'Financial capability' should be part of school curriculum says Retirement Commissioner

Financial education should be part of the school curriculum alongside maths and English, according to Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell.

New Zealand's unofficial 'Minister of Money' Diane Maxwell is promoting primary school children be taught real-world finance skills during Money Week. Source: Seven Sharp

Financial programmes such as 'Banquer' are now in more than 1000 schools where students handle real budgets, accounts and financial issues.

Bus Ms Maxwell told Seven Sharp she would like financial education in schools to be coordinated nationally.

"What I would love to see is financial capability embedded in the curriculum, being taught by the teachers and being measured as part of the overall school outcomes," she said.

During Money Week, Ms Maxwell is on a mission to get parents talking to their kids about cash.

"It is a parent's responsibility, but often they say to us 'we don't know how to do it'," she said.

"I think you can start talking to kids from about five up. I think when kids get into their teens it really has meaning."

Ms Maxwell said she taxed her daughter's pocket money when she was young.

"So back when she got five dollars, I took a dollar of in tax and said 'in return you get a place to live, you get food, I'll do your washing'."

Rachelle Hughes who teaches the Banquer financial program said children who take the lessons realise finances are hard, you can't always get what you want and sometimes have to save.