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The path towards becoming a homeowner can test even the most financially savvy Australians. At Great Southern Bank, our reason for being is to help all Australians own their own home, whatever their journey looks like.

The Great Southern Bank No Place Like Home report explores Australians' savings and home ownership experience across three different phases – Happily, Clever and After.

In this second phase of the report - Clever - we asked people about their financial literacy and their attitudes towards money management and home ownership. We also invited people to share how they're changing their spending and saving habits in the current economic climate.

Our Happily Clever After Sentiment Tracker looks at how confident Australians feel about managing their money. It invites conversation about how they're becoming smart savers and identifies opportunities to improve financial literacy as they chase their financial goals and home ownership dreams.

More information about the report

A word from our Chief Customer Officer

Supporting your financial goals is an important part of what we do as a customer-owned bank – from setting out on your savings journey, to taking your first step into home ownership or even buying an investment property.

At Great Southern Bank, we are focused on helping all Australians to own their own home, and overcoming the savings barriers that many encounter along the way.

In the second instalment of our Great Southern Bank No Place Like Home report, we asked 2000 Australians about their financial knowledge and what clever tools and strategies they’re adopting to get ahead financially.

The results show with knowledge, comes confidence. The same groups who rate their financial knowledge as lower – including younger Australians, renters and women –feel least confident in their ability to manage their housing costs in the current economic climate.

Read more from Megan

There is work to do to increase financial knowledge and confidence, particularly among younger Australians. Generation Z and Millennials have very different attitudes to money compared to their parents and they are increasingly calling on family and friends for advice. While this is a great starting point, it doesn’t need to be the only source.

As a bank, we believe we have an important role to play in educating you, our customers - helping you establish savings habits and arming you with tools and information to make well-informed financial decisions as you work towards home ownership or another goal.

Long-term financial security won’t look the same for everyone. However, we are focused on providing products, tools and banking features to support you at every stage of your journey. I hope the insights below spark more conversations around how we can all lift our knowledge and be clever with money.

Megan Keleher,
Chief Customer Officer, Great Southern Bank

Money. Can Australians make sense of it?

The knowledge Australians have about their finances is influenced by several factors, the most important being age, gender and their housing situation.

Our research asked people to rate their financial knowledge. Homeowners rate themselves ‘very knowledgeable’ with an average score of 6.7 out of 10. That's higher than renters (6.2), but slightly below those who have paid off their home loan (7.0). 

There's also a link to age. Baby Boomers* report the highest level of knowledge about their finances, while Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X* aren’t too far behind. Men feel slightly more aware of their money situation than women.

Whatever your money I.Q., Great Southern Bank is here to support all Australians to grow their knowledge and become confident with their finances

* Generation Z were born 1995-2009; Millennials were born 1980-1994; Generation X were born 1965-1979; Baby Boomers were born 1946-1964.

Read our media release to learn more.

Homeowners = 6.7 average

  • With a home loan = 6.2
  • No loan (own outright) = 6.6
Download our Happily Clever After Sentiment Tracker: Financial Knowledge

Changes to spending in the current economy

Across the country, cost-of-living pressures have seen people tightening their belts. However, our research found women (79%) are more concerned about this than men (68%). Women are also more likely to have changed their spending habits in response to cost-of-living pressures during the past 12 months (90%) compared to men (83%).

Entertainment, takeaway, home delivery and eating out are the areas where most men (53%) and women (64%) have changed their spending.

For women, groceries and fresh food is the second most common area where they have trimmed their spending (50%). Beauty treatments come in third (48%).

Great Southern Bank has clever tools to help you become a savvy spender and saver. Our budget planning calculator can paint a picture of your current finances. Just pop in your numbers and let our tool do the rest. While you're at it, take a look at five quick and easy tips to help you start saving.

Financial strategies to get ahead 

A solid financial strategy and being savvy with money are crucial if you're to become a home buyer.

In the past 12 months, cost-of-living pressures, inflation and higher savings rates have sparked a preference to save (where possible) instead of spend. Our research shows that a savings account is the top strategy (58%) Australians are implementing to build a home deposit or fund unexpected expenses.

Paying off debt before incurring interest is the second most popular strategy to stay on top of finances (34%). Similarly, 20% of Australians are making extra loan repayments to pay their debt down faster.

