Executive People Director Hayley Tatum presents our Mumdex report
No matter what else changes, our mums tell us one thing stays constant: their kids will always be their number one priority. This time last year mums told us they feared opportunities for the younger generation were stalling. One year on and those concerns haven’t eased – the biggest worry mums have is still overwhelmingly their children’s future job prospects. However in our most recent survey we have seen some effects of the recession that have been altogether more positive.
As a mum myself, I’m delighted to join Mumdex at such an interesting time. Our latest research shows the Mumdex optimism figure has risen from the bleak -18 seen in January to an encouraging -13 in April. This is just one point higher than this time last year, showing that quarterly changes have levelled over the course of the year. We can see big improvements from January to April in mums’ optimism around their household finances and quality of life, in comparison to the stagnation of pessimism around the economy. Although areas outside of their control are still worrying them, this inspires confidence that mums are managing to take control of their lives after experiencing some very difficult and enduring financial challenges.
We are all concerned about the challenges this generation of kids is facing, having to grow up at the time of a double dip recession. Encouragingly, it seems that it has also taught them some valuable life lessons. We have seen from our research that finances are now firmly on the family agenda. While we know our mums want to shield their kids from financial concerns, they are increasingly taking an honest and open approach, and are teaching them important lessons in finance and budgeting. The result of this is a generation of kids which is more financially aware and is becoming actively involved in household money matters.
This Mumdex report is particularly exciting for us, as for the first time we have also surveyed 500 eight to 18-year-olds as part of our Mumdex panel. Being able to hear directly from kids themselves has helped us to really understand what the recession has meant for the younger generation and how they feel about their future. The results have been eye-opening. Far from expecting things to be handed to them on a silver platter, kids today are cautious about their spending and are keen to earn their money. They understand that their parents may be finding it tough and they want to help. I think the fact that such a high proportion of kids are offering to give back their pocket money, or are asking for more modest presents than usual speaks volumes about their collective attitude.
While the external environment may prove to be challenging for kids, this has done nothing to dampen their enthusiasm. Children today are proactive and have entrepreneurial ambitions for their future. They are keen to get the best academic qualifications and a quarter told us they have ambitions to set up their own business. Interestingly, mums told us that while most kids have their sights set on university, they themselves place greater value on vocational skills and training, such as apprenticeships.
Opportunities may be stalling, but as we know mums are resilient and are still doing their best to give their kids the best possible start in life. Three quarters of mums believe that access to lessons on finance and budgeting is the most important thing for kids to lead happy and successful lives. They are taking their role in this seriously, but would like schools to be taking on a greater share of the responsibility. Children today are facing a future where their aspirations and entrepreneurial spirit are guided within an ever- present mindfulness of financial responsibility.
I’m always heartened by the resilience our mums show in difficult times, and it is encouraging that our latest research shows the younger generation have the same strength and spirit.
Hayley Tatum, Executive People Director