Wary WA savers lead nation in banking financial safety net, Bankwest Home Truths survey shows

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Daniel NewellThe West Australian
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Two in five were planning to use the savings to spend big in the year ahead.
Camera IconTwo in five were planning to use the savings to spend big in the year ahead. Credit: SooMountain/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Cashed-up West Australians are putting more of their money away for a rainy day than anyone else in Australia, despite the State experiencing fewer lockdowns and COVID-19 outbreaks.

Data from Bankwest shows the number of WA savers is on the rise, with about two-thirds of people having built a financial safety net over the three months to the end of December.

Two in five were planning to use the savings to spend big in the year ahead. But the survey of more than 1800 people across the country found the key driver was to have cash in reserve for emergencies. A quarter of people in WA said they wanted a buffer to cover unforeseen circumstances — 5 per cent higher than the national average and up more than 10 per cent from a similar survey at the end of 2020.

Bankwest chief customer officer Paul Vivian said the pandemic had created an unprecedented period of uncertainty.

“While other States have grappled with COVID on a near-daily basis, WA’s relative isolation and freedom over the past two years has potentially provided people the opportunity to consider safety nets more than those elsewhere,” Mr Vivian said.

“We also know from national data the relatively unaffected way of life for many sectors has had WA’s economy perform stronger than any other State, which provides that opportunity for people to not only save but spend.”

But Mr Vivian cautioned there were also many West Australians in potentially vulnerable financial positions who would need to be supposed when WA’s borders reopen.

Just over 30 per cent said they would have enough savings to cover their costs for up to three months if they had no income, while 20 per cent said they could live off their savings for more than a year — on par with national figures.

Almost one in five people in WA had no savings and women were almost twice as likely as men to have no financial safety net.

The bank’s latest Home Truths survey revealed people planned to spend big on new vehicles, household items and new homes.

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