Savings for a roof over your head, and for rainy days to come

How many of us were making headway saving for a house when we were in our early twenties?

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Danielle, homeowner and Saver Plus graduate.

Many of us were leaving the parental home and learning to navigate the world. I recall having a vague idea of my savings plans, but there were some things I had to refine over the years.

"I still remember having the conversation with the Saver Plus coordinator on how to manage [saving] $50 dollars a month. One thing that stuck with me is the repetition” - Danielle, Saver Plus Graduate

I am always impressed when I speak to young Australians today. They seem much more engaged in their financial future than I was at the same age. The notion of building a nest egg for a deposit on a house is something many aspire to.

But many young Australians – no matter when they start saving – increasingly feel the opportunity to enter the housing market may elude them. How can we prevent them from feeling financially disempowered and instil some skills which keep the dream of home ownership alive?

Data shows just how worried young people are. ANZ research first identified the growing trend in a Financial Wellbeing report, detailing how 20 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 years didn’t believe home ownership was a realistic goal. A further 19 per cent of 25-to-34-year-olds felt the same way.

Many factors have contributed to this dynamic including higher interest rates, cost of living increases and population growth.

Luckily at ANZ we are not coming from a standing start. For 20 years we have been exploring the financial literacy, capability, attitudes and behaviours of Australian adults – this is inherently linked to our purpose to shape a world where people and communities thrive.

This research has informed our approach to improving the financial wellbeing of our people, customers and communities by helping them make the most of their money and to feel financially empowered. We call this financial wellbeing and it’s the reason we come to work every day.

We are dedicated to helping customers improve their financial wellbeing and meet their financial goals.

Teaching the fundamentals

If you've been out of the loop, you might not be aware that more than 20 years ago ANZ developed a model to teach essential savings principles to Australian adults, known as "MoneyMinded."

The MoneyMinded model has since grown, drawing upon our extensive research and leveraging the ground-breaking work of Professor Elaine Kempson in  measuring and enhancing individuals' financial wellbeing.

The program is now delivered Australia-wide, in collaboration with experienced not-for-profit organisations serving vulnerable groups, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Berry Street and The Smith Family, as well as throughout parts of Asia, the Pacific and New Zealand.

Standing alongside MoneyMinded is its sibling initiative, "Saver Plus". Developed in partnership with the Brotherhood of St Laurence, this is a matched savings program where eligible participants, who successfully achieve their savings goals and complete a series of workshops, receive matched funds up to $500.

Saver Plus has been running for two decades with funding from both ANZ and the Australian Government Department of Social Services and it’s the world’s largest and longest-running financial education and matched-savings program. It has helped more than 53,000 participants to collectively save more than $27 million to date.

Lessons in action

Take the story of Queensland mother Danielle, who participated in the Saver Plus program in 2014 when she was studying full time to become a counsellor. Before the program she found it hard to save for rainy days and even harder saving for a long-term goal.

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“My husband and I weren’t saving at all,” she says. “I still remember having the conversation with the Saver Plus coordinator on how to manage [saving] $50 dollars a month. One thing that stuck with me is the repetition,” she says. “Making sure to put money aside every week and I’m still doing that today. I ended up losing most of my work through COVID. But we managed to still save.”

Danielle and her family purchased their first home in Queensland in 2021. “The sense of achievement that came out of it. I’ve managed to put all that money aside all by myself. I feel very empowered,” she says.

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Cim, Savings Coach at Saver Plus (L) & Danielle at her home on Queensland.

Danielle still uses the bank account she opened with Saver Plus and ANZ many years ago. Her story is a great example of how you can achieve your goals by sticking to some simple savings rules – such as spending less than you earn and putting money aside for a rainy day.

Those basic habits are something we should all live by to improve our financial wellbeing.

Maile Carnegie is Group Executive, Australia Retail at ANZ

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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