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Commission helps students with financial literacy

Media release
7 September 2009

Retirement Commission helps secondary students improve financial literacy

Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan says a survey which shows that the majority of secondary school students leave school financially illiterate is alarming but not unexpected considering the historical lack of financial education in schools.

“Students need to be able to understand basic financial concepts to manage their lives effectively. Of most concern is that very few answered questions about credit card interest correctly.

“Many students see the opportunity of getting a credit card as a rite of passage. But this survey, by the Young Enterprise Trust shows that they don’t understand the implications of not paying off the card in full every month,” said Diana Crossan.

The Retirement Commission is today releasing a new set of education resources specially developed for secondary school students, but Diana Crossan says much more needs to be done to target this age group. The release of the education resources also coincides with New Zealand’s first Financial Awareness Week, initiated by the Institute of Financial Advisers, which runs from 6 to 13 September.

The classroom resources, developed from the recent campaign aimed at getting real New Zealanders sorted, are now available on These are designed for teachers to use with Years 11-13 students and cover credit cards, mortgage, budgeting and savings. They complement financial capability resources for Years 1-10 students which went live on the Ministry of Education website today.

“We know from the recent ANZ-Retirement Commission Financial Knowledge Survey that younger New Zealanders generally have low levels of financial literacy. We have done a considerable amount of work in the past couple of years to get financial literacy introduced to schools for Years 1-10.

“We need to encourage and support teachers to use the resources available. We also need to encourage parents to talk to their children about money matters. A great place to start is the kids and money section on,” said Diana Crossan.

Secondary school resources for Years 11-13:
Ministry of Education material for Years 1-10:
Financial Awareness Week:

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