Staggering number of Australians with less than $2000 in the bank

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Staggering number of Australians with less than $2000 in the bank.

Financial Mindfulness was interviewed by the Daily Mail on the latest study on financial stress. These results show just how dire circumstances are for some Australian’s.

Revealed: The staggering number of Australians with less than $2000 in the bank – and why the slow Covid vaccination rollout could leave them financially ruined.

Financial Mindfulness study showed 34 per cent of people couldn’t raise $2,000 Almost half or 45 per cent of Australians can’t pay their weekly household bills Financial Mindfulness chief Andrew Fleming: those with low savings were at risk

Government and employers calling for halt to major minimum wage increases

A surprising number of Australians would struggle to raise $2,000 for a hot water, car or medical emergency and a slow Covid vaccine rollout could make that worse.

Australia’s eight-year run of weak wages growth is set to continue with both the federal government and employer groups calling on the industrial empire to withhold pay increases, despite the strong economic recovery from the Covid recession.

Money wellbeing app Financial Mindfulness surveyed 645 Australians and found 34 per cent of them would be unable to raise $2,000 to cover a financial emergency.

Almost half, or 45 per cent, could not meet their weekly household bills, the barometer of economic health taken in February 2021 found.

A surprising number of Australians would struggle to raise $2,000 for a hot water, car or medical emergency and a slow Covid vaccine rollout could make that worse. Pictured is a stock image

Financial Mindfulness chief executive Andrew Fleming said people with less than $2,000 in bank savings were particularly at risk.

A medical expense or a hot water system blowing up or a car breaking down: an expected expense hits people for six,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘A lot of people are living week to week.’

Consumers already struggling with a mortgage, rent or credit card bills are increasingly turning to buy now, pay later apps, like Afterpay or ZipCo, or pay on demand, where individuals pay $80 a month to get $2,000 in the bank before their employer pays them.

Mr. Fleming said many Australians were unaware of the penalties they faced if they were late with repayments during a personal financial emergency.

‘For those who can’t raise $2,000 for an unexpected expense in the last month, there’s a high probability they’re going to resort to these new products – does the user really understand what they’re doing?,’ he said.

The past year has been very volatile, with the Covid shutdowns causing a 7 per cent plunge in gross domestic product, the steepest downturn since the 1930s Great Depression.

But the final six months of 2020 saw a 6.5 per cent surge in economic growth, the fastest-ever half-yearly pace of GDP expansion.

Despite that, the federal government is calling on the Fair Work Commission to refrain from giving Australia’s 2.2 million low-paid workers a substantial pay rise on July 1.

Fair Work Commission
The federal government is calling on the Fair Work Commission to refrain from giving Australia’s 2.2million low-paid workers a substantial pay rise on July 1. Pictured is a cafe at Brunswick in Melbourne

The federal government is calling on the Fair Work Commission to refrain from giving Australia’s 2.2 million low-paid workers a substantial pay rise on July 1. Pictured is a cafe at Brunswick in Melbourne

‘Given the current uncertainties in the domestic and international economic outlook, the government therefore urges the panel to take a cautious approach.

Taking into account the importance of creating jobs for Australians and ensuring the viability of the businesses, particularly small businesses, which provide the jobs which are crucial to the economic recovery and the wellbeing of Australian families,’ it said.

The National Farmers Federation went further in its submission to the annual wage review, arguing minimum wage workers should get no pay increase until the Covid vaccine was given to most Australians.

‘The NFF recommends that the minimum wage be maintained at current levels until economic conditions have improved, market volatility has decreased, and the level of financial risk lowered,’ it said.

‘These conditions can be reasonably expected to materialise once trends indicating a recovery can be confirmed and the risk of additional waves of infection minimalised following the roll-out of the AstraZeneca vaccine.’

Mr. Fleming said the prospect of more weak wages growth would put struggling consumers at risk.

‘If expenses are going up, out of your control, and income is stagnating, there’s a problem,’ he said.

Money wellbeing app Financial Mindfulness surveyed 645 Australians and found 34 per cent of them would be unable to raise $2,000 to cover a financial emergency.

Almost half, or 45 per cent, could not meet their weekly household bills, the barometer of economic health taken in February 2021 found

On July 1 last year, the Fair Work Commission agreed to give minimum wage earners a $13 a week pay increase which saw their wages edge up slightly to $753.80 a week or $19.84 an hour.

