New research from Westpac shows saving for a house is more important than a relationship | Ralph Lauren

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Australians are more focused on their financial goals than love as the economic woes from the coronavirus pandemic make people prioritise saving.

A new survey commissioned by Westpac found financial aspirations outranked relationship goals for the coming year, with a large proportion aiming to increase their available cash and inject more into their investment portfolio.

The research conducted by the major bank discovered 52 per cent of respondents planned on building on their savings, while 35 per cent were aiming to buy a new property.

About 15 per cent of participants said they were saving for their first home and were aiming to accrue close to $27,000 this year towards a mortgage deposit.

The COVID-19 economic downturn has shifted spending attitudes and fostered a saving culture.

According to Westpac, two-thirds or 62 per cent of Australians accessed some form of financial support during the pandemic.

Westpac’s Kathryn Carpenter said the heightened awareness of financial security would persist.

“Everyone’s excited to leave 2020 and its challenges behind, and as we face into the new year, we’re seeing many Australians determined to start off on the right foot and get on top of their finances,” she said.

“This builds on the shift we saw from our own customers during the pandemic towards building positive savings habits, with use of savings goals increasing from the year prior where saving for a rainy day ranked as one of the most common aspirations.”

The bank also noted younger Australians were driving the shift, with a number of millennial respondents saying they had cut back on additional expenses such food delivery and streaming subscriptions.

Other spending intentions included saving for a future holiday and buying a new car.

A number of respondents also said they were intending to save for a wedding after the vast majority of celebrations were stifled.

For the younger generation, home ownership was the top priority, followed by a future holiday and paying for study and education.

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