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
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.