In this paper from the Transitions and Risk: New Directions in Social Policy conference, Roslyn Russell describes a pilot program developed by ANZ Bank and the BSL, aimed at assisting families on low-income to reach a savings goal - saving for their child's education - and develop a savings habit. In this pilot, eligible participants nominate a savings goal that relates to secondary school educational costs. The program includes three major components: matched savings at a ratio of $2 for every $1 saved (maximum matched amount is $2000): financial literacy education; and case management.
The program has been in operation since July 2003, and is in response to dramatically decline in savings over the past two decades. The savings ratio for the December quarter of 2003 was -2.7%. In addition to this alarming figure, the assets held by people aged 25-34 has dropped by almost 40 per cent compared with the same age bracket in 1993.
There is substantial evidence that shows strong links between low levels of savings, low levels of education and low levels of financial literacy. The Saver Plus program aspires to confront these realities through a hands-on educational experience that bridges the gap between cultural poverty and sound asset management. The interim evaluation by RMIT has been completed and further reports will be completed in mid-2005.