NAB’s branchless subsidiary UBank has released new research that found Australians are withdrawing $31 billion from their savings accounts annually.
The Science of Spending and Saving Experiment, the first in a two-part research project, also found that two million Australians have less than $1,000 in savings.
Thirty-five per cent of Australians do not have a dedicated savings account and 46 per cent do not have a weekly budget.
In addition, one-third of Australians are living from hand to mouth, with all of their money spent by payday.
Ubank also partnered with the University of Melbourne neuroscientist Dr Phil Harris to conduct brainwave experiments to see how Australians interact with their ‘future self’.
During the course of the experiment, 72 per cent of participants shifted their mindset towards wanting to save versus spending money.
There was also a 150 per cent increase in attention paid to the moment of choice between saving cash versus spending it.
“This shows that when we are in touch with our future selves, we invest more mental effort into creating a positive financial future rather than wanting to have immediate rewards,” Dr Harris said.
“When putting participants through the first round of financial scenarios, the results showed that it took a large sum of money to tempt people into depositing money versus spending it.
“But once they engaged with their future self, it took a significantly lower amount to tempt participants into wanting to save money.
“This shows that while our natural default setting is to seek immediate rewards, there is a way to train your brain to become financially smarter.”