‘Does anyone know?’: Young Aussie asks money question everyone wants answered

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A young Aussie has gone viral for asking a big money question that pretty much everyone wants the answer to, with her plea striking a chord with her fellow Gen Zers.

Aili, a Melbourne university student, recently took to TikTok to ask other young people how much they really have in their savings accounts.

She explained she wasn’t interested in judging people based on how much or how little people have saved, but just wanted to know if she was “on track” financially.

“I am 19 turning 20, and I have no idea. From what I have heard, some of my friends have got over $20,000 and others have literally $40 to their name,” she said.

“All I want to know is what the average is because I want to know if I am on track. And obviously no one is going to go around saying ‘I’ve got this much’ but I just want an indication. Does anyone know where we should be?”

Savings question young Aussies want answered

Speaking to news.com.au, Aili said she thinks now more than ever young Australians are finding it difficult to put money aside due to how expensive everything has become.

She also claimed that no one knows exactly how much money they should be trying to save.

“There’s conflicting information on the internet stating that everyone should save 25 per cent of their income, or that they should be putting $100 a week away, or that everyone should invest their savings instead of leaving it in a bank account,” she said.

“With all of these statements, it’s hard to know how much we should be saving, making it difficult to know if you’re keeping up or drastically ‘falling behind’.”

The video sparked a major reaction, gaining more than 355,000 views and 2000 comments in a matter of days.

People were quick to share exactly how much money was in their bank accounts, with figures ranging from $100,000 to $8.

“I’ve been working part-time for seven years and saved over $100,000 it’s possible but hard,” one person said.

“26 – $111,657.31. I live at home, have no car, pack lunches, stopped buying clothes excessively after 19, go out to eat at least once a month,” another wrote.

“I just transferred the last of my savings over to my normal account so I could buy a redbull lol,” one person revealed.

Another person said they were 23 and were living pay cheque to pay cheque, but admitted they “do buy a lot of things I don’t have to”.

One 29-year-old said they had saved up $80,000 for a house deposit but were now “too scared to use it” because they had grown accustomed to the security of having that money to fall back on if anything happened.

Other people advised Aili to keep at least three to six months worth of living expenses in her savings in case she gets injured or loses her job.

Others said an emergency fund of at least $1000 was more reasonable and one person claimed so long as the 19-year-old doesn’t get in credit card debt or take out any loans, she will be way ahead for her age.

Aili said she was “shocked” by the amount of responses she received, saying the feedback was incredibly valuable.

“I think that’s these responses have been very helpful and positive as they have shown that there is no ‘right path’, which has definitely calmed my nerves and made me feel much more confident about my future,” she said.

Finder’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker has given an insight into just how different each generation’s savings accounts look.

The research found Gen Z Aussies have $15,061 in savings on average, saving around $818 each month.

This is compared to millennials who have just over $28,600 and save on average $855 per month.

Baby boomers have, on average, $52,923 stashed away, the stats showed.

Sarah Megginson, personal finance expert at Finder, told news.com.au there is a big difference when it comes to the bank accounts of younger and older Australians, and it has a lot to do with lifestyles and being at different life stages.

“Baby boomers have a lifetime of working, saving and hopefully building wealth behind them, whereas younger people are at the beginning of that journey,” she said.

“Student loans and a high cost of living can make saving money a challenge for Gen Z.”

Ms Megginson said there is a siginificant number of Australians, particularly young people, who are living month to month now, with many being forced to dip into their savings to pay bills and standard living costs.

For those finding that they are running out of money each pay cycle, Ms Megginson suggested taking a closer look at where their money is going.

“Create a budget so you can see what you’re spending on wants versus needs and you can make a plan from there. Even very small amounts can make a difference when it comes to saving – if you can manage to save $25 a week, you’ll have over $1000 stashed away in 12 months without even accounting for interest,” she said.

“With interest rates high at the minute, the best thing you can do is stash your money in a high interest savings account where you can earn at least 5 per cent in the current market.”

Aili said that, in her experience, saving money has always been tricky, but she has noticed it has become increasingly difficult in the past 18 months.

“Being in uni, there are only so many shifts that you can commit to each week, making it difficult to find workplaces that accommodate this,” she said.

“If you do find a job that’s accepting of your limited availability, you’re only able to work so many hours without feeling burnt out.”

The 19-year-old revealed she is constantly been told by older family members and friends that she should be enjoying her late teens and spending more time going out instead of worrying about work.

And while she would love to, she said even just going out with her friends has become too expensive.

“Drinks costing $20 each, plus a meal ranging from $25-$40, then either taking an Uber home, or spending $5 each way on public transport. It’s hard to have a fun and enjoyable night out for less than $100, and that’s only the minimum,” she said.

After reading all the advice on her video, Aili said she was going to aim to save enough money so she has a few months in savings as a “buffer” in case of an emergency.

“My advice is to try not to worry about how much others are saving, and to only put away as much as you’re comfortable with,” she said.

“Otherwise you’ll find yourself reaching into your savings, with your balance quickly decreasing.”