Mediterranean diet: good on the hip (pocket)?

Mediterranean diet: good on the hip not on the savings account

Fresh fruit and veggies, nuts, fish and a healthy dollop of olive oil: There’s nothing quite like sitting down at the dinner table to a nice Mediterranean-style meal. 

According to a new study from the University of Minnesota, however, this isn’t just a great idea for your taste buds — it’s also a healthier and more sustainable way to eat. Mediterranean, vegetarian and pescatarian (fish-based diets) could reduce incidence of cancer by around 10 percent, as well as death by heart disease by around 20 percent.

“We showed that the same dietary changes that can add about a decade to our lives can also prevent massive environmental damage,” said David Tilman, professor at the University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences. 

Despite these benefits, human nature tells us that people won’t simply flock to something because of its health advantages — particularly if it affects the hip pocket. 

Higher incomes mean higher cholesterol

Interestingly, the results of the study show that consumption of a less healthy diet — that is, the regular modern diet defined by high calorie intake and lots of meat protein — intensified as living standards increased. As incomes rose in the period from 1961 to 2009, so did the prominence of such a diet. 

These trends led researchers to project that, by 2050, diets would contain fewer fruits and vegetables, and more pork, beef, poultry, eggs and empty calories. This will not only raise the risk of the aforementioned diseases, it would also increase greenhouse gas emissions by around 80 percent. 

Mediterranean diets hit harder on wallets than health

Unfortunately, for those wanting to curb their reliance on such foods, they may have to make some adjustments on their savings account calculator.

A diet study conducted by PREDIMED in 2013 found that expenditure tended to increase the more one adhered to a Mediterranean diet, as reported by Medscape. While this was in a European context, there is evidence this fact translates in Australia, too.

According to the Australian Government Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, seafood tends to be priced higher than chicken, beef and lamb, although canned fish such as tuna and salmon tends to be quite cost-effective — hence the popularity of such products. This is significant, as according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures from 2007/08, 30 percent of Australian houses had less than $500 a week to spend on goods and services. 

Even though a vegetarian diet is typically less expensive, consumers may not find much respite there either. Just recently, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia reported that the price of fruit had risen by 14.7 percent over the September 2104 quarter. 

Save money on health costs

Consumers may want to look at it another way, however. According to the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines report from the National Health and Medical Research Council, health expenditure for type 2 diabetes (one of the diseases that can be avoided through alternative diets) is predicted to jump by $1.4 billion to to $7 billion a year by 2023. 

A study from the Sapienza University of Rome titled Cost and Cost-Effectiveness of the Mediterranean Diet: Results of a Systematic Review similarly found that the Mediterranean diet was a much better long-term investment, due to health costs. 

Looked at this way, consumers may be spending more now for long-term savings with these alternative diets — not to mention saving their health. 

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What is an ANZ locked savings account?

An ANZ locked savings account locks your money and prevents you from spending. You may use a standard savings account as the account where your salary is deposited. You can then withdraw funds when needed, but aren’t able to make purchases with it. However, this account may not grow much as the continual withdrawing of funds will limit the interest you can earn.

With a locked savings account in ANZ, you know your savings will grow because you can’t access the money. You can also qualify for a bonus when you deposit at least $10 per month and don’t make any withdrawals. To help you with this further you can set up an automatic transfer from your regular ANZ savings or transaction account so you don’t forget to make a monthly deposit.

Your ANZ locked savings account offers you a base interest rate of 0.1 per cent per annum plus an additional bonus interest of 0.49 per cent per year. The interest is calculated daily and credited to your account on the last working day of the month.

Can you set up a savings account online?

Yes. Several large and small banks offer online applications for savings accounts, and there are also online-only financial institutions to consider.

Online-only savings accounts are often less expensive than other savings accounts, though they may not offer the same flexibility, features, or face-to-face service as more traditional savings accounts.

Can you set up direct debits from a savings account?

It’s not usually possible to set up a direct debit from your savings account to cover ongoing expenses or bills, as savings accounts are structured around growing your wealth by earning interest on regular deposits, and discouraging withdrawals.

Some transaction accounts allow you to set up direct debits and also earn interest, though you may not enjoy as much flexibility as a dedicated transaction account, or get as high an interest rate as a dedicated savings account.

Can you have multiple ING savings accounts?

Yes, you can open up to nine accounts with ING at any particular time. If you’re saving money for various goals, such as buying a car or taking a holiday, you can name each of your multiple ING savings accounts differently.

