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Invisible cash is making it harder for children to learn about money

Sophie Elsworth, August 20, 2018 8:54AM Kids News

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Australian notes and coins. media_cameraAustralian notes and coins.


Reading level: green

Not seeing actual coins and notes is making it tough for children to understand money, a new report has revealed.

A majority of parents (66 per cent) admit electronic transactions* are a barrier* for children to grasp* the true value of money, according to the Financial Planning Association of Australia’s latest report.

With an increase in “tap and go” payments, internet banking and online shopping, children aren’t being exposed to real money.

Six stacks of gold coins shows growing funds media_cameraBecause adults use ‘tap and go’, internet banking and shop online, children have less contact with notes and coins.

The report quizzed 1000 Australian parents with children aged 4 to 18.

It also showed many parents (68 per cent) don’t like speaking to their children about money, because they are stressed by their own finances*.

FPAA’s chief executive officer Dante De Gori said pocket money helps children understand the importance of cash but there isn’t a right or wrong amount.

“Can children translate* money into what they have to do to earn it and what the value is in spending power,’’ he said.

“Without pocket money they are not being exposed* to the relationship with money.”
The report found nearly 30 per cent of children receive no pocket money at all.

Teacher Simon Purdie’s students at Richmond Public School in Victoria created a pretend supermarket in the classroom, which has helped them learn how to spend and save.

“It’s more important now for schools to help kids become money literate*,’’ he said.

Kids and cash media_cameraRichmond Primary School students Jordy and Mai are learning about cash using coins and notes for a pretend supermarket. Picture: Alex Coppel

Reserve Bank of Australia* figures show the number of ATM withdrawals* of cash has dropped from 53 million withdrawals in June 2016 to 48.9 million in June 2018.

Tribeca Financial’s Ryan Watson said giving kids pocket money “makes it a lot easier for parents to discuss and teach their kids about money.”

“I don’t believe that the amount of pocket money given is overly* important, it could be as small as $2 to $5 dollars,’’ he said.

“The truly important thing is teach kids about the ‘value’ of money.”

These are tips for parents to help kids learn about money. Ask your parents to watch!


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transactions: buying and selling things

barrier: obstacle that stops something happening

grasp: understand

finances: management of money

translate: interpret, change so something can be understood

exposed: uncovered

literate: can understand and be understood

Reserve Bank of Australia: Australia’s central bank, puts money into circulation and sets interest rates for borrowing

withdrawals: taking things out (as in money from the bank)

overly: especially, more



1. How are we buying things instead of using notes and coins?

2. How many parents were surveyed? How old were their children?

3. Why don’t parents like talking about money with their children?

4. What helps children understand money?

5. Is the amount of pocket money important for learning?


1. How can I buy it?

In a catalogue, find 3 items that you would like to own. Choose one item that is under $20, one that is between $20 and $50, and one item that is over $50.

Use play money, cut-outs or stamps to show one combination of notes and/or coins you could use to pay for each item.

Then, work out how long you would need to save to buy each item if you received the following amounts of pocket money:

$2 a week
$5 a week
$10 a week

Extra resources: Catalogues with toys or other items that appeal to children; Australian currency play money, cut-outs or stamps; calculators (optional)

2. Extension: Choose one of your catalogue items. Use the play money, cut-outs or stamps to show a different combination of notes and/or coins you could use to pay for it. See how many different combinations you can make to equal this amount.

Time: Allow 30 minutes

Curriculum links: English, Mathematics


After reading the article, with a partner, highlight all the openers you can find in blue. Discuss if they are powerful and varied openers or not. Why do you think the journalists has used a mix of simple and power openers? Would you change any, and why?

HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you get pocket money? Is it for doing jobs? If so, which jobs? Do you still get the money if you don’t do your jobs? No one-word answers. Use full sentences.

Extra Reading in money