another 66% say they haven’t received any advice about their personal finances at school or college.

With the government having recently announced a consultation on making personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education compulsory in schools, R3 says there is an opportunity to improve financial education as part of this.

Mark Sands, Chair of R3’s Personal Insolvency Committee and a Partner at RSM, says:

“Becoming confident and knowledgeable about personal finances is vital, and helps boost people’s resilience in the face of unexpected events which can otherwise lead to financial problems. The government is willing to consider making PSHE education compulsory, which would mean more young people having access to high-quality information on personal finance and would really help improve levels of financial capability.

“While the sex and relationships aspects of PSHE education often get the headlines, the ‘E’ in ‘PSHE’ is just as important.

“Young people in the final years of school are in particular need of thorough, targeted advice on personal finance issues, as many of them are – or will soon be – old enough to apply for credit cards, car finance, and loans. Learning good financial habits including budgeting, saving and using credit products responsibly at an early age will help them to negotiate independent adult life in a savvy and resilient way.”

Public sector education has the lowest reach of personal finance advice, with just one third (34%) of those surveyed saying they have received advice in this way it. The proportion of people who had received advice from official government advice bodies was only slightly higher, at 36%. By comparison, over two-thirds (69%) of people said they have received this type of advice from friends and family, and over half (52%) from non-government advice bodies.

Mark Sands adds: “There is good government advice on personal finance available to adults, but it’s not always easy for people to access. The government's plan to launch a new single financial advice body later next year presents a great opportunity to promote and develop this existing good work, and to improve overall financial capability in the UK.”

Advice from friends and family was rated as the most helpful source of personal finance advice, with 37% of respondents rating it as useful. Non-government money advice bodies and banks were next most likely to be rated as useful, at 30% and 21% respectively.

Only 32% of people aged 18-24 say they have not received financial education through their school or university, against 49% of 25-34 year olds, 62% of 35-44 year olds, and 72% of 45-54 year olds who say the same.

Family and friends are the most common sources of financial advice

The most common source of personal finance advice for British adults is friends and family, with over two-thirds of people (69%) using friends and family as a source of advice on personal finance matters.

A surprising proportion of adults – between 45% and 64% – say that they have never received advice from a specialist provider of financial advice such as a bank (45%), professional financial advisor (60%), or governmental money advice body (64%).

Mark Sands comments: “While advice from friends and family undoubtedly performs a useful job, speaking to a regulated professional who has the knowledge and experience necessary to give up-to-date advice on personal finance is something that we would strongly recommend. If you had a health query, you’d talk to a specialist; the health of your finances shouldn’t be any less important.”

R3 recommends checking the credentials of anyone presenting themselves as a source of financial advice, and only using the services of regulated professionals.

Full data tables and statistics are available from R3 on request.

Base = 2,045 (all British adults)
NB: Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding issues.

  • ComRes interviewed 2,045 British adults online between the 1st and 2nd February 2017. Data were weighted to be representative of all British adults by age, gender, region and socio-economic grade. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available at

Notes to editors:

  • R3 is the trade body for Insolvency Professionals and represents the UK’s Insolvency Practitioners.

  • R3 comments on a wide variety of personal and corporate insolvency issues. Contact the press office, or see for further information.

  • R3 promotes best practice for professionals working with financially troubled individuals and businesses; all R3 members are regulated by recognised professional bodies
  • R3 stands for 'Rescue, Recovery, and Renewal' and is also known as the Association of Business Recovery Professionals.