Discussing money matters is never easy, but new research from ME Bank has found that Australians are having more conversations about their money than they were before the coronavirus pandemic. 

The survey of 1,000 Australians found that one in two of those surveyed are discussing their finances more than they were pre-COVID, while 71% attributed their increased financial conversations to the economic impact of the pandemic. 

More than a quarter (26%) said they’ve felt they need to improve their financial knowledge, suggesting the COVID crisis has motivated Aussies to take more of an interest in their finances.

The research also found that it's the younger generations who are leading the charge with money conversations. About 70% of Gen Z and 71% of Gen Y are discussing financial issues - nearly 20% more than the national average.

Need somewhere to store cash and earn interest? The table below features introductory savings accounts with some of the highest interest rates on the market.

Provider

4000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
  • Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening
  • No account keeping fees
  • No minimum balance

High Interest Savings Account (< $250k)

  • Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening
  • No account keeping fees
  • No minimum balance
010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
  • Earn up to 5.40% pa by depositing $1,000 in the previous month
  • No account fees
  • Easy access to your money

Saver Account (<$250k)

  • Earn up to 5.40% pa by depositing $1,000 in the previous month
  • No account fees
  • Easy access to your money
4000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
  • A high-interest online savings account with no monthly fees, easy withdrawals and award-winning digital banking
  • No withdrawal notice periods or interest rate penalties

Savings Account (Amounts < $250k)

  • A high-interest online savings account with no monthly fees, easy withdrawals and award-winning digital banking
  • No withdrawal notice periods or interest rate penalties
4000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
  • For deposit amounts $0 - $49,999
  • New ING personal savings customers receive an introductory bonus 0.50% p.a. variable kick starter rate for the first 4 months on balances up to $500,000.
  • Reverts to variable ongoing rate. T&Cs apply.

Savings Accelerator (Amounts < $50000)

  • For deposit amounts $0 - $49,999
  • New ING personal savings customers receive an introductory bonus 0.50% p.a. variable kick starter rate for the first 4 months on balances up to $500,000.
  • Reverts to variable ongoing rate. T&Cs apply.
010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
  • Deposit at least $1,000+ each month from an external source
  • Make 5 or more eligible transactions
  • Grow your savings balance each month

Savings Maximiser (<$100k)

  • Deposit at least $1,000+ each month from an external source
  • Make 5 or more eligible transactions
  • Grow your savings balance each month
02000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
No monthly fees
  • Download the App to open your account
  • Get better visibility of your spending within App!
  • Deposit $200 per month to activate bonus interest
No monthly fees

Save Account

  • Download the App to open your account
  • Get better visibility of your spending within App!
  • Deposit $200 per month to activate bonus interest
020000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

HomeME Savings Account ($0 - $100,000)

    02001$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

    Growth Saver ($1 - $25k)

      010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
      For customers aged 14-35 years
      For customers aged 14-35 years

      Future Saver Account ( < $50k)

        05001$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
        • Maximum Age - 24

        Goal Saver

        • Maximum Age - 24
        010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

        Boost Saver

          00.011$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

          Reward Saver Account (31 years +) ($0-$100k)

            01000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

            Bonus Saver Account (Amounts < $100k)

              0201$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

              Reward Saver Kick Start (Amounts ≤ $1m)

                00.010$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                Life (< 30 years) (Monthly deposit)

                  5000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                  NetBank Saver

                    000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                    ANZ Save

                      050$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                      Young Saver Account

                        0501$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                        Save up

                          02000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                          Bonus Saver (<$1 Million)

                            Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

                            All products with a link to a product provider’s website have a commercial marketing relationship between us and these providers. These products may appear prominently and first within the search tables regardless of their attributes and may include products marked as promoted, featured or sponsored. The link to a product provider’s website will allow you to get more information or apply for the product. By de-selecting “Show online partners only” additional non-commercialised products may be displayed and re-sorted at the top of the table. For more information on how we’ve selected these “Sponsored”, “Featured” and “Promoted” products, the products we compare, how we make money, and other important information about our service, please click here. Rates correct as of June 15, 2024. View disclaimer.

                            The money topics being discussed the most were savings (68%), household spending (53%), bills (51%), JobKeeper and JobSeeker (28%).

                            Buying or selling property was the least discussed topic, followed by debt.

                            ME General Manager Personal Banking, Claudio Mazzarella said one silver lining to come out of the coronavirus crisis is that it's made Australians more aware of their finances. 

                            “While the economic impact of COVID-19 has been a huge challenge for many Australian households, it has heightened our need to better understand our money, particularly among young Australians, who have not faced a crisis of this nature in their lifetime," Mr Mazzarella said.

                            ME’s survey also revealed that Australians prefer to talk about money with those they're closest to rather than with a professional.

                            Partners or significant others topped the list (62%) followed by family members such as parents or siblings (48%) and friends (35%). Less than 10% said they would speak to their bank or a financial expert about money matters.

                            “We’re of course more likely to have these types of personal conversations with those we know and trust, but it’s smart to also consider speaking with a financial expert where possible,” Mr Mazzarella said.

                            More than half (52%) of Australians surveyed said they have taken action to improve their financial situation during COVID-19 by cutting back on their spending, while a third (33%) said they have set up a budget.

                            “The numbers show that many will come out of this pandemic with stronger personal finance skills, enabling them to make good decisions with their money and hopefully bounce back when things pick up. Despite the setbacks, some may even be in a better position than they were pre-COVID-19,” Mr Mazzarella said.

                            Queenslanders living without any savings

                            But despite this, new research from RACQ Bank has revealed that nearly 30% of Queenslanders don't have any savings or a financial safety net. 

                            RACQ Bank spokesperson Lucinda Ross said the findings were shocking, but not surprising given the economic impact from COVID.

                            “We’ve heard some heartbreaking stories from our members about redundancies, being stood down or having to tighten their budget this year,” Ms Ross said.

                            “These issues can have massive long-term ramifications for households, and while hardship programs to defer repayments can help, it’s really important to make sure you have a safety net you can fall back on.

                            “For those who have built a safety net, nearly 40% report it won’t be enough to get them out of a tricky situation.”

                            Ms Ross said those who can afford to should start putting away some money into their savings to support them.

                            “If you have a few extra dollars left over at the end of the fortnight, put it away into a savings account so you can start building security for your family," Ms Ross said. 

                            “While it’s recommended to have three months of living expenses put away, don’t get thrown off by the big number, just get started and build what you can.

                            "It’s worth having a look around your home too to see if there are any extra items you could sell, and check your superannuation insurances to understand what you’re covered for in the case of redundancy or financial hardship."