We’re quiet on cash

Fi­nan­cial wor­ries have made Aussies give up on their dreams, but they don’t want to talk about it, writes An­thony Keane

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

AL­MOST one- third of Australians never talk about money – with any­one – and more than half have given up on a per­sonal dream for fi­nan­cial rea­sons, new re­search has found.

Fear of be­ing judged or em­bar­rassed is a ma­jor rea­son why peo­ple keep quiet, and Baby Boomers are the gen­er­a­tion least likely to en­gage in money talk, ac­cord­ing to the Sun­corp Fi­nan­cial Well­be­ing Study.

Con­sul­tant so­cial psy­chol­o­gist and study devel­oper Pa­trycja Slawuta said avoid­ing money talk could af­fect peo­ple’s well­be­ing.

“The more peo­ple talk about money, the more mo­ti­vated they are to learn about money and their fi­nan­cial be­hav­iour to im­prove their sit­u­a­tion and gain con­fi­dence,” she said.

Ms Slawuta said the way peo­ple learnt about money had evolved, from par­ents giv­ing face- to- face ad­vice in the past to to­day’s mod­ern me­dia and the in­ter­net.

This might help ex­plain why younger gen­er­a­tions talk more about money. Top­ics dis­cussed range from study and work for younger gen­er­a­tions, to mort­gages and chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion for 30- to- 50 year olds and in­vest­ments and re­tire­ment for over- 50s, the re­search found.

“Money is more than just a num­ber for most peo­ple,” Ms Slawuta said. “Our re­la­tion­ship with money is emo­tional, com­plex and per­sonal and is in­flu­enced by many things.”

The re­search found that two thirds of peo­ple had ex­pe­ri­enced ex­ter­nal pres­sure to do well fi­nan­cially, and that money fears had forced peo­ple to give up on per­sonal dreams. It found 27 per cent had given up on travel, 15 per cent on own­ing a home, 11 per cent on start­ing a busi­ness, and 8 per cent on early re­tire­ment or ex­tra ed­u­ca­tion.

Sun­corp’s ex­ec­u­tive gen­eral man­ager brand and mar­ket­ing, Kristi Wool­rych, said peo­ple shouldn’t shy away from talk­ing about money.

“It’s not al­ways an easy con­ver­sa­tion to start, but it’s def­i­nitely a con­ver­sa­tion worth hav­ing be­cause there’s a lot we can learn from each other,” she said.

“Hon­est con­ver­sa­tions about our money ex­pe­ri­ences can be lib­er­at­ing – shar­ing tips, goals and ideas can be a great way to learn and help us get a more ac­cu­rate per­spec­tive on our own fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion.

“If you’re not talk­ing about money, you might be lim­it­ing your fi­nan­cial knowl­edge and that’s a con­cern.”

Par­ents should talk about money with younger gen­er­a­tions, who were the most anx­ious about their fi­nan­cial fu­ture, Ms Wool­rych said.

She said peo­ple could dis­cover their own re­la­tion­ship with money through Sun­corp’s new money pro­file tool aimed at im­prov­ing self- aware­ness.

The Sun­corp Fi­nan­cial Well­be­ing Study an­a­lysed al­most 3300 adults across Aus­tralia.

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