Generation Y says Y wait?

22 August 2006

Generation Y1 is living up to its reputation as the ‘give it to me now’ society when it comes to managing their finances, according to a survey released today by the Commonwealth Bank2. Most young Australians aged between 18 – 24 believe they can ‘have their cake and eat it’ with huge aspirations and no plans to save or budget to achieve their dreams.

The Bank’s ‘Y Money Matters’ survey revealed that 73 per cent of Generation Y have some form of debt with 57 per cent of those not concerned about the amount of debt they are in. Almost half (48 per cent) of 18 – 24 year olds said they live day to day and do not let the amount of debt they are in affect their daily purchases.

Although just under 60 per cent of Generation Y want to buy a car and nearly 50 per cent want to achieve the great Australian dream of owning their own property within the next five years, less than 40 per cent say they are actually saving up and budgeting for these big-ticket items or other luxuries on their wish-lists including overseas holidays, PCs and home entertainment systems.

According to the survey, Generation Y are not savvy enough at managing their money with 90 per cent feeling they should know more about financial matters. Seventy three per cent rely on parents or other family members for advice about their cash.

Michael Cameron, Group Executive, Retail Banking Services, said: ‘We know that Gen Y is the most tech-savvy group in society, but when it comes to managing their finances they are not so in control. It is great that young Australians are ambitious and aspirational, but they need a reality check when it comes to budgeting and saving for their plans. It is never too early for Gen Y to start planning and managing their finances."

To respond to the needs of Generation Y, the Commonwealth Bank has developed an initiative called ‘Know Your Money’ which aims to help young Australians learn more about how to make the most of their cash.

The ‘Know Your Money’ program provides information and top tips for young people at key milestones in their lives such as moving out of home, buying a car, studying, going travelling or starting their careers. Information is available at - an interactive online tool packed full of top tips and budgeting advice with an email helpdesk service. Booklets are also available in Commonwealth Bank branches across the country.

"Young people have huge demands placed on them in terms of juggling their busy lives and while a large proportion may not be concerned about the amount of debt they are living with right now, this has huge implications for their future. We need to take action and ensure they are equipped with all the information they need to cope with their finances and make the most of their cash," said Mr Cameron.

Further to the research the Bank hosted a youth forum in Sydney yesterday to discuss the reality of money management. The event was hosted by TV personality Chris Bath and Generation Y expert Peter Sheahan and was attended by 100 guests including 18 – 24 year olds and their parents, finance counsellors and student representatives.

The Commonwealth Bank has a long standing commitment to improving the financial literacy of its younger customers through its student banking program and the work of the Commonwealth Bank Foundation.


1For the purpose of this survey, Generation Y refers to people between the ages of 18-24.

2The ‘Y Money Matters’ survey was conducted by Galaxy Research on behalf of the Commonwealth Bank in July 2006 online among a representative sample of 800 respondents aged 18 - 24. The study was conducted nationally and respondents were aged 18 years and over.


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Notes to editors and media contact:

The following supporting materials are also available:

  • ‘Y Money Matters’ survey highlights
  • ‘Y Money Matters’ forum highlights


Products and services

The Commonwealth Bank has a range of special programs for customers aged under 25:

  • Youthsaver: our standard account for under 18s. A savings account which offers bonus interest for customers making at least one deposit and no withdrawals in a month
  • Youthsaver account holders automatically get membership of one of our three clubs: Dollarmites 0-9, Rule 10-13, Pi 14-17. Children receive 6 monthly newsletters with promotions and targeted information helping children understand more and better manage their money.
  • Student Banking program – allows students to open Youthsaver accounts and make deposits at school. 3,000 participating schools.
  • NetBank Saver Fast Start (launched 2006): version of NetBank Saver for customers under 25 enabling them to earn high interest on balances of $1,000 or more compared to NetBank Saver which requires $5,000 to earn interest
  • Student Options Package: Streamline account with no monthly account keeping fees with the option of a standard Commonwealth Awards MasterCard free of annual fees and/or a personal loan free of establishment fees. Targeted at tertiary students and marketed actively each year during O Week.
  • Know Your Money: Microsite ( and booklet

For more information, contact:

Bryan Fitzgerald
General Manager, Media and Issues Management
Phone: (02) 9378 2663
Mob: 0414 789 649