SYDNEY: Australian children save significant amounts, but the financial gender divide starts early, as a new study has shown that Australian girls get less pocket money than boys and that boys save more than girls.

The Young Australians Study from research firm Roy Morgan revealed that more than three quarters of Australian children between the ages of six and 13 had savings, with the average amount put away being A$251.

That represents a 14% increase on the average recorded in a similar survey eight years ago.

During that time, boys' savings have increased at a faster rate, B&T reported: up 15% from A$228 to A$263, while that of girls has been slower, up 12% from $211 to $234.

"The only time girls are slightly more cashed-up than boys is among the 6-7 year-old bracket ($189 vs $181)," the study said.

"After that, boys' savings accumulate sharply, peaking among 12-13 year-old boys (who have an average $322 in savings). The amount saved also increases with age for girls, but not nearly to the same degree."

Not surprisingly, children from less affluent families were less likely to have savings, but one in ten (11%) in this group was reported to have more than A$1,000 saved up. Among children hailing from the AB socio-economic group the proportion claiming this level of financial rectitude was 16%.

"While it's encouraging to see that the vast majority of Australian kids are saving money, and that the value of their savings has increased in the last eight years, the discrepancy in how much boys and girls have saved is worthy of our attention," observed Norman Ross, Roy Morgan"s industry communications director.

He attributed the pattern for boys to have accumulated more savings than girls to several factors, including how much pocket money they earn – boys get 15% more every week, with an average of A$6 to girls' A$5.20 – and boys tending to get larger cash gifts from parents and relatives for Christmas and birthdays.

But he also questioned whether boys were learning different attitudes to money and savings and suggested that "this disparity in childhood savings balances seems like an ominous precursor to later inequality and needs to be addressed".

Data sourced from B&T Magazine; additional content by Warc staff