It’s official - 2020 was the year we whipped our finances into shape

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They say you learn something new everyday, but according to new research from Rabobank many Aussies spent the year picking up some new money habits. 

Around 31% of Aussies made the effort to regularly save each month of this year, while a massive 90% say they now have a savings buffer, according to the Rabobank Financial Health Barometer shows.

Aussies that were regularly saving also said they stashed an average of $978 a month and that their buffer could last four months.

However, for some households, 2020 was a year to cut back. According to Rabobank, 3.7 million Aussie households experienced a decrease in income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This prompted many to assess their spending across a range of areas, like clothing (40%), entertainment (44%), food (23%) and even delaying larger purchases (23%). 

“Many of us have had to make changes to our spending and saving habits this year as we’ve grappled with the impact of the pandemic. But as we start to focus on a new year, it’s worthwhile to review the strategies we’ve put in place to ensure they are aligned to not only meeting short term needs but longer term goals also,” said Glenn Wealands, head of client experience, Rabobank Australia.

Students and part-time workers left financially vulnerable in 2020

From virtual graduations to working from home, there was not one aspect of life COVID-19 did not touch, including the average Aussie income. 

The Rabobank survey showed that students and part-time workers were most likely to have seen their income reduced in 2020 by 44% and 43%, respectively. 

Gen Z (36%) and Gen Y (38%) were also likely to have been affected.

Meanwhile, by state, those in VIC (41%), TAS (36%) and NSW (35%) were most affected. 

In order to remain financially afloat, 15% of Aussies were forced to dip into their savings, access their super early (9%), reduce their voluntary contributions (6%) or scrap their health insurance (6%). 

Almost half (39%) of Aussies reportedly also took up assistance from government initiatives, like Job Seeker and Job Keeper

“It’s been a tough year, but we’ve weathered the storm well as a nation, and if ever there was a time that we deserve to reward ourselves, this is it,” said Wealands. 

“But as we spend a well-earned break with family and friends over the holiday period and turn our thoughts to 2021, let’s make sure to keep up the positive money habits many of us have formed in 2020, setting us up for a financially fit future.” 

So if you’re keen to keep the financial ball rolling in 2021, you’re going to need a top savings account. 

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