Behind the success
The numbers that detail the success of Saver Plus speak for themselves. Almost 15,000 participants had completed the program by July 2014, saving over $13.5 million. The program offers dollar-for-dollar matched savings up to $500, meaning corresponding payments of $10 million have been made by ANZ.
While these sums are small in comparison to the total amount saved across the entire Australian economy, their value for those involved (and their communities) is far greater. Just as Saver Plus has grown over the last decade, it is likely that these benefits will also grow in the future.
Since 2009, Australian Government assistance to Saver Plus has been a catalyst for $16 million in private sector spending on education; with a social return on investment of at least $3.98 for every dollar of public sector funds. Savings from programs like this are of economic benefit to the Australian community as well as individual households.
Saver Plus has been targeted towards savings for education, the greatest contributor to economic and social mobility, which in turn reduces welfare dependency. With an aging population, we know that the public sector will be less able to provide for people’s retirement than previously.
A small amount of savings enables individuals to better deal with emergency situations, reducing the call on various public and private sector agencies that may be required to provide assistance.
Saving is also the first step toward investing, which done conservatively can greatly assist individuals’ long-term financial security.
Any program that is able to assist people to plan and provide for the future will have benefits for participating individuals as well as public savings. Saver Plus is assisting to create a culture of saving not just among the participants but also their families and their communities, providing ongoing benefits and changing lives along the way.
The whole of the Australian community benefits from improved financial literacy and a more self-sufficient – and better off, in the broadest sense – population.
Jane Nash is Group Head of Corporate Sustainability and Financial Inclusion at ANZ.