Pocket money boosts money management skills in adulthood

ING International Survey shows: Children that receive pocket money less likely to be in debt.

Children who receive pocket money are more likely to develop strong financial planning skills in later life and are much less likely to be in debt, according to a pan-European study of more than 12,000 consumers across Europe.

The study found that those who received pocket money as a child exercise more control over their spending than those who didn’t – and are also less likely to be overdrawn. The study found that those who received pocket money are more likely to exercise control over their spending than those who didn’t, while also being more likely to save money.

Plan for the future

Indeed, more than half (55%) of people who received pocket money as a child regularly add to their savings, compared to 45% of those who didn’t. Adults who received pocket money as a child are more likely to plan for the future and tuck money away for their retirement, suggesting that pocket money can help people develop long-term financial planning skills.


Today’s parents also recognise the benefits of allowing their children to receive pocket money. Almost three quarters (70%) of parents who allow their children a small allowance feel more confident about them becoming self sufficient once they leave home and 83% believe it has helped them realise the value of money.

Netherlands bottom of the league

As a result, today more than three quarters (79%) of consumers across Europe now give their children pocket money. Across the territories surveyed, Turkish parents are most likely to give pocket money with 95% giving their child an allowance compared to 67% of parents in the Netherlands, making them bottom of the league.

Who is the most generous?

Meanwhile, Italian parents are the most generous overall, giving their children (aged 15 plus) as much as €30 in pocket money a week, while the Netherlands and the Czech Republic lag behind most Western European countries. Brits give their children less money than France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Pocket money index

Median amount of pocket money given a week by age in euros

Under 5 5-to-10 years 10-to-15 years 15-plus All age ranking
European consumer 2.00 4.75 9.50 20.00  
Italy 5.00 5.00 10.00 30.00 1
France 2.00 5.00 10.00 20.00 2
Spain 1.00 5.00 10.00 20.00 3
Austria 2.25 3.50 9.75 35.25 4
Belgium 2.00 2.25 10.00 20.00 5=
Germany 1.00 4.00 10.00 20.00 5=
United Kingdom 2.50 6.00 6.00 12.00 7
Turkey 1.50 3.25 6.50 16.00 8
Poland 2.25 2.25 4.75 11.75 9
Romania 2.25 2.25 3.00 11.00 10
Netherlands 0.50 1.50 5.00 12.50 11
Czech Republic 0.75 1.75 4.00 10.75 12
Luxembourg n/a* n/a* 10.00 50.00 n/a
Sample size: 671 (Under 5), 918 (5-to-10 years), 1,107 (10-to-15 years), 1,223 (15-plus)
* sample size too small to be representative

Ian Bright, senior economist at ING Group commented: “Our research suggests a correlation between adults who were given pocket money as a child and their ability to better manage their finances later in life. Allowing children some element of financial control may be one way to help them realise the value of money and build basic budgeting skills, which will help prepare them for financial independence when they leave home.”

Pocket money survey

ING International Survey
Mobile Banking, Social Media and Financial Behaviour
September 2014 – Learning young: Does getting pocket money teach savings habits for life?

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