Can’t buy me love? Aussies prioritise finances over romance in 2021

Can’t buy me love? Aussies prioritise finances over romance in 2021

2020 may have hit our economy hard, but it’s also taught millions of Aussies financial lessons, according to new research from ING.

ING Research shows that around 2.9 million Australians have reported feeling more financially prepared than ever for 2021, with many prioritising “financially fit” goals over romantic ones for the new year.

Over a third of Aussies (36 per cent) said being financially fitter was their biggest priority for the year, followed by overcoming debt (32 per cent). Interestingly, personal finance appears to be more important than finding love, with only 11 per cent claiming this as their biggest priority.

The impacts of COVID-19 on the Australian economy saw a rise in unemployment across the nation, as millions of homeowners were allowed to pause mortgage repayments and credit card repayments due to financial hardship.

It therefore may not be surprising that the financial stress caused by COVID-19 could have forced Aussie singles to prioritise money over love.

Aussies setting better financial habits thanks to 2020

Key findings from the ING research include:

  • A quarter (25 per cent) of Aussies claimed to have become more financially literate over the last 12 months, and 70 per cent believe they’re prepared financially for 2021.
  • One in three (34 per cent) Aussies have less debt (excluding mortgages) than 12 months ago.
  • Two thirds (68 per cent) of Aussies now feel more comfortable talking about their personal debt, with millennials (76 per cent) reportedly the “most open” generation to discuss this previously taboo topic.
  • Aussies are reporting new financial habits, with over half reducing unnecessary spending (52 per cent).


These findings are in line with the latest data that shows Australians are creating better financial habits.

The Reserve Bank of Australia reported falling debt-accruing-interest on credit cards across the country for most of 2020 (outside of the pre-Christmas period). Further, Australians managed to squirrel away over $100 billion in deposits since COVID-19 hit (March – November 2020).

Fiona Prater, ING’s Head of Consumer Lending, said: “What this research suggests is that the pandemic has made many Aussies take the positive step to re-evaluate their financial position, making them more prepared for any future financial uncertainty.

“In fact, a quarter of respondents say that over the past 12 months they have become more financially literate and understand their personal finances better,” said Ms Prater.

How to set healthy financial habits for 2021

Whether your new financial habits are out of survival due to financial struggles in 2020, or you’ve been shaken by what has happened to others and want to improve your finances, there are a few healthy habits anyone can pick up in 2021.

  1. Make a budget and stick to it. It’s not hard to make grand claims about how you’ll divvy up your income each month, but actually sticking to a budget is another story. If you find your expenses are growing each month, consider using app-based budgeting tools that can help label your purchases and encourage you to stay on track. Or, if you struggle with not dipping into your savings, consider switching to a conditional savings account that will penalise you for doing so. This may help incentivise you to stop.
  2. Get on top of your credit card debt. Make 2021 the year you finally begin chipping away at that pesky credit card debt. Make more than the minimum repayments and consider allocating more of your budget to paying down your balance in full once and for all. If you need a little breathing room away from interest charges, consider if a balance transfer offer may suit you.
  3. Regularly compare ongoing expenses. Not sure if your current utility provider or phone carrier is still offering you the best deal for your finances in 2021? It’s time to shop around and compare your options. Many providers change their plans and their prices frequently, with more affordable deals typically offered to new customers. Look around and see if you can nab a better deal and keep your bills down in 2021.
  4. Regularly compare your insurance cover. It’s not just your phone plan that could be costing you more in 2021. If you have home and contents, car or even health insurance, consider comparing a few different insurance offers to ensure you’re still getting the best deal for your personal and financial situation.

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Learn more about savings accounts

What are the two types of NAB locked savings accounts?

With a locked savings account in NAB, you can earn bonus interest and learn financial discipline. NAB offers two types of locked savings accounts, each with their own terms and conditions.

The NAB Reward Saver account pays a variable base interest rate of 0.05 per cent per annum and a bonus interest of 0.55 per cent. You’re eligible for the bonus if you make a minimum of one deposit on or before the second last banking day and have no withdrawals in the month.

Meanwhile, the NAB iSaver account provides 0.05 per cent as the standard base interest rate and a fixed bonus margin of 0.55 per cent during the first four months from the date of opening the account. You can park your cash in the account and enjoy unlimited monthly transfers between linked daily bank accounts without impacting the interest rate.

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

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.

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

How can I get a $4000 loan approved?

While personal loans and medium amount loans don’t offer guaranteed approval, there are steps you can take to help increase the likelihood of your application being approved, including:

  • Fulfilling the eligibility criteria (providing ID, proof of residency, proof of income etc.)
  • Checking your credit history (you can order one free copy of your credit file per year, and make sure that there aren’t any errors that may be bringing down your credit score)
  • Comparing carefully before applying (making multiple loan applications can mean having your credit checked multiple times, which can look bad to some lenders and reduce your chances of being approved by them)

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.

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.

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.

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 does interest work on savings accounts?

The type of interest savings accounts accrues is called compound interest. Compound interest is interest paid on the initial deposit amount, as well as the accumulated interest on money you have. This is different from simple interest where interest is paid at the end of a specified term. Compound interest allows you to earn interest on interest at a higher frequency. 

Example: John deposits $10,000 into a savings account with an interest rate of 5 per cent that he leaves untouched for 10 years. At the end of the first year he will have $10,512 in savings. After ten years, he will have saved $16,470.