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Personal financial advice from the experts

A forum held by The Open University Business School’s (OUBS) dedicated research centre, The True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance (True Potential PUFin) to launch its latest free online course asked financial luminaries on the forum panel “What one piece of personal finance advice would you give?”

  • Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England and Executive Director, Monetary Analysis and Statistics, member of Monetary Policy Committee: “Consider new entrants (banks and other financial services providers), look beyond the high street names.”
  • Sir Brian Pomeroy, non-executive FCA Board Member from 2009 until 2016 and was Senior Partner of Deloitte Consulting until 1999: “Be curious, ask your adviser questions when looking for a financial services product.”
  • Hugh Stickland, Chief Economist at Citizens Advice: “Write a diary of your income and expenditure for a month to get a better understanding of your finances.”
  • Sue Lewis, Chair of Financial Services Consumer Panel: “Be a demanding customer. Ask your financial services provider questions until you get an answer you understand, and don’t put up with high prices and poor service.”
  • Sharon Collard, Professor of Personal Finance Capability and Chair of True Potential PUFin: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”
  • Martin Upton, Director of True Potential PUFin: “Consider your behavioural features and reflect on whether inertia is undermining good financial decision-making.”
  • Peter Bould, Head of Media and Government Relations at True Potential LLP: “Saving and investing is often for the long-term, so having a specific financial or life goal in mind helps to stay the course. Charges on financial products can be hard to understand but the free PUFin courses help you cut through the complexity and get into good habits.”

The True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance logoTrue Potential PUFin’s latest free online interactive course ‘Managing My Financial Journey’ is the third in True Potential PUFin’s trilogy of free online personal finance courses following on from its successful ‘Managing My Money’ and ‘Managing My Investments.’ In a survey of consumers who took True Potential PUFin’s ‘Managing my Money’ course, 94% said that they had improved their understanding of personal financial management with 57% saying that studying ‘Managing My Money’ had actually resulted in them becoming financially better off.

The Managing My Financial Journey free online course lasts for four weeks and consumers can sign up for it at any time until 22 May 2016 and can be found on FutureLearn. The course features audio-visual clips, interactive discussions and quizzes offered on a weekly basis. Participants do not need to have any prior financial education experience to join the course, and will need to commit roughly three hours per week to complete it.

  • Week 1 covers the financial services industry, its origins and development in the UK.
  • Week 2 looks at the post-crisis financial services industry: new players, new issues, new rules.
  • Week 3 examines what’s on offer in terms of products in the market place and the current issues.
  • Week 4 explains consumer rights and protection in terms of regulation and consumer protection.

Many adults have never had any personal finance education and it’s apparent that huge numbers of consumers are hindered by a lack of both knowledge and confidence when choosing and comparing the financial products that will suit their circumstances.

The new True Potential PUFin Managing My Financial Journey course is a further response to UK’s limited understanding of the financial market place. It explains how the industry and products are changing, it looks at the regulations and consumer protection in place and explains where consumers can get help and guidance.

David Harrison
Managing Partner of True Potential LLP

In today’s fast moving world, financial products are increasingly an essential part of life but they are sometimes wrapped up in complicated jargon that few people understand.  It’s really important that consumers get a better understanding of the personal finance products so that they can make informed decisions. Free guidance is not always adequate and the cost of professional advice nowadays means many are effectively excluded. That is why it is essential that consumers equip themselves with a better grasp of financial products and language, especially when saving and investing for the long-term.

Martin Upton
Director of True Potential PUFin at OUBS

For more information on True Potential PUFin, please visit the website.

Video highlights from the expert discussion forum are available to watch on YouTube.