If you've started 2023 with a renewed energy to manage your money more effectively, then welcome to the club.
Personally, one of the things I find most enlightening when it comes to savings goals is hearing from other people who have similar financial circumstances to me — and what they've done to improve their financial wellbeing.
Which is why, when one Aussie boldly asked others to share exactly what they had in their bank accounts, my interest was piqued.
In the answers, a range of Australians with all kinds of different financial circumstances shared the details of their bank accounts — you can read the full list here.
For clarity: 'Super' refers to Superannuation — a long-term financial investment that usually begins building when you start work — as Australian employers must pay 10% of your salary into a super fund account for you.
'HECS' stands for the Higher Education Contribution Scheme — a government loan to help pay for your university or higher education study.
Here, we've collated a sample of responses from couples, teens, singles in their 20s, plus those over 30.
1. Couple, late twenties, combined income of $162K, $200K in savings.
"We’re still renting. We’re waiting on permanent residency so we can save a pretty penny when we purchase. We make $13.5K per month and spend about $5K each month. We both try to maximise our income, but I wish I could say our mental health was as nice looking as our savings."
2. Couple, combined income of $180K, $35K in savings.
"Two kids under three. Mortgage of $370K and HECS debt of around $50K. Have $35K in savings. Should be able to pump that hard when my wife goes back to work."
3. Couple, 36, combined income of $250K, $90K in savings.
"I'm 36, married with a child. Combined, we earn about $250K, not including bonuses, we have $90K in savings, $700K in mortgages (used to be $1.1million a few weeks ago). Day care is about $164 a day, but only for another five days and then that all goes into savings as well. No other debt.
I am self-taught in IT and my wife has her MBA. Until we had our child (five years ago), we had no savings and a ton of credit card debt on top of our mortgages. One day, I came home from a work trip and I bought The Barefoot Investor and my wife had done the same thing. We were both on the same wavelength, which made getting ahead so much easier."
4. Couple, 34 + 27, combined income of $105K, have $300K combined in shares.
"Plus, $70K equity in our house and $100K combined in super. Moved out to Australia eight years ago from the UK with $500 dollars to my name.
We're planning on leaving the shares long-term and eventually the dividends will help us either go part-time or pay for a good family holiday once a year. Life is too short to work full time until your mid 60s and I'm paranoid about not making it there!"
5. Couple, 51, semi-retired, $130K in savings,
"Married, own our own home worth around $1.3m (no mortgage). $130K in the bank and $700K in super. When we were earning two incomes, we lived off one income and the other went straight into the mortgage. Salary sacrificed into super as well and made lump-sum contributions if either of us got a bonus.
One income went into an offset account, and the other went into the mortgage — we were effectively paying almost double on our mortgage payments, while offsetting the whole thing.
We'd also regularly 'trade up' on our property — we'd renovate and then look for another home in a good area that needed a little work. Not too much, but enough to increase its value. We'd ensure that the mortgage was about the same that we were already paying.
We'd purchase that property, do it up a little, then sell again after about five years to ensure that the value had gone up sufficiently.
That said, we have no kids, don't smoke, don't wear 'designer' clothes, and only have one vehicle — we purchase our vehicles outright, so we have no outstanding debt.
We still manage to socialise well though and often have friends to our home to entertain — we're not social outcasts, we just don't squander our money on stupid shit.
We don't have the latest phones, the only membership we have is a gym membership, not extravagant shoppers, don't take yearly overseas holidays etc.
Now, we can afford to relax and wind-back a bit — go part-time with work, semi-retire early and enjoy our money while we're still relatively young."
6. Male, 16, retail job, $10K in savings.
"Saved up $10K, however, a car will soon be taking a significant chunk of this, plus the advantage of not paying for rent/food makes it easier."
7. Female, 29, $95K salary, $47K in savings.
"I moved to Australia from the US in 2019 and I can't believe how much easier it is to save here — I've now got $47,000 in my savings, which I honestly couldn't have dreamt of doing back home.
I put that down to free medical, better wages, quality groceries at decent prices and a better mentality of getting out and about for fun, instead of just drinking/eating out/wasting money.
Hoping to buy a one-bedroom apartment by the end of this year!"
8. Male, 28, $80K salary, $10K in savings.
"Recently separated, solo renter, $80K salary with the government, $13K invested in ETFs, $3K in shares, $10K savings, $38K HECS debt, $28K super, no car."
9. Male, 29, $175K salary, $10K in savings.
"I've also got $115K in super, own a house with $600K debt, plus two cars. My daughter is in childcare, so saving is HARD. Partner and I travelled for two years and evaporated our savings in our early 20s, before we got home, saved and bought our house two years ago."
