What can you say/ not say?

Now that we have defined the differences between information, advice and guidance the real focus is: What CAN I say?

Always consider how you are framing the overall delivery and what you want young people to walk away thinking about. This topic will also explore how to answer some tricky questions that often lead to people inadvertently providing advice!

Go for it…Be careful…No way!
There are advantages to saving money in a bank.Some YP decide to save their money with X because it will help them to…I would use X bank if I were you.
It is worth exploring your options with different providers.YP in your position typically look at X, Y & Z because…I would invest your money if I were you…
Let’s look at the difference between current and savings accounts and loans and credit cards.Why would some people who are considering taking a pay day loan find that it won’t help their situation?Pay day loans should be avoided at all costs, a credit card would be a safer option.

So, what about when young people ask you questions? Often, young people will see you as an expert in finance and this means they want you to wave a magic wand – tell them how to get rich quick and how to best invest their money to give them the millionaire lifestyle they aspire to. It’s especially important to be aware of how best to guide or inform a young person as an answer to a request for advice and remind the young person that you cannot advise!

Steps to answering some tricky questions:

  1. Remind the young person that you are not able to provide advice, but you can provide factual information and guidance for how they can go about next steps.
  2. State a list of options that are available or question the YP to ensure they understand what they are asking
  3. Explain an equal weighting of pros and cons to the options or point out somethings that YP should watch out for
  4. Signpost the young person to where they can get more information

See the below example exchange about opening a bank account:

YP: Who do you bank with? They must be the best as you know what you’re talking about.
Trainer: It’s important to remember that I chose my bank because of my individual circumstance, which might not be the same as yours. What would be important to you in a bank account?
YP: But, you want to make as much money as possible from interest so you must have a high interest account.
Trainer: Is interest the only thing that’s important in a bank account? I may have needed an overdraft facility, or I wanted to choose my bank because of the perks and rewards that I got. You should think about everything that a bank has to offer you and make a decision off of what you need. Some high interest accounts charge a monthly fee, so you may end up earning some interest and then paying it back in fees!
YP: I want a bank account that is free but lets me earn extra money. So what bank should I choose?
Trainer: Good question, I can’t tell you which bank you should choose. But you can compare bank accounts on sites such as USwitch or Money Supermarket. That way you get to see all of the accounts features next to one another and you can decide based on lots of info being in one place.

As you can see from this exchange, it’s easy for a YP to go from wanting to know one thing (which bank are you with) to thinking about what suits them. It’s essential when delivering impartial financial education, that you are not promoting one bank, product provider or financial product over another. The key point to harp back to is individual needs/ desires from their financial products and providers.

Use open questions to get YP to think about their circumstance and encourage them to do some further research by signposting them. Link back to the key learning points from your session or guide young people towards further resources and impartial research tools.

Key messages to embed into conversations should be:

  • The choices available
  • The significance of the small decisions we make every day
  • Having awareness of your behaviour
  • You have the power to create your own destiny
  • Taking active control of your money is a good thing
  • It’s not about how much money you have, it’s about what you do with it.

With any conversation, the focus should be on the individual being able to make an informed decision. In order to do this, young people in particular need to feel empowered and have the ability to compare options, understanding their right to choose and do the best for their own circumstance.