Working paper

Household saving behaviour in Australia

15 Jun 1999

A paucity of reliable Australian household data means that very little is known about household saving behaviour in Australia, despite the importance of understanding saving behaviour from a policy perspective. This paper aims to contribute to our understanding of Australian household saving—and saving intentions—by using the Melbourne Institute Household Saving Survey and the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Survey of Consumer Sentiment to consider the motives for Australian household saving and the form in which household savings are held. The information presented here, while relatively simple in nature, can go some way to improving our knowledge of motivations for household saving patterns. It can therefore assist in assessing the likely impact on savings of transitory (such as the economic downturn in Asia) and permanent (such as the introduction of a GST) changes in the economic circumstances facing Australian households. The evidence suggests that there are a range of motivations for saving that are in effect at any one time, ranging from a life-cycle style hypothesis, to precautionary motives and leisure.  

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