Need for financial literacy
Access the extracts of research below. Each extract provides a
perspective on the need for consumer and financial literacy
education. What does this research tell us?
The 2006 ABS Adult Literacy and Life
Skills survey (ALLS)
The survey indicates that more than half of Australians 15 to 74
years had numeracy skills below the minimum level required to meet
the complex demands of everyday life and work.
The results were ranked into skill levels with Level 1 the
lowest and Level 5 the highest. 53% of Australians have scores at
Level 1 or Level 2 for numeracy.
Furthermore 47% had document literacy skills below level 3.
Level 3 is considered the minimum required for every day life
Back to topState of Australia's Young People
The report indicates that young people have ready access to
- Just over half 18 - 24 year olds have some consumer debt,
mostly car loans or other personal loans and about half of those
have a credit card
- About one-fifth of young people with credit cards hardly ever
or never pay the full balance every month
- More than a quarter of 12 - 16 year olds surveyed in 2007 owed
money and 36% had been in debt mostly to parents, family members or
Back to topYoung Australians and the Australian
It has been estimated that tweens (children aged 6 to 13
years) account for $4 billion worth of direct and indirect consumer
decisions in Australia and that two thirds of major retailers
worldwide actively target kids.
Research conducted by Quantum Market Research in 2007
through YouthSCAN indicates that young people from 10 to 17 years
are active consumers. Findings include:
- Average weekly earnings for 10 to 14 year olds has almost
doubled from $43.40 in 1997 to $76.55
- Mobile phone ownership is on the increase with 76% of 10 to 17
year olds owning mobiles. Mobile phone ownership is almost
universal with 98% of young people 16 to 17 years owning
- Over half of 10 to 17 year olds are paying for their own phone
- The majority of young people do not own credit cards although
22% are in some form of debt. For 13% this debt is more than
- While the levels of debt are low there is a high level of
stress attached to owing money. 46% worry when owing money to
credit card companies, 36% feel stress when owing money to mobile
phone companies and 30% worry when owing money to friends
- 27% of young people have purchased goods on the internet. Of
these, more than half of them used a credit card, either their
own or their parents', to make the purchase.
In its submission to government the Australian Psychological
Society states that 'research confirms that children are targeted
and exploited by advertisers'.
The submission focuses on the prevalence of junk food
advertising and its impact on child health. It cites research
that indicates '5 -12 year olds are exposed to up to 96 food ads
including 63 for high fat/sugar foods, per week, if they watch one
hour of commercial TV a day'.
The submission notes that 'Advertisements like these would lead
to the view that junk food is fine to eat and the norm for most
Submission to Protecting Children from Junk Food Advertising
(Broadcasting Amendment) Bill 2008, Community Affairs Committee,
The Australian Psychological Society
Back to topWhat do Young People Think?
In 2007, the Financial Literacy Foundation surveyed 7,500
Australians aged 12 to 75.
The study found that 70-90% of young people wanted to learn more
at school across a range of financial issues. The percentages
of young people identifying topics of interest included:
- 91% rights and responsibilities
- 90% saving
- 88% recognising a scam
- 85% planning for the financial future
- 84% budgeting
- 83% getting information about money
- 83% managing debt
- 81% investing
- 73% dealing with credit cards
Last updated: 22 Mar 2012