Fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy con­cerns as ser­vices exit the re­gion

Midwest Times - - NEWS - Tra­di­tional fi­nan­cial ser­vices are be­com­ing hard to come by in re­gional WA Tom Zaun­mayr

The ex­o­dus of bricks-and-mor­tar fi­nan­cial ser­vices from re­gional WA is leav­ing res­i­dents un­sure where to turn for ad­vice, ac­cord­ing to Com­pare the Mar­ket bank­ing gen­eral man­ager Rod At­trill.

A Com­pare the Mar­ket-com­mis­sioned Deloitte Ac­cess Eco­nomics re­port into Aus­tralia’s fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy has found nearly twothirds of peo­ple sur­veyed in re­gional Aus­tralia fell into the low­est cat­e­gory.

Mr At­trill said house­hold fees and charges and lack of ac­cess to fi­nan­cial ser­vices in re­gional WA were among the worst in the coun­try.

“Cer­tainly in smaller towns in the South West and up north those ser­vices are be­com­ing very lim­ited, and that is a chal­lenge,” he said.

“Ed­u­ca­tion is the big thing. Peo­ple in ru­ral ar­eas can cer­tainly use var­i­ous on­line tools to ed­u­cate them­selves and be just as fi­nan­cially lit­er­ate as peo­ple in city ar­eas.

“I think some­times they don’t feel they have the sup­port to do that be­cause those face-to-face ser­vices are mov­ing on.”

WA scored an aver­age fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy rate of 51.5 per cent, just above the na­tional aver­age of 51.2.

The west had the high­est per cent of re­spon­dents con­cerned about job se­cu­rity and the high­est rate of peo­ple not con­fi­dent of their abil­ity to re­tire at 65.

Mr At­trill said he ex­pected that to change quickly as the State’s econ­omy picked up.

“The other thing good for WA was dif­fer­ence in scores be­tween fe­males and males was quite good; the gen­der gap in WA is closer than any other States,” he said.

“Even if you bud­get for a week or fort­night to un­der­stand where the in­come to your house­hold has gone. . .it will help peo­ple un­der­stand what they can do and what they can change.

“It is one of those things that is a bit bor­ing, but putting the time aside to fo­cus on it will pay off in spades down the track.”

Mr At­trill said com­par­ing loans, par­tic­u­larly home loans due to out-of-cy­cle in­ter­est rate changes, was worth­while for those look­ing to save money.

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