Australian children outdo adults in the saving stakes

14 August 2001

Young Australians get off to a healthy start with their money.

Young Australians are saving an impressive 66 cents for every dollar received in pocket money, according to the Commonwealth Bank Group Pocket Money Survey released today. While children, aged 8 – 12, are saving over half their money, adults in contrast are saving less than one cent in every dollar*.

Over half of the children surveyed, 53 percent, said they think they will be rich when they grow up. Sixty-two percent said they wanted to buy ‘big things,’ like a house or a car.

Since 1931, the Commonwealth Bank Group has been helping Australian children to reach their goals by teaching them how to save through Student Banking. The Bank commissioned a pocket money survey to determine the savings and spending habits of children and to hear their opinions and attitudes about money.

The survey found the average amount of pocket money received by children aged eight – twelve years old is approximately $4.90 per week; 38 percent receive less than $5, 56 percent receive between $5-$10 and six percent receive $10 or more.

Parents are a key influence on children when it comes to money. Seventy-eight percent of children surveyed said their parents have taught them all they know about banking and saving. Other key influencers are teachers (nine percent) and other relatives (eight percent).

"Giving pocket money is a positive way to teach children how to manage money," said Hugh Harley General Manager Personal Customers, Commonwealth Bank Group. "From our research it is clear that banking already plays an important role in their lives. It is the start of a lifetime routine and provides a step toward financial responsibility and independence," he said.

Although children are learning to save at a young age, they still know how to enjoy money. Junk food remains at the top of the spending list with 39 percent of young Aussies popping up to the shop for lollies. Twenty-five percent are spending their pocket money on toys and 22 percent buy CDs or computer games and 20 percent spend on clothes.

"It’s great to see that our children are starting off in the right direction," said Hugh Harley. "The Commonwealth Bank Group assists through offering initiatives like school banking and creating bank accounts especially for them. The Bank also provides tips and educational information to help young people develop their money management skills," he said.

There are currently 1.3 million holders of Dollarmite accounts throughout Australia - all benefiting from an account free of account keeping and transaction fees and tailored by the Bank for children.

To encourage them to participate and assist their pupils in saving money, the Bank offers schools an incentive of $5 for every new account opened and a commission on each deposit made by their students at school.

The Commonwealth Bank continues to invest in School Banking and has recently invested over $1 million in an Internet based system making the deposit process a lot easier and significantly faster than before.

* Federal Government data quoted by Opposition Leader Kim Beazley on 7 June 2001 where households are saving about 70 cents in every $100 of household income.

Editor’s Note
A survey fact sheet with more detailed findings is available upon request.

About the Commonwealth Bank Group Pocket Money Survey
The Commonwealth Bank Group commissioned a major research company, Taylor Nelson Sofres, to conduct the Pocket Money Survey on the spending and saving habits of Australian children aged 8 –12 years. The report, dated June 2001, was based on a statistically valid national sample of 400.

About the Commonwealth Bank Group School Banking Program
Since 1931, the Commonwealth Bank Group has been involved in several school banking initiatives, designed especially to help young Australians understand the value of money and learn how to save and spend responsibly.

These initiatives include Dollarmite accounts, for children under 12, and Club Australia accounts for 12 to 15 year olds. There are no account keeping or transaction fees on these accounts. The Dollarmite account offers bonus interest on top of the standard rates paid when there is at least one deposit and no withdrawals in a calendar month. Dollarmite account owners can deposit money at school on school banking days or at any branch of the Commonwealth Bank Group.