We all make mistakes when we’re young. Goodness, I cringe at some of mine. And as long as we learn from them, they usually don’t cause too much harm. But the challenge for parents, teachers and society generally is deciding where to draw the line between standing aside and intervening.
The current fashion for trading is a prime example. A recent survey found that the proportion of UK students trading cryptocurrencies has tripled in a year. And it’s not only crypto. You can now buy all manner of risky financial instruments with just a few taps of your screen.
As the parent of two young adults, I find this pretty scary. The thought of people my children’s age trading derivatives before they’ve even opened a savings account was one of the things that prompted me to co-author the financial self-help book for 20- and 30-somethings, ‘Invest your way to financial freedom.’
It’s encouraging to see that the FCA shares my concerns. Several times in recent months it has warned young people about the danger of high-risk investments, and crypto in particular. It has also announced plans to use online influencers to warn people away from making poor decisions.
I’m still anxious. Why? Because there’s a whole industry out there that wants young people to dabble in trading and, ultimately, get hooked on it. I’m talking about some of the biggest names in financial services,…