If we as a nation could improve our collective financial skills by just a very slight margin, we'll have a profound effect on our economy.
Likewise for individuals.
With improved financial capabilities, many Australians will enjoy a boost to their careers and relationships. These and other revealing facts were highlighted in the Commonwealth Bank Foundation's research on financial literacy in Australia.
Want to know more? Download the Foundation's financial literacy research paper below, called "Improving financial literacy: benefits for all Australians."
Our young people are most vulnerable - 16 to 25 year olds comprise 42% of the least financially literate members of the community. (however, these levels have improved since 2004).
The importance of school programs - Since 2004, the use of school studies as a source of financial literacy information has increased from 31% to 39%, reaffirming the value of school based literacy programs.
Profound benefits for individuals - The least financially literate members of our community suffered the worst effects of the Global Financial Crisis in terms of job losses and reductions in working hours. Poor financial literacy goes hand in hand with difficulty in meeting regular commitments such as phone or power bills.
Economic benefits for Australia - Boosting financial skills for 10% of Australians with poor financial literacy can create 15,000 new jobs and increase Australia's gross domestic product by $6.2 billion annually over the long term.
The Commonwealth Bank Foundation has an ongoing commitment to the development of money management skills to help every child become financially literate. At the helm of the initiatives is the Foundation's StartSmart program involving interactive school-based workshops. In 2010 this award winning program was extended to primary schools.
We believe that teaching financial literacy to Australian school students is the chief means by which we can progressively lift financial literacy levels across the community, with particular focus on the 25% of Australians with the least financial understanding.
The Commonwealth Bank Foundation invites the broader community to share our goal of improving financial literacy, with the support of parents and teachers especially important to ensure the ongoing success of the Foundation's efforts.