Aussies fail­ing to save

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - 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 would not be able to 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 lost their job.

The fig­ures emerged in the an­nual Fi­nan­cial Re­silience in Aus­tralia re­port re­leased yes­ter­day by the Cen­tre for Social Im­pact in part­ner­ship with Na­tional Aus­tralia Bank.

The data com­piled by Roy Mor­gan polled more than 2000 Aus­tralians on their fi­nan­cial re­silience in 2016 and the ris­ing cost of liv­ing.

NAB chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer 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 Aus­tralians 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 per cent) – a five per cent de­cline on the pre­vi­ous year.

The find­ings come af­ter the Aus­tralian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics this week re­vealed the av­er­age amount of house­hold debt has dou­bled in 12 years – from $94,100 in 2002-04 to $168,600 in 2015-16.

Good Shep­herd Mi­cro­fi­nance chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Adam Mooney said the re­port high­lighted that “fi­nan­cial stress is ris­ing in Aus­tralia.”

“Over the last five to 10 years there’s no doubt that in­come inequal­ity is ris­ing and sec­ondly house­hold is debt is up,’’ he said. “The cost of liv­ing is in­creas­ing sig­nif­i­cantly above the CPI ... we see on a daily ba­sis many of our clients are com­ing in and say­ing they need a no-in­ter­est loan to buy an en­ergy-ef­fi­cient fridge.” We need to wake up to scale of our debt prob­lem – Paul Mur­ray, P64

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