A survey of almost 4,000 6-13 year olds by Roy Morgan Research found that there are strong – and maybe surprising – connections between a family’s household income and a child’s attitude to shopping and saving.
“Many of our adult financial attitudes and habits may be determined in these formative years,” says CEO of Roy Morgan Research, Michele Levine.
“We learn about money and observe our parents working, saving, and paying bills.”
The survey found that Australian children receive an average of $11.27 a week in pocket money, paid work and extra money for school expenses, ranging from $5 for the average 6-year-old to $20 for the average 13-year-old.
Children in the lowest income households (earning less than $50,000 a year) receive the most money - $14.81 per week on average.
While the amount children receive is not necessarily an indication of whether they’re ‘underprivileged’ or ‘spoilt rotten’, the way they perceive and spend their money varies by household income level.
What children spend their money on
Overall, 46% of children say they use some of their money to buy toys ahead of 40% who put some in the bank, 30% who use it on snacks and drinks and 28% who are saving for a big item – such as a bike.
Toys are the most common expenditure for children in households earning less than $150,000 a year, while those in households earning more are more likely to be putting it in the bank or saving for something significant. While it is tempting to suggest this is because children in higher income households get the toys they want, according to Roy Morgan Research this is not the case: 24% of the kids in lower income households say they “always get the toys they want” compared with 16% in higher income households.
Wealth over happiness
The proportion of kids who “would rather be rich than happy” also decreases across each increasing income bracket.
Across all household incomes, children who agree that they “always get the toys they want” are considerably more likely than those who don’t to want to be rich rather than happy when they grow up.
Importance of parents
Regardless of the household income level, or how much pocket money an individual child receives, 90% of kids agree that “I admire my parents”.