Happy Birthday to the 50,000 or so Brits turning 18 this month. You are the first of an estimated 800,000 young people who will, in the next year, gain access to the tax-free savings of a Child Trust Fund (CTF). Opportunity awaits – in the words of the government’s Money Advice Service website, “it’s your money, and it’s up to you what you do with it.”
Indeed, HMRC is so keen to ensure that teenagers get hold of their savings that they have launched a tool which allows them to check for an account, even if their parents don’t tell them about it. The tool opposes the many critics who claim 18-year-olds shouldn’t get access to the pots of money squirrelled away by their parents until they are deemed responsible enough to do the right thing with it.
But what is the right thing? Spending it, sticking it in the bank, saving it in stocks and shares? Regardless of the decision, teenagers will benefit from gaining access to their savings: financial freedom promotes responsibility, not recklessness.