Research finds most teens are confident with money but crave more financial knowledge.

High school students have bank accounts, use Eftpos and in some cases have credit cards - but some still save money by keeping their cents in a "safe place".

A survey into how money-savvy students are, and what schools teach about financial capability, found the majority of students felt confident about managing cash, but wanted to learn more.

Their teachers were not so sure about their abilities, however, with only one in five rating the students' money management skills as "high" - compared with four in five of the teenagers.

The research by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research, on behalf of the Commission for Financial Capability, found although teachers and leaders were almost unanimous on the importance of teaching financial skills, it was a strong focus for only a minority of schools.


"This is something the commission is helping to address," said education manager Angela Clemens.

Of the 2600 students who participated, 90 per cent had a bank account, half had used internet banking, and 60 per cent had Eftpos cards. Cash was still used the most.

The teens reported their most common source of income was doing jobs at home, followed by working part-time. Pocket money and cash gifts were also common. Some were clearly getting Trade Me-savvy, with 60 per cent saying they had sold possessions for money.

Saving was important, with half regularly saving money, and 40 per cent saving sometimes. While 70 per cent used a bank, it seems many still stash cash in hidey holes or piggy banks, with 60 per cent reporting they kept money in a "safe place".

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Students were keen to learn about money, but half said they had learned nothing about finances at school. Most teens learned money skills from their parents.

In contrast, teachers reported higher levels of teaching, and three-quarters thought school should be a major source of financial learning.

They said financial capability could be integrated across a range of curriculum areas, but in reality it was often done in an ad hoc manner.


The main barrier was the challenge of squeezing it into the limited space of a "full" curriculum.

The commission was working with some schools to help them better teach financial capability.

Education Minister Hekia Parata said schools were encouraged to develop students' financial capability, with a large range of resources and professional development available.

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith welcomed the research.

"It's particularly important to give young people the skills they need to take charge of their financial futures," he said.

"This research gives us valuable insights into students' attitudes and behaviour towards money."

The study looked at data from surveys of students, teachers and leaders across a range of schools.

By the numbers


of high school students have a bank account

50% have used internet banking

60% have Eftpos cards

30% frequently use credit cards

50% save regularly

70% save with the bank

60% keep money in a safe place

57% know how to make a budget

27% actually have a budget

60% have sold possessions for money