Youth I.D.E.A.S. 46

Education and Innovation

Improving Financial Education for Young People

26 September, 2019



Most decisions in life need money for support. As rapid economic development and high levels of inflation continue, the financial pressure on the younger generation is only set to increase. It is essential therefore that the younger generation is better equipped with the financial capabilities and skills necessary to cope with what the future might bring.


According to the Investor and Financial Education Council (IFEC), upon completing Secondary Education students should have the ability to: establish financial plans; develop life plans (and consider the financial needs involved); describe some common types of saving and investment choices and list out the potential risks and rewards involved. Ultimately they should be confident in finding and using the information required to make better-informed and responsible financial decisions for themselves as they enter adulthood[1].


Unfortunately in recent years, multiple findings have prompted concerns about the financial-management ability of young people. A survey targeting Secondary 3 to 5 students in 2018 revealed that 59% of the interviewees claimed to have overspent before, of which 32% had overspent for 3 months or longer[2]. In 2018 of those who applied for Bankruptcy, 15.76% were aged 30 or below[3].


It is commonly believed that financial education is an important way to strengthen the financial capability of young people. Yet, it is not part of the compulsory content within Hong Kong’s education system, and there is no formal platform for schools to implement financial education. Most schools typically make use of informal education methods such as assemblies, extra-curricular activities, or through selected learning content of specific subjects (e.g. Liberal Studies).


The ultimate goal of financial education is ‘wherein a person can fully meet current and on-going financial obligations, can feel secure in their financial future, and is able to make choices that allow enjoyment of life’. As such, people should be more capable of managing their money to deal with socio-economic issues, and ultimately improve their personal well-being[4]. Therefore implementing system-wide financial education for young people is crucial.


To understand the ways in which young people manage their funds (including preferences for dealing with personal debt), their values concerning money and thoughts on financial education, this study collected opinions from 1,034 students aged between 14 and 24 through an online survey, and interviewed 20 young people and 5 experts. Ultimately, feasible suggestions designed to help improving young peoples’ financial education have been provided in the final section of this summary.



  1. The interviewed students and experts all agreed as to the necessity of providing financial education to young people, believing financial capability is beneficial by itself and for tackling social problems.
  2. Most of the interviewed students were aware of the need to protect themselves from possible financial problems. .
  3. Some current financial habits of the interviewees.3.1 Budgeting personal expenditure is uncommon among Hong Kong’s young people: a considerable amount of the interviewees admitted overspending in the past.

    3.2 Some of the interviewees were indulgent in spending money, a few preferred to use credit cards so they could delay payment.

    3.3 Having a limited amount of money, most interviewees claimed they had little motivation to more actively manage their finances.

    3.4 The interviewees claimed a lack of financial-management knowledge, especially regarding the Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme (MPF).

  4. Financial education for young people should have the following foci.4.1 Encouraging young people to plan to pursue personal goals.

    4.2 Helping young people to build up correct values about money.

    4.3 Supplement young people’s knowledge about financial products and services, as well as the risks of investment.

  5. The best time to implement financial education is at Senior Secondary level, and the best method is experiential learning.
  6. Other than schools and the government, support and contributions from other stakeholders are also important in improving youth financial education.



  1. The Education Bureau should include financial education in Other Learning Experiences (OLE) as part of the New Senior Secondary (NSS) Curriculum.
  2. The IFEC should consider using ‘‘preparing financially for future personal goals’ as a branding focus of youth financial education; facilitating youth to start planning their financial management strategy as early as possible.
  3. The IFEC should prioritize the competencies suggested in ‘The Hong Kong Financial Competency Framework’, and provide more related teaching guidelines to facilitate educators’ work.
  4. Apart from the IFEC, NGOs and secondary schools, other stakeholders (parents, the business sector, and the higher education sector) can all contribute to youth financial education.






[1] Investor & Financial Education Council (2015): ‘Hong Kong Financial Competency Framework’.

[2] 香港商報。2018年4月13日。〈三成中學生透支生活費 理財意識高不代表懂得管理財務〉。

[3] Official Receiver’s Office (2018): ‘Annual Statistics on Profile of Bankrupts and Types of Petitioners (Jan 2018 – Dec 2018)’.

[4] Investor and Financial Education Council (2019): ‘Financial Literacy Strategy 2019’; Pages 2-3.