There’s a fairly significant gender difference when it comes to financial literacy, according to the HILDA study, which surveyed 17,000 Australians on five key questions about money.
Just 35% of women answered all five questions correctly, compared with 50% of men. Less than a quarter of people aged 15 to 24 could answer all five. You can see the questions below, or take the test online and read more about the results here.
Bianca Hartge-Hazelman spoke with high school girls on the day the results were released. .
“We stopped learning about financial literacy in year 10.”
That was just one of the comments made to me this week as I hosted a workshop at a co-ed high school for a group of year 11 girls about money and the economic progress of Australian women.
Other comments made included the girls telling me that their brother gets more pocket money than them because he mows the lawn and, ‘I only help around the house’.
Another comment was along the lines that, ‘Dad tends to think that because he works he doesn’t have to do housework, even though my mum also works the same amount’.
These comments are nothing we haven’t heard before. We know that there is financial inequality and a lack of financial literacy among women in Australia, and that this starts at a young age.
What’s troubling to me is that as I spent an hour with these girls, I’d really hoped to hear better from them on the way they see the world.
But when we have an Australian school system where maths, which is where we tend to learn about money, is not compulsory in years 11 or 12, then a lack of financial savvy and educational progress among girls is not that surprising.
It’s probably much the same for boys too. But the problem is that the financial challenges and realities both genders face can be very different. So this means the conversations need to be relevant to both.
This all comes as the latest HILDA survey, which is the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) report, revealed many interesting findings particularly around the lack of financial literacy among women.
Perhaps most disturbing was a survey, which asked 17,000 respondents five questions relating to financial literacy. It found only 35 per cent of women answered all five questions correctly, compared with 50 per cent of men.
Only 24 per cent of all respondents aged 15 – 24 answered all five questions correctly compared with 55 per cent for those aged 55 – 64.
What’s clear to me is that the Australian schools system needs to do more to support and better educate young people about money, particularly young girls.
We also need to explain to girls why financial literacy matters, how it affects their lives and careers, what happens when a woman takes career breaks to have kids, what happens to their pay and superannuation, as well as how to build and protect their own wealth through smart decision-making.
But most important of all is to educate girls on finding their voice and why achieving financial independence is equally as important for boys as it is for them.
The questions put to those surveyed were (answers at the bottom of article)
1. Suppose you put $100 into a no-fee savings account with a guaranteed interest rate of 2% per year. You don’t make any further payments into this account and you don’t withdraw any money. How much would be in the account at the end of the first year, once the interest payment is made?
2. Imagine now that the interest rate on your savings account was 1% per year and inflation was 2% per year. After one year, would you be able to buy more than today, exactly the same as today, or less than today with the money in this account?
3. Do you think that the following statement is true or false? “Buying shares in a single company usually provides a safer return than buying shares in a number of different companies.” (True or false?)
4. Again, please tell me whether you think the following statement is true or false: “An investment with a high return is likely to be high risk.” (True or false?)
5. Suppose that by the year 2020 your income has doubled, but the prices of all of the things you buy have also doubled. In 2020, will you be able to buy more than today, exactly the same as today, or less than today with your income?
1. $102 2. Less 3. False 4. True 5. Exactly the same