The 1.75 per cent wage increase was below the inflation rate at the time of 2.2 per cent.

Since then, inflation was shrivelled to just 0.9 per cent, putting it well below the Reserve Bank of Australia’s 2 to 3 per cent target range.

As found in the Daily Mail

Daily Mail

By STEPHEN JOHNSON, ECONOMICS REPORTER FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA.

 

Australians distressed and acting aggressively to others

Australians distressed and acting aggressively to others

Australians distressed and acting aggressively to others.

These are the findings from the latest Financial Mindfulness Financial Stress Index (FSI) report which has tracked financial stress in detail over the last 12 months and captured the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.

An estimated 2.29 million Australians are experiencing levels of financial stress that reduce their wellbeing and capacity to function and it is dragging on the Australian economy.

The lost productivity costs Australian business an estimated $32.14 billion per annum. Key findings from the Financial Mindfulness FSI report during COVID-19* include:

      • 8.76x increase in people always acting “aggressively towards others because of my financial position”
      • There has been an 8.25x increase in those Distressed during COVID19 times from pre COVID-19
      • A 290% increase for always feeling isolated
      • 151% increase in those always finding it hard to ‘wind down’
      • Worry, feelings of tension and agitation increased
      • Increases in people who always or sometimes “experienced conflict with a loved one about money matters”.

The other key findings from the Financial Mindfulness FSI Report were:

      • A large proportion feel worried (89%), overwhelmed (79%), and downhearted (82%) about their financial situation
      • 69% of people say financial stress has negatively impacted their relationships
      • 64% experienced conflict with loved ones
      • 50% could not meet all of their weekly expenses
      • 77% of people are distracted because of financial concerns
      • 62% of people are having difficulty sleeping
      • 50% of people ate, drank, smoked more due to their financial situation.

“The Financial Stress Index (FSI) is a comprehensive measure of the financial factors and biopsychosocial consequences of financial stress developed by Financial Mindfulness,” says Dr Nicola Gates, Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist at Financial Mindfulness.

“A worrying result has been the significant escalation of people always acting aggressively towards others and the negative impact on relationships in general.”

The company’s Founder and CEO, Andrew Fleming says “Financial stress was a significant problem before the COVID-19 pandemic, but we now can see the increased damage it is having on individuals and work productivity.”

“It is staggering to see how much financial stress is impacting mental and physical health, relationships and work.”

“We developed the Financial Stress Index (FSI) to understand financial stress at a granular level in order to build a solution. Our solution is the Financial Mindfulness App, a personalised program which reduces financial stress,” Fleming says.

The Financial Mindfulness FSI is a leading indicator on financial stress and will be reported every six months to measure changes in Australians’ financial stress levels.

*Data compares user responses in the periods August 2019 to February 2020, with March to August 2020.

Contactless payments surge 44% during COVID-19

Get to know simple ways of how to manage credit cards.

Credit card giant Mastercard reported a major shift in consumer behaviour that has seen 44% of Aussies decrease their use of cash when making purchases in-person since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, as shoppers fear germs on cash.

The research found that more than half (52%) of Aussies are more aware of the dirtiness of cash as a result of COVID-19, while one in five (21%) said the risk of germs has made them not use cash at all.

Eight in ten (79%) of Australians agree contactless payments are a cleaner way to pay.

Founder and CEO of Financial Mindfulness Andrew Fleming said the combination of reduced incomes and a move away from using cash is the “perfect storm” for credit card debt which could drive up financial stress.

You can read the full article here.

From cash to cashless
From cash to cashless

Perfect storm of credit card debt brewing for Australians during COVID-19

Essential Tips to Tackle Post Holiday Debt

Perfect storm of credit card debt brewing for Australians during COVID-19.

Rapidly falling incomes, a move to card-only payments and a complete avoidance of cash is creating a “perfect storm” for Australians to find themselves in deep financial ruin.

Andrew Fleming, CEO of financial stress busting app Financial Mindfullness, says many Australians are unaware of the debt they are getting into by relying solely on personal credit.

“There is almost one credit card for every adult Australian. In January 2020 just before the crisis, there was $42.6 billion owing on credit cards with $28.4 billion accruing interest,” explains Mr Fleming.

Read the full article here.