Tasmanians have less in the bank

ALMOST 40 per cent of Tasmanian households have less than $1000 in savings, an ME Bank report has revealed.

The percentage is greater than any other state or territory in the country, and well above the national average of 28 per cent.

More than half of Tasmanian households surveyed had less than $5000 in savings.

Leading Australian economist Saul Eslake said the high percentage of Tasmanians with little or no savings was directly linked to a high proportion of low-income households in the state.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show Tasmania has the lowest mean average household income in Australia - about $400 a week less than the national average.

"Because Tasmania has an above-average number of low- income households, there are probably more households than elsewhere in the country who aren't saving anything," Mr Eslake said.

"I suspect Tasmania has a higher than average proportion of people who are having difficulty meeting expenses."

Mr Eslake said although national household savings figures were at a two-decade high, Tasmanians were less able to save than people in other parts of the country.

"Among many of those who do save something, it probably does really imply going without something they would probably prefer to have if they could," he said.

ME Bank consulting economist Jeff Oughton said a lack of savings left households vulnerable during financial emergencies.

"People then need to overcome these situations by selling off other assets, asking friends for support or turning to the government for help," Mr Oughton said.

"We're seeing a little bit of people starting to be less cautious and saving less now the share and housing markets are starting to recover, but we are also seeing people over- spending."

Households surveyed ranked the level of savings or cash on hand among their three biggest worries about household finances.


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