Savvy Australians expecting to earn, save more to counter cost-of-living

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NAB data released today reveals that over the next 12 months a quarter of Australians expect to earn more, and three quarters are aiming to save more money, but the rising cost-of-living is causing increasing concern.

According to the latest NAB Australian Wellbeing Survey more than half of Australians (51%) identified a rising cost-of-living as the most common cause of stress over the past three months:

  • Concern over cost-of-living has slightly increased quarter-on-quarter (currently at 51%, previously at 48%), driven by rising energy bills, food and grocery prices and transport costs.
  • Cost of living is the main cause of concern among 30–49-year-old Australians (57%) and is a greater concern for lower income households than those with higher incomes.

Despite cost-of-living pressures, Australians remain committed to increasing their savings, driven by expectations they will earn more. For the first time, Australians were asked how much they have in savings:

  • On average, Australians have around $34,000 in savings but this varies significantly by age, gender, location, and income.
  • Nearly three quarters (73%) of Australians are trying to build their savings but around 1 in 5 say they have less in savings now than they did three months ago.
  • More Australians say their income has increased over the past three months (+10%).
  • Around 1 in 4 Australians expect their incomes to rise in the next 12 months, and by an average of $147 per week.

NAB Personal Banking Executive Mark Baylis said Australians were facing ongoing challenges around a rising cost-of-living and contending with real impacts to their household budgets.

“Australians are more engaged with their finances than they have been for a long time, in part due to their concerns around increased living costs,” Mr Baylis said.

“It’s no surprise given rising energy bills, food, grocery and transport costs that more than half of Australians identify a rising cost-of-living as the most common cause of stress over the past three months.

“More Australians say their pay has increased over the past three months and around a quarter expect to earn more over the coming year, which will ease pressures on some households.

“Whether it’s a rainy-day fund or a retirement nest egg, Australians continue to prove they are savvy savers, and three quarters want to continue building up their savings, which is great to see in current conditions.”

The level of concern over debts has continued to increase over the past nine months, led by worries about payday loans, especially in rural areas and among those in the 50–64-year-old age group.

“It’s often in desperate times people turn to payday loans as a ‘quick fix’ but without knowing the hidden costs involved, these debts can often spiral and lead to more long-term debt,” Mr Baylis said.

“We know some people are concerned about their financial situation, which is why getting in touch with your bank as soon as you can is vital to stay on track financially.

“When our customers speak to our NAB Assist team early, more than 95% of them are back on their feet within 90 days.

Data sourced from NAB’s Australian Wellbeing Survey Q4 2022 which surveyed more than 2,000 Australians.

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