What was the Big Money Test hoping to discover? BBC Lab UK editor Richard Cable explains the thinking behind the experiment.
Personal debt in the UK is at record levels
Everyone is talking about money and finances at the moment, from government spending cuts to the boom in demand for risky ‘pay day loans’.
Britain is only just starting to recover from the ‘credit crunch’, one of the most momentous financial crises of modern times, and making ends meet is becoming increasingly difficult in this tough economic climate.
Dealing with debt?
The amount of personal debt held by people in the UK is still at record levels. It has risen inexorably since the 1980s, when relaxation of the rules made lending and borrowing far easier than ever before.
Unfortunately, the rise in debt hasn’t been equally matched with success in educating people about how to manage their money better. It’s not that efforts haven’t been made – successive governments have introduced measures to improve our knowledge of money matters. Rather, the message doesn’t seem to be getting through.
So if simply telling people what APR means, or how to read a bank statement isn’t particularly effective, then something else must be going on. But what?
Managing your money better?
Psychologists believe that many more factors than just how much we know come into play when we make decisions about money. They are interested in looking at our emotions, attitudes, beliefs and motivations, as well as our money habits, access to information and all round financial know-how.
That’s why we created the Big Money Test, which we hoped would be the biggest ever study of how good we, as a nation, are with our money. By taking part in this test, you will have helped scientists better understand the multiple factors that make up our complex relationship with money.
We hope that this research – and the data you contributed to it – will ultimately lead to more effective ways of educating people about how to manage their money better.
The Big Money Test was designed by Professor Adrian Furnham of University College London and Professor Mark Fenton O’Creevy of the Open University.
The Big Money Test is presented by journalist and Watchdog contributor Martin Lewis, who also designed the Money Knowledge questions.