Commonwealth Bank media release


  • CommBank reveals the financial acumen of Australian primary school kids in new ‘Common Cents’ report, assessing their ability against five core financial competencies.
  • Report reveals the nation’s children are knowledgeable around earning money, but could improve their budgeting knowledge.
  • Pocket money could help kids to learn important money management skills.
  • CommBank is launching its 2016 School Banking program – helping young Australians learn life-long skills in money management.

Australian primary school-aged kids show strong knowledge of 'earning' money, while lagging behind on 'budgeting', according to the CommBank Common Cents Report. CommBank today released findings revealing the 'Common Cents' of young Australians' financial literacy knowledge, coinciding with the commencement of the 2016 school year.

To develop the report, CommBank determined five core competencies that make up a strong financial acumen: spending, saving, earning, budgeting and investing. The national ‘Common Cents score average showed primary school-aged Australians (5-12 years) sit at 63 points out of a possible top score of 100. Interestingly, Australian kids pip their parents by one point; parents’ average Common Cents’ score sits at 62 out of 100.

Overall, girls were found to have stronger financial literacy skills than boys (65 points vs 61). Children in Western Australia are the nation’s leaders in how to earn money but weakest in how to save, while those in South Australia are the best budgeters. New South Wales tends to lag behind its fellow states when it comes to each of the core financial competencies.

The report reveals two thirds (69 per cent) of primary school children in Australia receive pocket money, and 82 per cent of these are expected to complete tasks to earn their pocket money. This suggests parents are teaching kids the value of money and how to earn it; reflected in the ‘earning’ national score where Aussie kids’ earning skills far outweighed the national overall financial literacy score, by 20 points. Additionally, parents’ budgeting was found to be their strongest skillset – something that may not be passing down to their kids. Additionally, the national average pocket money for primary school kids has increased from $5.57 in 2014 to $5.70 in 2015.

Matt Comyn, Group Executive, Retail Banking Services, Commonwealth Bank, said: “Commonwealth Bank has a long history of helping young Australians learn key financial skills, with our School Banking program entering its 86th year in 2016. This national education initiative provides children with the relevant knowledge and skills to be smart with their money and set themselves up for lifelong financial success.”

The findings also revealed children seem to struggle with the concept of delayed gratification, a key driver of success in the topic of investing. Over half of those surveyed said they would take $5 now, over larger sums if they have to wait. Only the 11-12 year olds are more likely to wait for more money.

Other key statistics include:

  • Aussie kids think it’s more important to save for things they want (49 per cent) over things they need (43 per cent).
  • Two thirds of Aussie kids (68 per cent) like saving more than they like spending.
  • Three quarters of kids (77 per cent) understand they can get more money from doing extra jobs around the house.
  • Half of Aussie kids know what a budget is (50 per cent), whereas one in five (22 per cent) think a ‘budget’ is simply a sheet of paper with numbers on it.
  • Children from households with less than $50,000 annual income score similar results (66 vs. 67) to those from families earning over $150,000 – and higher than kids from mid-income households.

Veronica Howarth, Head of School Banking and Youth, Commonwealth Bank, said: “We understand the topic of money can be broad and often overwhelming for parents, as they navigate their child’s financial education in addition to everything else. It’s often hard to know what they should be teaching their child, when and where they should focus their attention.

“We developed the ‘Common Cents’ score to unearth where Aussie kids are the savviest when it comes to money, and in which areas we can help parents understand and children to develop specific skills,” said Ms Howarth.

To help parents determine their own child’s ‘Common Cents’, CommBank has developed an interactive financial quiz for kids, based on the national research survey, to help parents uncover the areas in which their children can improve and structure their financial education.

To download the ‘Common Cents’ quiz visit the Beanstalk at To find out more about School Banking, please visit

Commonwealth Bank is committed to improving the financial literacy of young Australians and has been supporting the development of the education sector for more than a century. In 2015 we announced a $50 million investment in our financial literacy programs and a partnership with Social Ventures Australia to offer free, simple and accessible research on different teaching methods.


Notes to editors:

The scoring system determined a national ‘Common Cents’ score, as well as individual scores across the five core areas, measuring across five financial competencies including earning, saving, budgeting, investing and spending.

About the study:

  • Independent research carried out on behalf of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, by ACA Research.
  • A total of 1,130 surveys completed among parents and their children aged 5-12 years.
  • A quantitative online research methodology was used, with a 10-minute questionnaire for parents, and 5 minutes for children.
  • National sample throughout Australia.
  • The fieldwork was conducted between the 14th and 18th December 2015.
  • Common Cents scores were calculated on a range from 0 to 100.
  • The lowest individual child score was 6.6, and the highest was 100.The lowest individual parent score was 8.3 and the highest was 100.

Media contact:

Liz Lovett
Commonwealth Bank Media
02 9118 6919