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Ever wondered how your savings compare with the crowd? Here’s what the average Australian’s bank balance looks like – and what you can do to supercharge your savings.

Whether you’re putting money aside for your dream home, a new car, your next holiday, or you just want to ensure you’ll have money in the bank when unexpected circumstances arise, it’s important to build up your savings.

At the same time, most people don’t feel comfortable discussing their personal finances, so it can be difficult to know how your savings compare with other people in your demographic.

Read on to learn how your savings stack up. If you don’t like what you find, don’t worry – we’ll show you how to give your bank balance a boost.  

How much do Australians have saved?

According to the Finder Consumer Sentiment Tracker data sourced between May and October 2023, the average Australian has $37,975 in savings.

The numbers vary significantly between genders. The average Australian man has $52,655 saved up, while the average Australian woman has just $23,223 stockpiled.

The gender discrepancy in savings reflects a discrepancy in earnings. While the average full-time worker earns $95,581 per year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), men in full-time work ($100,792) earn significantly higher salaries than women on average ($87,714).

The arrival of children has also had a large and persistent impact on the gender earnings and savings gap, with female earnings falling by 55%, on average, in the five years following parenthood.

Average savings by gender and generation

 Generation Men Women
 Gen Z (18 - 26 years)  $26,531  $7,995 
 Gen Y (27 - 41 years)  $34,684  $16,368
 Gen X (42 - 61 years)  $52,936  $31,928
 Baby Boomers (over 61 years)  $60,625  $44,110

Source: Finder Consumer Sentiment Tracker, May 2023 - October 2023

As you’d expect, higher-income households have significantly more savings than households earning less. Households earning more than $100,000 per year have more than three times as much money saved ($56,811, on average) as households earning less than $50,000 ($18,552).

Average savings by household income

 Household income Savings
 Less than $10,000 - $49,000  $18,552
 $50,000 - $99,000  $33,705
 $100,000 - $250,000  $56,811

Source: Finder Consumer Sentiment Tracker, August 2023 - October 2023

How much should I have saved?

So, what does this mean for you? The amount of cash you should have saved will depend on your age and income, as the numbers above suggest, as well as your own personal circumstances.

As a general rule, however, you should aim to set aside at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses in your savings. You can use our handy Budget Planner Calculator to help determine this figure.

Even if you’re not saving towards a particular goal, this will provide you with an emergency fund to help you get by when unexpected circumstances arise, whether it’s sudden job loss, unforeseen medical expenses, emergency repairs, or any of life’s other little hiccups that come along while you’re busy making other plans. These funds should sit in a higher-interest savings account, so they can be earning you money in the meantime.

Worryingly, the Finder data shows that nearly half of Australians (46 per cent) could only survive off their savings for a month or less, with just 24% able to last six months or more.

How much do Australians save per month?

The Finder data shows that the average Australian is putting away $705 a month in savings.

Here too, there’s a gender discrepancy, with men ($854) saving 53% more per month than women ($557). Millennials are saving the most each month ($789), followed closely by Gen Z ($751) and Gen X ($742), with Baby Boomers, who are mostly beyond retirement age, trailing behind ($515).

Average monthly savings by gender and generation

 Generation Men Women
 Gen Z (18 - 26 years)  $21,087  $627
 Gen Y (27 - 41 years)  $1,009  $560
 Gen X (42 - 61 years)  $889  $528
 Baby Boomers (over 61 years)  $520  $310

Source: Finder Consumer Sentiment Tracker, May 2023 - October 2023

Average monthly savings by household income

 Household income Savings
 Less than $10,000 - $49,000  $229
 $50,000 - $99,000  $516
 $100,000 - $250,000  $1,244

Source: Finder Consumer Sentiment Tracker, August 2023 - October 2023

How much should I be saving each month?

There’s no one-size-fits-all number, but a good rule of thumb for budgeting is the 50/30/20 method. This way, your income will be divided up as follows:

  • 50% of your income on needs (essential expenses like rent and mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, transport and medical fees).
  • 30% of your income on wants (non-essential expenses like gym memberships, streaming subscriptions, eating out, cinema and concert tickets, and new clothes and tech you could live without).
  • 20% on savings.

If you already have high-interest debts that you need to pay off, such as personal loans or credit cards, then you could use some of that final 20% to repay those debts, and gradually increase the amount of money you’re able to save over time.

How can I boost my savings?

If you’re worried your savings aren’t as high as others in your demographic, don’t stress – there are simple ways you can boost your balance.

First, you need to develop good financial habits. To get started, sign up to Your Financial Wellness to create a comprehensive budget that includes your income and all of your monthly expenses, including rent, utilities, groceries, transport, and entertainment. It’s free for BCU Bank members.

Factor in everything, from the coffee you buy on the way to work in the morning to the takeaway you buy on the way home. Creating a budget will help you control your spending, because when you see all your expenses in stark black-and-white, you’ll soon realise there are things you can either eliminate altogether, or save money on by switching to a cheaper alternative. For a simple way to categorise your spending across all financial institutions one place, you can download the mymo by BCU app.

Once you’ve looked for ways to reduce your spending, and you know how much money you can realistically save each month, you can build up those savings sooner by stashing them in a higher-interest savings account. This should be separate to the account you use for bills and other transactions.

The higher the interest rate, the faster your savings will grow. And because you’re stashing your savings away in a separate account, you won’t dip into them for everyday expenses – instead, you can just sit back and watch interest do its thing.

BCU Bank’s Bonus Saver account will kickstart your savings with bonus interest for the first four months from the date you open it, while our iSaver Account will pay a higher rate of interest the more you save.

Another way to maximise your savings is with a term deposit. This way, you commit to keeping money deposited for a fixed period of your choosing, from a few months to several years. In return for making this commitment to your savings, you’re rewarded with a higher interest rate.

You can use the BCU iBank and BCU Bank app to set up automatic transfers to your savings account. As soon as you get paid, the money you’ve determined you can put aside from each pay will move directly into your dedicated savings account and start accruing interest, and you won’t be tempted to touch it first.

Everyone’s financial position is different. We’re all responding to our own circumstances and working towards our own dreams and goals. No matter where you stand, and no matter how you compare to anyone else, making a move to increase your savings will help you to feel like you have control over your finances – and that’s got to be a good thing.

Important information

Banking and Credit products issued by Police & Nurses Limited (BCU) ABN 69 087 651 876 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 240701. Any advice does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Read the relevant Product Terms and Condition, before acquiring this product in considering and deciding whether it is right for you. The Target Market Determination (TMD) for products is available on request. Lending criteria, terms & conditions, fees & charges apply.