Whether it’s sharing simple hacks for saving a home deposit or helping you get closer to another financial goal with our clever banking and saving features, we're here to help Australians become even smarter savers.

How Millennials are saving

No two financial goals are the same and neither are the approaches to achieving them.

Millennials prefer to open multiple bank accounts for different goals (28%) e.g. a home deposit, a wedding and a pet. Great Southern Bank customers have access to The Boost, a clever tool that automatically transfers money into a nominated savings account with every purchase.

Some Millennials are more likely to save money by linking an offset account to their home loan (24% vs 19% for all Australians), allowing them to reduce the interest on their loan and pay it off faster.

Budgeting apps are another popular tool, with Millennials more likely to use these than other groups (21% vs 16% for all Australians). A budget is a great way to create a snapshot of your income and expenses, so you can spend and save smarter (not harder).

It’s never too late to take control of your finances and our banking experts are here to support Australians to find clever ways to save.

Changing attitudes to home ownership and money  

Our research shows how Australians think about money. Getting ahead financially is evolving with each generation.

With house prices and the amount needed for a deposit increasing, more than three times as many Millennials (36%) say they received financial help from their family to buy their first home compared to their parent's generation (11%). This trend shows no signs of abating, with almost half of Gen Z considering asking for help in the future (see graphic).

Almost a third of Millennials (30%) say they bought a property due to a fear of missing out. The belief that increasing house prices and interest rates will make it harder to buy a property creates anxiety.

At Great Southern Bank, we can help you achieve your home ownership goal. It’s never too late to open a dedicated Home Saver Account (high five for high interest!). Our guide on saving a deposit has clever tools to give you a hand or we can support you through  if saving a 20% deposit seems out of reach.

Case study: Darcy & Jordan Modina, QLD

“Owning a home had been a goal of ours for a very long time. It’s an amazing feeling to have achieved this together.”

Millennial homebuyers and Great Southern Bank customers Darcy and Jordan Modina know firsthand how hard it is to save a deposit to buy a home. When they reached out for professional advice on how to finally break into the property market, they were surprised at their options.

“It felt like we had been saving forever, so we decided to meet with a broker to understand the process. They went through all the different pathways to purchasing a home, pathways we hadn’t even considered,” Darcy said.

The couple qualified for the Australian Government’s First Home Guarantee, which allows eligible homebuyers to purchase a property with as little as 5% deposit without paying Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). The extra support provided the boost they needed to take the step into home ownership and they found a home that ticked all their boxes in Kuraby, in Brisbane’s south.

“This house is our foot into property market,” Darcy said. “The First Home Guarantee was an enormous help, as we didn’t have a full 20 per cent deposit.

Asking for advice on money matters 

As the saying goes, it’s not what you know but who you know. Our research found that, in the past 12 months, Australians were most likely to rely on their family and friends for wise words about money. This is particularly true for Gen Z and Millennials. A smaller group of Australians had engaged professionals like an accountant (19%), their current bank (16%), a financial adviser (11%) or a mortgage broker (11%) within the past year.

Among Millennials, only one in three are seeking out professional financial advice, although they do generally have a saver’s mindset (63%), preferring to save than spend.

Another one in three have a more passive 'set and forget' approach, while one in five leave the finances to another household member.

Great Southern Bank has plenty of tools and tips to help you build confidence in managing your money. Whether it’s creating a budget, setting and tracking a goal, or keeping an old-fashioned money jar, it’s never too late to learn how to be clever with your money.

Other reports in the series

9 minutes

Happiness & housing (November 2023)

Investigating how home ownership connects to happiness.

Helpful resources
Government support schemes
Saving for a deposit
Buying your first home
Home loans
Savings accounts
Community partnerships

For more information

Read our media release.

For inquiries, interview requests or for permission to cite the research, please contact:

Laurel Lee Blain
Senior Manager, External Communications
Michael O’Toole
Manager, Corporate Communications
Important Information

The Great Southern Bank No Place Like Home Report is a 3-part series, with online surveys to be conducted in three waves across the year. The research was conducted by The Clever Stuff , in partnership with Pure Profile , surveying 1,991 Australians aged 18-65 who are nationally representative of the Australian population by age, gender and location. The survey was conducted from 22 November to 2 December 2023.