The Young Money Blog

News and views from the world of #financialeducation

Are you really going to teach 5 year olds about loan sharks?

Posted by Catherine Wohlers About this blogger

In a guest post for the pfeg blog, Catherine Wohlers, the LIASE Manager from England Illegal Money Lending Team discusses the impact loan sharking can have on the entire family...

When we at the Illegal Money Lending Team launched our educational resources in 2014 we got asked this question a lot. We launched two packs of resources – one aimed at primary schools, and one at secondary schools. Both looked at illegal lending in the context of wider financial education; with lessons around borrowing, debt, value, money and credit.

One of the biggest things that appealed about the packs were that they were paid for by proceeds of crime money seized from convicted loan sharks – so in effect it was loan sharks paying to educate future generations not to use loan sharks. We wanted to make sure our message was front and centre but you can’t teach primary school children about loan sharks……can you?

The primary pack features a cartoon of a penguin whose fishing rod breaks so he borrows from a shark. The shark appears friendly but quickly turns nasty and the penguin has to work all the hours of the day to try and catch enough fish to keep him satisfied. Luckily a Trading Standards polar bear comes along and arrests the shark, and the penguins form a credit union so they can save and borrow safely in future. Illegal lending portrayed in an age appropriate way that will hopefully stick in the minds of the children and send them home to talk about loan sharks with Mum and Dad.

We recently received a letter from a seven year old which shows that children absolutely know what is happening at home. 

    Sir can you help me please
    My Mum got loan off loanshark
    His name is ________
    He calls in _____ car  _____
    We live in ____________
    He shouts at Mum and she crying
    And we all hid when he calls 
    Please help I was scared sorry 
    My name is ___________

    *Any details that may have identified the child have been blanked out

This shows the importance of showing children there are solutions to all kinds of financial problems and empowering them to take action, now and in the future.

With this is mind we have also teamed up with Experian to support their resource pfeg Quality Marked Values, Money and Me and are really pleased that this now includes a story book around illegal money lending, alongside the excellent resources already available at 

Posted by Catherine Wohlers (About this blogger)

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