One in three Australians cannot save

19 August 2001

Almost one in three Australians are finding it impossible to save, with around 50 per cent having trouble just covering living expenses, according to national research released today.

Among its key findings, the Commonwealth Bank Group commissioned research shows 29 per cent of Australians are not able to start saving at all. Key disincentives include a lack of money, lack of personal discipline, outgoing bills and the cost of living.

Of all respondents, workers earning less than $35,000 recorded the most difficulty saving. Also struggling were the nation’s young Australians, with 20 per cent of the country’s 16 to 34 year olds reporting they are not saving at all.

Commonwealth Bank Group General Manager, Investment and Insurance, Peter Beck, said a substantial number of Australians, around 32 per cent, stated they ‘didn’t have enough money to save’, making it the major disincentive to saving.

"The research confirms that many Australians are finding it hard to save for life’s essentials. Starting saving is like going on a diet or joining a gym – it’s tough and gruelling and best put off ‘for tomorrow’," Mr Beck said.

"In reality, savings are now a necessity as consumers look to provide for themselves in essential areas such as retirement, health and education.

"This research is a wake-up call for us all. As a nation, we must put ourselves on the savings diet for our own personal financial security now and tomorrow."

Among its key findings, the research found:

  • Single Australians are finding it almost as hard to save as married respondents.
  • Three out of every four who don’t save live in capital cities (77 per cent).
  • Of those who don’t save, 41 per cent earn less than $35,000.
  • More Australians are saving for holidays than any other purpose (23 per cent).
  • 18 per cent are saving for ‘emergencies’ and 14 per cent for retirement.
  • Only 1 per cent of Australians are saving for their own education or their children’s education.
  • In total, 10 per cent of Australians are saving for a deposit for a house they will live in, for an investment property or to improve or renovate an existing property.
  • 30 per cent of respondents said a pay rise would make it easier to save.
  • 4 per cent of Australians believed the removal of the GST would make it easier to save.

In keeping with key research findings, the Commonwealth Bank Group has launched a major national savings initiative designed to make it easier for every Australian to start saving and to maximise existing savings.

"The Commonwealth Bank Group has a range of solutions to help every Australian start saving, maintain a regular saving discipline and achieve their goals," Mr Beck said.