I wish the word ‘fit’ would stop being applied to so many aspects of my life. I could almost handle the bit where I had to be physically fit. That doesn’t necessarily mean I make any wholehearted attempt to pull on the sweats and pound the footpath, but I understand it’s part of my life now.
Now I’m meant to be financially fit. That’s right- my finances are up for a makeover. Suddenly I envision my bank accounts, decked out in appalling 1980s headbands, running up stairs a-la-Rocky, complete with inspirational music in the background.
My savings account beating it’s little saving hands against meat in an abbatoir. Speaking in a mumble that no one can understand but is apparently dialogue. You get the idea.
Data from a Newspoll survey, commissioned by Bankwest, gives us the breakdown of Australia’s financial fitness:
- 49%- The Super Savvy Savers. The kings of saving, you guys have saving goals and you make them come true by wonderful planning and long-term vision. Everyone wants to be you and consequently thinks mean things about you. Jealousy can be a terrible thing.
- 15%- The Short Sighted Savers. You’ve got the chutzpah for it, but not the vision. You’re fickle, which means you don’t save regularly. Commitment therapy might be called for here. Or, alternatively, you could spend less time slagging off the super savers and actually concentrate on your own finances for a change.
- 21%- The Sometimes Savers: Indefatigable is not a word that applies to you. First sign of trouble, and the saving plan (if you have one) goes out the window. You try and eliminate all super savers from your friendship circle because their sheer excellence make you feel guilty about the plasma TV you bought on credit.
- 12%- The Shabby Savers: You know who you are. The days before a pay cheque are full of baked beans and walking to avoid bus fares. ‘Saving’ is something that Superman does, and conversations with super savers can be somewhat stilted once they realise you’re serious about consuming cigarettes and cigarettes only as a weight loss program.
Financial fitness obviously is managing to get from ‘shabby’ or ‘sometimes’ (wherever you fit into the equation) and moving on up to become a super saver, and the envy of all your friends.
The same study revealed that 12% of people rate having a good social life as being a top priority over good finances. Most people judged having good physical fitness as more important than having good finances.
Why are people surprised by these findings? As Ross Gittins elaborated (and let’s admit it, the man’s an expert on these things), empirical research has proven the things that make us happy are seeing friends, going out and seeing new things. Of course we rate them highly. But we put in the hours and save money, why? Well, according to Ross it’s got a lot to do with our desire system. We always want to improve on where we are and where we’re going. So tap into that biological urge, and start mounting the financial Maslow pyramid towards being a Sooper Dooper Saver.
And when someone starts to tease you, just say you can’t help it – it’s an evolution thing.
What’s your saving personality?
Where do you fall into?