ME Bank survey shows the importance of learning about money as a child

author-avatar By on February 21,2019
ME Bank survey shows the importance of learning about money as a child

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

A study by ME Bank has found a strong link between financial wellness as an adult and money experiences as a child.

‘Financial wellness’ has various definitions, but it generally refers to someone being financially comfortable, which 56% of people surveyed described themselves as.

Overall, 59% of the people surveyed described themselves as ‘effective savers’, which is another sign of financial wellness.

The study of over 1,000 people by ME Bank found that these percentages increased significantly among people who had key experiences with money in their childhoods.

Being an ‘effective saver’ was highest (74%) among those that grew up receiving money advice while being involved in money discussions.

Meanwhile, the highest proportion of people who said they were financially comfortable (71%) reported being taught “more than they needed about how to manage money growing up”.

ME money expert Matthew Read said “if you want to help your kids be good savers and increase their chances of being financially comfortable, exposing them to good money experiences during childhood is important”.

“These experiences seem to instil an attitude to money that becomes almost innate later on.”

The table below shows the biggest influences on financial wellness as both children and adults.

Biggest influencers on financial wellness Reported as an effective saver Reported as financially comfortable
Received advice about money or were involved in money discussions when they were growing up (Childhood money experience) 74% 64%
Were involved in the family business or managing the family budget’ when they were growing up (Childhood money experience) 72% 65%
Were taught more than they needed about how to manage money growing up (Childhood money experience) 69% 71%
I’ve seen a financial professional who gave me valuable money skills and knowledge (Adulthood money experience) 69% 71%
Had parents who were good role models for managing money when they were growing up (Childhood money experience) 67% 64%
Read literature providing valuable money skills and knowledge (Adulthood money experience) 66% 62%

Source: ME Bank 

What negatively effects financial wellness?

Unsurprisingly, not being taught how to manage money growing up caused people to be less effective savers and less financially comfortable, with 48% and 43% saying this was the case respectively.

Not discussing money as a family led to 52% of respondents saying they’re effective savers and financially comfortable.

Meanwhile, receiving pocket money was actually found to have little to no influence on people’s saving effectiveness or financial comfort later in life, which may come as a surprise to parents giving their kids $1 for emptying the dishwasher.

No influence on financial wellness Reported as an effective saver Reported as financially comfortable
Relied on the little day-today financial experiences in life to be a teacher of money management 60% 56%
Received pocket money 56% 54%
They were not taught enough about how to manage money growing up 48% 43%
Whose family did not discuss money 51% 51%

Source: ME Bank 

40% of respondents said they wish they were taught more as children.

When it comes to their most important money lessons, 38% of respondents said they learnt them when they started working, followed by:

  • When they purchased their home (17%)
  • Before they left home (16%)
  • In their first committed relationship (10%)

6% of respondents had never learned any valuable lessons about money.


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author-avatar
William Jolly joined Savings.com.au as a Financial Journalist in 2018, after spending two years at financial research firm Canstar. In William's articles, you're likely to find complex financial topics and products broken down into everyday language. He is deeply passionate about improving the financial literacy of Australians and providing them with resources on how to save money in their everyday lives.

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