If it feels like your finances are constantly being stretched, you’re not alone. We explain how to avoid Australians’ leading concern.
The latest Financial Fitness white paper by Mortgage Choice and CoreData reveals the main worry keeping Australians awake at night.
No, it’s not global warming. And it’s not concerns about the economy either.
For two out of five Australians, the single greatest concern is the rising cost of goods and services1.
It ranks far higher than worries about their physical health (16%) or the health and wellbeing of family members (17%)2.
So, where do you live?
Just how much you’re likely to share this concern can hinge on where you live. Queenslanders (45%) are most likely to be concerned about soaring living costs3.
And while worries about the cost of living are shared between men and women equally, what is interesting is that less than one-third (32%) of home owners cite this as their major concern4.
Indeed, Australians who own their home are more likely to focus on their family’s health, with one in five (22%) citing this as their chief concern compared to 16% of all respondents5.
What to do if you’re worried?
If you’re feeling stressed from the rising cost of living, there are strategies available to ease the financial pressure. Try one – or try them all – to stay on top of household expenses.
1. Live the life you want to live
One in three (35%) Australians feel under pressure to keep up appearances and maintain their lifestyle6. Rather than aiming to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, try putting pen to paper to write down what you wish to accomplish, such as buying a house or sending your children to the school of your choice. It’s a simple way to clarify your priorities and focus on what really matters to you.
2. Identify where your money goes
It’s not what you earn that matters, it’s how you use your money that really counts. If you’re not already using a budget, try tracking your everyday spending to see where your cash is being spent. A range of apps is available to help, but the key point is identifying areas where you can cut back to help meet expenses without too much impact on your lifestyle.
3. Prepare for big bills
Most of us have an idea of when big bills are going to arrive. No matter whether it’s your home and contents insurance, car rego or a quarterly power bill, these expenses typically fall due with predictable regularity. That works in your favour, allowing you to plan ahead.
When we receive large bills at the same time, it can contribute to the feeling that life is getting more expensive. So be prepared by putting money aside for monthly, quarterly or annual expenses. It can help you build a financial safety net and avoid future bill shock.
4. Reach out to help that’s available
Learning to manage your money is an important skill – and it’s one that many Australians lack confidence in7.
The majority (56%) of Australians admit to being worried about their financial situation8. Yet, there’s a wealth of freely available information to help you understand how to get more from your money.
Remember too, you can learn a lot by chatting with experts.
A financial adviser can help you get into better financial shape, with strategies to plan for the future, get more from your money and address your key financial concerns. Tailored advice can be a powerful investment to help ease the burden of rising living costs.