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Media Release

Spending growth extends into fourth year

Spending growth extends into fourth year

  • CommBank’s Savings IQ Report ranks the savings intelligence of the nation on a scale of 1 – 200.
  • Gen Y are Australia’s smartest savers, boasting an average Savings IQ of 129.4, compared to the national average of 125.2.
  • Findings show early financial education is key to a higher Savings IQ in adult life.

Gen Ys have beaten their parents and grandparents to the title of Australia’s Smartest Savers, according to a report released today by CommBank.

Boasting a Savings IQ 4.2 points higher than the national average, the generation of Aussies regularly typecast as irresponsible, lazy and non-committal have claimed the top honour. Furthermore, Gen Ys (aged 18 – 30 years), who had exposure to a financial education program, such as school banking, have the highest Savings IQ (130.9) of all segments. By contrast, Baby Boomers (aged 50 – 59 years) who did not learn about money management at school scored the lowest average Savings IQ (117.4).

The CommBank Savings IQ Report quantifies Australians’ confidence and ability to save money. The ‘Savings IQ’ is a derived score calculated from responses to questions based on four key areas – commitment, discipline, control and savviness.

Danielle Murrie, CommBank School Banking spokesperson, says:

“Many may be surprised by the findings, believing a younger generation would have a less mature approach to personal savings. Our research indicates Gen Ys have above average commitment and control when it comes to their finances. While many factors contribute to savings success, the findings suggest the key difference between Gen Y and older generations is more recent exposure to good money management programs taught at school.

“This, combined with better savings discipline and fewer external barriers to saving, such as kids or a mortgage, have proven Gen Y to be the ultimate savvy savers,” she says.

Early education = Savings payday

Across all generations, the research shows a positive link between financial education and Savings IQ. Those who had participated in a school banking program (60 per cent of respondents) had a higher Savings IQ than those with no exposure.

71 per cent of those who had participated in school banking felt the program had a positive influence on their ability to save, with those aged under 30 more likely to be regular savers as a result, meaning they save a fixed portion of their income as soon as they are paid.

Over a third (34 per cent) of those who had participated in a school banking program recalled the routines they learned like depositing money on a weekly basis and remembering to save regularly, with 89 per cent believing this kind of program has a positive influence on developing a child’s financial future.

“It’s encouraging to see strong links between financial education programs and future financial success. I’m especially proud to see that our youngest adult generation, those that had the highest participation rates for early financial education, have the highest Savings IQ of all the generations,” says Ms Murrie.

A nation of savers

While Gen Ys have the highest Savings IQ, the report reveals that, on the whole, Australia is predominantly a nation of savers. In fact 86 per cent of Australians consider themselves to be so.

  • 27 per cent save a fixed proportion of their regular income (20 per cent on average) as soon as they get paid
  • 39 per cent put away whatever they can after living expenses have been paid
  • 20 per cent save whatever they can on an ad hoc basis
  • 66 per cent of Australians consider themselves to be disciplined when it comes to saving
  • Almost half (48 per cent) of the nation would be able to live off their current savings for six months or more and are satisfied with their savings efforts.

Smart saver characteristics

A higher Savings IQ is most closely linked to the characteristics of ‘commitment’ and ‘control’. Those with a high Savings IQ are most likely to actively discuss, set and review financial goals, giving them a better chance of savings success.

91 per cent of Australians with a high Savings IQ (150 or above) make a budget and stick to it and 99 per cent research prices before making purchases. At least 88 per cent practice good habits like making shopping lists to avoid spontaneous purchases and take the time to get competitive quotes before big purchases.

Stressed out by savers

While the majority of Australians (87 per cent) believe in the importance of setting and achieving savings goals, there is still room for improvement.

  • 14 per cent of Australians are not saving at all
  • One in eight Aussies have less than a fortnight’s worth of living expenses in their savings
  • 27 per cent feel stressed by their efforts to save
  • Key barriers to savings potential are lack of income (50%), household expenses (46%) and an uncompromising attitude to changing their lifestyle (26%)

Search for Australia's Smart Savers

To celebrate 80 years of School Banking, CommBank is on the search for Australia’s Smart School Savers. If your child, or a child you know, is a savvy saver they could win prizes to help boost their savings.

To find out more and to enter, head to

About the survey:

The research was conducted by ACA Research in September 2014 on behalf of Commonwealth Bank of Australia using a quantitative online methodology. A total of 1,206 Australians participated in the research.

National Savings IQ:

National Average





Savings IQ




State by State Savings IQ:


State Average







Savings IQ






Generational Savings IQ:


Age Average


Under 30

Gen Y


Gen X


Gen X


Baby Boomers

Savings IQ

(National average)





Savings IQ

(With exposure to school banking)





Savings IQ

(Without exposure to school banking)





About CommBank’s School Banking program:

For over 80 years CommBank has passionately believed all young Australians should learn about the importance of saving and smart money management. We think that when it comes to a child’s education, knowing how to manage money is as essential as English, maths, science or the arts. 

School Banking is a fun, engaging way for young Australians to learn lifelong money-management skills.

  • Kids bank at school and earn Dollarmites tokens which they can redeem for great rewards
  • Schools receive a commission on every deposit
  • Schools receive $5 for every Activated Account via the program

Key facts:

  • 270,676 – the total number of children currently participating in our School Banking program.
  • 3,683 – the number of schools currently participating in our School Banking Program.
  • 8,000 – the number of volunteer School Banking Co-ordinators currently active in the program.