To get a Savings Maximiser account, you’ll need to deposit more than $1000 every month and make at least five additional purchases. If you also want to grow your savings, from 1st March 2021, you can earn up to 1.35 per cent per annum variable interest on one account with a balance of up to $100,000 when you also maintain an Orange Everyday account.

With ING, multiple savings accounts can help keep track of all your savings goals. All the accounts offer flexible withdrawals where you can withdraw as low or as high as you want without impacting your earning interest rate. However, you can only earn the bonus interest on one account. To apply for a Savings Maximiser account, you can visit ingdirect.com.au.

Should I open a Commonwealth locked savings account?

If you have trouble saving money, a Commbank locked savings account could be a potential solution. A locked savings account won’t let you make withdrawals and as such, it can help you grow your savings balance if you keep topping it up. 

The Commonwealth locked savings account advertises high-interest rates and minimal maintenance fees, along with a host of other incentives that will encourage you not to touch the money. 

The account offers a higher interest rate for each month that you make limited or no withdrawals, as well as regular deposits. 

To qualify for a Commonwealth locked savings account with the advertised features, you will need to fulfil specific criteria such as:

  • Depositing a fixed minimum amount into the account every month.
  • Making a fixed number of deposits each month.
  • Making a minimum or no withdrawals each month.
  • Maintaining a minimum account balance.

What is a savings account?

A savings account is a type of bank account in which you earn interest on the money you deposit. This makes it one of the easiest and safest investment tools.

How to make money with a savings account?

Savings accounts make you money by earning interest on your savings. The more money you deposit, the longer you leave it in the account, and the higher the account’s interest rate, the more interest you’ll be paid by the bank or financial institution, and the more your wealth will grow.

To make sure your savings account makes money and doesn’t lose money, it’s important to maintain a large enough minimum balance that the annual interest earned exceeds any annual fees charged on the account.

How much money should I have in my savings account?

A good rule of thumb when working out a minimum balance for your savings account is to make sure that you’ll earn more in annual interest on your savings than what you’ll be charged in annual fees.

If you’re saving with a specific goal in mind, prepare a budget so the interest you earn on your deposits will help you efficiently reach this goal. Online financial calculators may be helpful here.

Can you direct deposit to a savings account?

Yes. You can make one off payments or set up regular direct deposits into a savings account. This can be organised easily through online banking or by making deposits in a branch. Talk to your lender to find out the easiest way for you to set up direct deposits.

What is a Westpac locked savings account?

The Westpac locked savings account (also known as "Westpac Life") can help customers reach savings goals faster through bonus interest. Customers receive 0.2 per cent standard base interest with a variable bonus rate of 0.35 per cent when the closing balance at the end of the month is higher than the opening balance.

There are some conditions to earn the bonus interest on Westpac's locked savings account, though. First, you’ll need to increase the balance each month either through a deposit or not making any withdrawals, and then link it to a Westpac Choice account and make at least five eligible payments using your debit card. Please consult your bank as to what an eligible payment is. 

Can you have a joint savings account?

Yes. Joint savings accounts can be useful for two or more people wanting to combine their savings to meet shared financial goals, including spouses, flatmates and business partners.

Some joint savings accounts require all parties to sign before they can access the money. While less convenient, this extra security can help encourage all parties to meet their shared financial goals.

Other joint savings accounts allow any of the account holders to access the money. These accounts can be convenient for financially responsible couples that trust one another implicitly. 

What is a good interest rate for a savings account?

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind with savings accounts is to look for a rate that is higher than the CPI inflation rate. This number is constantly changing, so check the Reserve Bank of Australia’s page. If you aren’t earning interest above this then the value of your money will go backwards over time.

How do I open a savings account?

Opening a savings account is a relatively simple process. If you’ve found an account with a suitable interest rate, you’ll just need to get in contact with your chosen lender via a branch, phone call or hop online to begin the process. 

You may be required to provide:

  • Personal details, including identification (driver’s license, passport etc.)
  • Tax file number
  • Employment details

How to open a savings account for my child?

Some banks and financial institutions allow parents to open a bank account for their child as soon as it is born, and start depositing funds to go towards the child’s future.

Children’s savings accounts generally don’t have fees, and are structured to help develop positive financial habits by limiting withdrawals, encouraging regular deposits, and earning interest on the savings, similarly to standard savings accounts.