RMIT research demonstrates how lower-income and vulnerable Australians are improving their long term financial wellbeing through active savings and financial education programs.
Helping vulnerable Australians improve their financial wellbeing
For low-income Australians, saving enough money to provide educational basics such as school uniforms for their children, or increasing their own employability through education can seem out of reach.
Improving the financial literacy of these vulnerable Australians provides the backbone to improving their financial wellbeing and educational opportunities for themselves and their families.
Collaborating with ANZ and the Brotherhood of St Laurence, RMIT’s Roslyn Russell has definitively shown the long term improvement in the financial health of lower-income Australians who are involved in matched-savings programs such as Saver Plus.
The first program of its kind in Australia, Saver Plus was developed by ANZ and the Brotherhood of St Laurence to encourage saving for educational expenses. With more than 36,000 participants since 2003, it is the largest and longest running savings program in the world.
The program involves participants making regular deposits into an account, then after ten months ANZ matches the amount up to $500. The program also involves financial education workshops.
Russell’s research showed that even up to seven years after completing Saver Plus, 87 per cent of participants were still saving the same amount or more, demonstrating the long-lasting effect of such schemes.
Of those participants, 73 per cent said they were now better able to provide for their families, highlighting the broader impact of the change.
The research also demonstrated marked improvements in the financial wellbeing score of participants, increasing to average score of 64 out of 100 following the program compared to the national average score of just 59.
Russell’s research ensures the ongoing success of the Saver Plus program and its role in financial education for vulnerable Australians.