More of us live week to week

Sunshine Coast Daily - - NEWS - SO­PHIE ELSWORTH

DES­TI­TUTE Aus­tralians are leav­ing them­selves vul­ner­a­ble by hav­ing no sav­ings at all and many ad­mit they are in mon­e­tary stress, alarm­ing new fig­ures re­veal.

One in seven Aus­tralians — or the equiv­a­lent to 2.6 mil­lion peo­ple — are in se­vere or high fi­nan­cial stress and have no cash stashed for a rainy day.

In­stead they are liv­ing week to week and will not be able cope if they are struck by an emer­gency that re­quires in­stant funds.

And one in three peo­ple ad­mit they are two pay pack­ets away from suf­fer­ing se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial stress if they did hap­pen to lose their job.

The new an­nual Fi­nan­cial Re­silience in Aus­tralia report re­leased last week by the Cen­tre for So­cial Im­pact in part­ner­ship with Na­tional Aus­tralia Bank, re­vealed a wor­ry­ing prob­lem.

The data com­piled by Roy Mor­gan polled more than 2000 Aus­tralians on their fi­nan­cial re­silience last year and the ris­ing cost of liv­ing com­bined with big­ger house­hold ex­penses that were pulling on purse strings.

NAB CEO An­drew Thor­burn said it was vi­tal fi­nan­cially strapped Aussies didn’t leave them­selves with no cash re­serves in case of an emer­gency.

“The cost of liv­ing is a real con­cern for many Aus­tralian house­holds so when they are hit with an un­ex­pected bill it can be dif­fi­cult to bounce back,’’ he said.

The report re­vealed that one in five peo­ple could not or did not know if they could raise $2000 in a week — an in­crease from one in eight in 2014. And just one in three Aus­tralians say they feel fi­nan­cially se­cure (31%) — a 5% de­cline on the pre­vi­ous year. The find­ings come af­ter the Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics re­vealed the av­er­age amount of house­hold debt had dou­bled in 12 years — from $94,100 in 2002-04 to $168,600 in 2015-16 which in­cludes home loan debt.

Good Shep­herd Mi­cro­fi­nance CEO Adam Mooney said that over the past five to 10 years there was no doubt in­come in­equal­ity was ris­ing and house­hold debt was up.

“There’s been a large shock to man­u­fac­tur­ing in Aus­tralia clos­ing down ... some peo­ple have been forced to take out loans to draw some stan­dard of liv­ing,” he said.

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