With the cost of living rising to unprecedented levels and our two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, appearing in the top five most expensive cities to live in the world, is it any wonder Australians are ‘stressing out’ about money in 2013.
While both men and women are increasingly worried their financial situation, according to the latest Australia’s Money Confidence survey, more than half of women (51%) in this country find dealing with money stressful and overwhelming, compared to 37% of men.
A comprehensive survey into Australians’ money confidence by the ANZ Bank and Pacific Magazines, found that even when things are going well, almost 40% of respondents ‘stress out’ about money, and women tend to worry more about money issues than men.
Australia’s Money Confidence 2013 survey asked almost 12,000 Australians how they think and feel about money. According to the survey, one third of us are losing sleep worrying about money and 39% are anxious about it.
As part of the research, ANZ developed a Money Confidence Index which provides insights into the way different groups think and feel about money. The index score is out of 100 with a score of 0-33 representing low money confidence, 34-66 medium money confidence, and 67-100 high money confidence.
While the average index score for all people aged 18 years and over is 48.9, women scored below average with 45.8, and are more likely to have a low money confidence score than men.
|Money Confidence Index rating
Of those with a low money confidence score, 56% were having trouble sleeping as result of financial stress and 25% said they were eating more junk food and 29% are gaining weight. A whopping 92% said debt had an impact on their happiness and 88% said it was affecting their social life. Debt was also having a significant impact on their personal relationships, with 65% saying it was affecting their relationship with their partner or spouse.
Editor and Publisher of marie claire magazine, Jackie Frank, said: “This latest research underscores how the financial confidence of everyday Australians remains a national issue – and it’s having a huge impact on our physical and emotional lives. Most of us aren’t afraid to discuss these fears with our friends and family – but more of us need to know how to take concrete steps to achieve our goals and, most importantly, look after our wellbeing.”
So what are we worried about?
The most common financial fears are not having enough money to live comfortably in the future and not being able to maintain our current lifestyle in the future.
In the present, the top 3 reasons for financial stress are the increased cost of living (61%), utility and electricity bills (42%) and petrol prices (30%). The survey also found that a quarter of Australians are living pay-to-pay with little or no savings for a rainy day.
Despite this, a third of those surveyed said their financial situation had actually improved over the past 12 months and only 22% said it has worsened.
Increasing Money Confidence in Australia
Proving that a ‘plan of action’ is your best weapon against the ‘worried about money’ blues, 61% of Australians who have put financial plans in place to help achieve major goals, are confident about their financial security.
People who feel money confident plan ahead, prepare for the unexpected and educate themselves on money matters. They are comfortable with their level of debt and their ability to manage day-to-day expenses. They are also adequately insured, are saving for retirement, and are setting financial goals and working to achieve them.
ANZ has also built a new website which highlights actions Australians can take to build their money confidence. Check it out at: anz.com/moneyconfidence.