Saving for "rainy days" a top priority for many Australians

by Mark Rosanes12 Jan 2021

More than half of Australians polled in a new survey said that their financial priorities have shifted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

A survey commissioned by non-major ME Bank and conducted by research firm Pureprofile involving a representative sample of 1,000 Australian adults revealed that 54% of respondents admitted that “COVID-19 has forced them to change their 2021 financial goals” compared to previous years.

Two-thirds of those interviewed also said that the pandemic has “enlightened” them about the importance of having “rainy day savings.”

Because of this, “building up rainy day savings” moved to the top the survey’s rankings of financial goals this year, up from last year’s third place.

Claudio Mazzarella, general manager of personal banking at ME Bank, said this sentiment reflected a general desire for many Australians to improve their financial security.

He added that this shift in priority was a “step in the right direction” given that the bank’s latest household financial comfort survey found that 21% of Australian households had less than $1,000 in cash savings. 

“The majority of Australians will be saving more and thinking about what to best do with their money in 2021,” Mazzarella said. “In uncertain times, it pays to focus on what you can control. Growing a stash of emergency money can be good for your bank balance – and your peace of mind.”

Other financial goals that shot up the rankings included “reducing expenditure on expensive habits”, “setting up a budget or savings plan”, and “not building up any more debt” – all indicative of a conservative spending mindset post-pandemic.

As regards the biggest challenges in achieving these goals, 41% of respondents answered inadequate income, which topped the list. This was followed by expenses at 37% and COVID-19 impact at 28%.

However, only a minority of those surveyed felt a high-level of confidence in achieving financial security this year, with only 29% saying it was “very likely” for them to attain these goals.