10. Male, 24, $130K salary, $90K in savings.
"Renting in Sydney, no property, earning $130K, with $90K in savings, $22K in super and $24K in HECS debt. I don't travel and have no social life..."
11. Male, 19, $55K salary, $34K in savings.
"I've got about $34K in shares and saving, earn about $55K a year in retail. I put most of my spare money into saving investments. Trying to grow a bit of a safety net as I work out what I actually want to do."
12. Female, 28, $80K salary, $41K in savings.
"I’m 28, single, and earn $80K, but with tax benefits due to salary packaging (net pay equivalent to someone on $88K).
I’ve got $41K in savings but just paid nearly $20K to polish off the last of my HELP debt (to increase mortgage affordability as per my broker and the bank — my minimum repayments were disproportionately high in comparison to income due to salary packaging) so my savings have peaked around $60K.
Currently building a house so my savings will likely halve soon as I contribute more to my deposit and my loan goes ‘live’ (already contributed some to deposits as well).
Currently I’m saving about 50% of my net pay but this won’t be for long as I start paying part of a construction loan. Calculated that I will be able to keep saving, just not as much."
13. Female, 29, retail job, $1M in savings.
"My girlfriend (29) is an enigma of some sort. She left school at 16 to work at the supermarket. She saved every penny to build a house, then built an investment property. Then another property at the start of COVID-19. I told her she was crazy — the world is gonna end.
She had three homes to her name and just sold two of them a few months ago, with $1 million in the bank after paying her taxes.
Did I mention she still works at a supermarket? Meanwhile, I have a PHD to my name, and not much more.
She is fundamentally different to me in this way — I’m mostly paralysed by fear of what might go wrong and the news around me. But she has an intuition which she trusts. Her temperament is always calm. It’s worked out for her that’s for sure."
14. Female, 28, $98K salary, $50K in savings.
"I’m 28 and have $50K in savings, plus about $6K tied up in shares. I’m in a relationship, rent by myself and earn $98K working full time for the government.
It took me about four years of working in different roles in the public sector. I started out as 3/4 Administration Officer after I finished uni and was earning $68K at the time and worked my way up.
I pay $400/week in rent in the Inner West of Sydney. For my area, that’s pretty cheap for a one bedroom with a parking spot. I know I could save a lot of money if I lived in a share house, but I value my sanity and space too much. The only other person I will be moving in with in the future will be my partner."
15. Male, 29, $92K salary, $60K in savings.
"I earn about $92K in a Federal agency, with about $60K in savings. I rent and am generally clueless about what to do with my savings besides hoarding it like a chipmunk. I do not like the idea of just dropping all my savings into a deposit. I still want to travel, build savings and enjoy some things."
16. Female, 35, $170K salary, $65K in savings.
"I'm single, with no kids. Earn $170K, plus super. I have $65K in savings, $75K in super, plus £25 UK pension. No debts. Travelled a lot and lived overseas, no regrets. Took most of 2022 off to battle depression, but the days are looking a lot brighter now. Looking to buy first property in Melbourne this year."
17. Female, 40, business owner, $200K in savings.
"I’m almost 40. Single mum. I don’t really know how much I earn, because I run a business, so I take out dividends. I have just under $2 million in mortgage debt, spread over two investment properties. They are prob worth $2.7 million. I have $350K in super and about $200K equity in my business account, plus $40K in shares. I'm more over-leveraged than is comfy, but servicing everything ok right now."
18. Female, 30, nurse, $3K in savings.
"I have a $6,000 bank loan. I pay $1,200 a month in rent."
19. Female, 31, $68K salary, $10K in savings.
"I just bought my first home. Earning $68K a year and I have $10K aside (plus $4K emergency money and $6K for bills, set aside in advance). Five years ago, I was living pay check to pay check. Next goal is $12K and maybe learn how to start investing!"
20. And finally: Male, 33, $95K salary, $60K in savings.
"I've also got $350K in liquid investments. Renter. No house, no car. Pitiful super.
To explain these numbers a bit for those curious, I moved abroad for about six years after undergrad (graduated at 23). This is why my super sucks. When abroad, I just paid that country's taxes.
How I have $350K in assets? I saved around $100K prior to 2019 and went pretty hard into stocks (DCA) over 2019–2020 and got lucky during the COVID boom.
That's also why I don't have a car. Sold it when I went abroad and didn't bother buying one when I got back because I didn't really need it."