How Australia is Protecting its Lead as a Financial Literacy Pioneer

By Right About Money Staff Report

January 31, 2017

Australia ranks number one in its region and ninth in the world in financial literacy, according to the latest Standard & Poor’s Global Financial Literacy Survey. A relatively impressive two-thirds of that country’s adults have a basic understanding of financial concepts.

If you wonder how this country of vast rainforests, koalas and outback scores so well, look no further than its considerable line-up of financial education programs designed to instill financial understanding in individuals nationwide.

Australia has one of the world’s most informative and impartial government websites dedicated to personal finance—and it has just improved it. The MoneySmart financial guide is a model of clarity, brevity, and accessibility. It works much like similar sites in other countries, including Ask CFPB and MyMoney in the U.S., where financial literacy scores are modestly lower than in Australia.

The new Aussie version has more information on investing and is designed to help individuals identify financial goals and advice needs, and to choose and prepare to meet a financial adviser. Individuals can also use the new toolkit to create financial “to do” lists.

Few countries have acted more decisively on this front. In 2012, members of the government’s Financial Literacy Board founded Financial Literacy Australia with a mission to advance financial wellness throughout the country. This group encourages cooperation between the corporate, government, and education sectors to advance the national financial literacy strategy. Last year alone, this group supported eight financial literacy projects: The grants program Supports innovative financial literacy projects and allocated $1.4 million to various programs. Financial Wellbeing Research Centered at the University of New South Wales to study effective financial education.

Consumer Action Law Centre A public education program on debt and borrowing.

Good Shepherd Microfinance An experimental project to develop a toolkit that microfinance workers can offer to clients at “teachable moments.”

CHOICE A pilot project exploring financial “chatbots” to encourage engagement among young adults and new mothers.

Small Business Mentoring Delivers financial literacy workshops, tools and mentoring to women in small business.

First Nations Foundation Delivers the myMoola financial literacy program to indigenous trainees in the workplace.

Macquarie University Developing an online calculator to help retirees compare the costs of retirement villages.

WIRE Researches the best time to offer financial lessons to victims of family violence.

University of Technology Sydney Researches computer-based guidance at the point of sale as it relates to the country’s highly successful superannuation pension system.

Posted in International, Policy & Government on January, 2017