Seven 20-Somethings Share Their Savings Goals (They Might Surprise You)
Mention the words “millennial” and “savings” in the same sentence and you’ll no doubt start a lively debate with references to avocado toast, house deposits and frequent trips overseas.
According to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, 43 per cent of Australians aren’t saving for anything and among those who are, 41 per cent are only saving a little.
So what are millennials actually saving for? We asked seven 20-somethings to share their savings goals (or lack thereof) and the results may surprise you.
The nurse who wants a house
Meg is a 20-year-old with a clear savings goal that she hopes will take her and her partner around two to three years to achieve.
“We are saving for a house, mainly because we know how expensive they are and want to get into the savings so we are as prepared as we can be. The cost of housing keeps going up,” she says.
Each week Meg puts almost half of her pay into a savings account that is solely for a house deposit. It’s a sacrifice that she says may not always be easy, but is worth it.
“Being young, you want to go out and experience things and spend, spend, spend, but it is the smarter choice to start saving.”
The performing artist saving for weddings
22-year-old Caitlin lives with her partner and works four days a week as an administrative assistant, and the rest of the week as a performing artist.
“Currently we are saving to go to Perth at the end of the year for my partner’s brother’s wedding. We’ll also be saving for an engagement ring… and wedding in the near future,” she says.
Every week, Caitlin and her partner set aside money for any expenses or payments they will incur and everything else goes into a savings account. She says this has been a good way to save.
“(It) means you’re not tempted to touch the excess money just because it’s sitting in the everyday account,” she explains.
“Of course everyone always wants more money but I think it also comes down to prioritising and realising that money really doesn’t buy happiness – it certainly makes things easier – but it’s not the most important thing,” she says.
The TV producer who loves to travel
Lillian is a 24-year-old television producer who says she’s in a permanent state of saving.
“At the moment I’m saving for a couple of different trips with friends, some overseas and some within Australia. I’m not sure I’ll ever be a home owner in Sydney… so travel seems like the natural alternative to be putting away for,” she says.
Being sensible with her spending habits and putting a little bit of money aside each pay day means she doesn’t feel saving is an enormous sacrifice.
“I keep an eye out on how often I eat out and keep shopping to the necessities… Now and again I’ll have a bit of a splurge, but never to the point where I’m back to square one.”
The solicitor saving for a rainy day
25-year-old Liz says she isn’t saving for anything specific, but is putting money aside for a time when she comes across a big expense.
“The most likely expenses are a home deposit (unless foiled by my love of avocado) or, probably more likely, post grad study overseas,” she says.
When Liz still lived at home, her savings system involved transferring large sums into her savings account when she noticed her everyday account was getting bigger.
“The amount I transferred was usually based on getting to a round number, rather than financial wisdom,” says Liz.
“Now that I’m living out of home, that’s not as possible as I’m obviously using a lot of that everyday account on rent and food, so it doesn’t build up.”
Despite moving out of home, Liz says she is strict when it comes to accessing her savings.
“I barely every touch my savings account, I consider it completely off limits”
The Master’s student sacrificing coffee
Amanda is a 25-year-old Master’s student living in New York City. She has been saving for a trip to Cambodia for three years.
“Travel is expensive… but it really comes down to planning,” she says.
Amanda stopped going to Starbucks everyday and instead put the $7 saved each day towards her trip. But she’s found her savings technique has had other benefits.
“It has really moved me away from coffee in general which is awesome! I feel better and drink more water,” she says.
The finance worker wanting security
25-year-old Dan works in finance and knows all too well how important having a savings plan is.
“I’ve seen the impact of credit card debt, sudden changes in work or health, and I’m aware that my retirement will probably not be funded by an age pension,” he says.
Dan says he spends conservatively, stays out of debt and is learning about investment.
“I want to have enough saved and invested so that I can live the life I want to, even if things change.”
The marketing consultant who loves travel
29-year-old Rob, along with his fiancé India, says they have decided to prioritise travel over saving for a house deposit.
“The idea of a down payment on a mortgage doesn’t seem feasible for the next little while, so we aren’t really considering this until we have some more security,” says Rob.
“We travel a lot, and considering a mortgage is out of the question, we don’t even bother and instead use it for experiences and seeing the world, which we figure will be less achievable once we have the mortgage and the kids.”
Rob says he is hesitant to enter the property market.
“With everything that is going on in the world, I just am not sure I have the confidence that property will see the same returns for our generation as it did for our folks.”
Elizabeth Pratt is a journalist and blogger based in Sydney. When she’s not working, you’ll find her relaxing in her yellow arm chair and dreaming about her next trip overseas.