Research: Is keeping up holding you back?

Up to 35% of Australians feel pressured to keep up appearances and maintain a certain lifestyle.

April 08, 2019

Up to 35% of Australians feel pressured to keep up appearances and maintain a certain lifestyle.

Mortgage Choice and CoreData’s upcoming Financial Fitness Whitepaper explores Australians’ attitudes and behaviours towards their finances.  

Speaking about the research findings, Mortgage Choice Chief Executive Officer Susan Mitchell said, “We found that Australians are feeling pressured to keep up appearances and are forgoing health and major life goals in order to maintain their lifestyles.

“This is unsurprising, in an age where image is everything, particularly for younger generations and avid users of social media who are bombarded constantly by the enviable lifestyles of Instagram and YouTube influencers.”

While 35% of respondents said they felt pressure to keep up appearances or maintain a lifestyle, this surged to almost 50% among respondents who were 30 years and younger.

“Women in particular, have the financial odds stacked up against them in many ways. With the added pressure to keep up appearances, it’s no wonder Australian women are feeling financially stressed*.

“Although it’s very tempting to keep up with trends, it can be a dangerous strategy to live for today and not have a strategic plan for your longer term financial security,” said Ms Mitchell.

In contrast, the research found that only 20% of Australians aged between 51 and 60 years of age felt pressured to keep up appearances.

The research revealed a disparity between genders, with over 37% of females saying they felt pressured to keep up appearances, versus just over 32% of males.

The research found that Australians are choosing to sacrifice their health and fitness in order to maintain their lifestyle, with almost 39% of respondents forgoing regular dental check ups and over 31% forgoing private health insurance.

Of particular concern was the difference between women and men who are choosing not to make their health a priority. Over 42% of women are forgoing dental check-ups versus 35% of men and 32% of women are forgoing health insurance, versus 30% of men.

“Worryingly, the research also revealed that 38% of Australians are choosing to forgo buying their own home in order to keep up appearances,” added Ms Mitchell.

The importance of a strategic financial plan, which includes a budget and savings regimen in order to combat the pressure and stress involved with keeping up appearances, was highlighted by Ms Mitchell.

“The research found that an alarming number of respondents were not saving a portion of their salary, with over 18% of Australians saving nothing each pay cycle and over 8% spending more than they earn.

“We all have different needs and priorities. Creating a strategic financial plan with the help of a qualified financial adviser can help people achieve their goals, without forgoing what is important to them.

“Having a financial plan doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice the lifestyle you want to live. You might be surprised to learn that making a few simple adjustments to the way you use your money could have a significant impact on your financial fitness and your long term financial goals,” concluded Ms Mitchell.


Get financially fit with these top tips from Mortgage Choice Financial Planning advisers:

  • Consider recruiting three or four of your trusted friends to create a ‘Money Club’ (think: book clubs). Set and track your financial goals to help keep each other accountable.
  • If you’re a foodie, you don’t have to give up eating out but resist the urge to follow the hype. Challenge yourself to finding the next best eatery or café and stay within your budget.
  • Print out your bank and credit card statements and identify what spending you can reduce or cut out so it can be saved or invested to reach your goals.
  • Create a defined budget and stick to it and remember to save a proportion of your salary each pay cycle in a bank account which you cannot access online.
  • Go shopping in your wardrobe and consider selling anything you haven’t worn in 12 months.
  • Consider establishing a relationship with a qualified financial adviser who can help you develop greater financial confidence and control over your financial situation.
  • Track the progress you have made on your short and long term financial goals. For example, consider a fortnightly, six monthly and new year review and remember to celebrate reaching your goals.

*Of those respondents who said they were feeling financially stressed, it was revealed that females respondents said financial stress was impacting their overall well being negatively to a larger extent than males, 90% versus 77%.

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