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Over a quarter of Aussies feel better about their finances than a year ago

Over a quarter of Aussies feel better about their finances than a year ago

Just over a quarter of Australians feel better about their finances than 12 months ago, according to research from the latest RateCity survey.

The survey showed that despite Aussies squirrelling away over $124 billion since COVID-19 hit, 31 per cent of respondents stated they felt better about their finances since this time last year

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament the economic impact of COVID-19 on the global economy meant that the pandemic recession was “30 times worse” than what was experienced during the global financial crisis.

But despite these claims, nearly half (43 per cent) of respondents stated they felt about the same about their financial situation as 12 months ago.

In fact, only 26 per cent of respondents said they felt worse about their financial situation over the same period, making the volume of responses for those feeling better or worse somewhat simila

What is causing our concerns?

RateCity’s survey explored what factors are causing the greatest amount of concern towards our finances over the next 12 months

Health and travel concerns came out on top for Aussie respondents, with the majority of those surveyed indicating worries about family contracting COVID and not being able to travel (to see family or for holiday) were their greatest.

Finances were the next most common concern, with respondents nervous they will not have enough money and have strained budgets over the next year.

Thinking about the next 12 months, which of the following are you most concerned about? (Multiple choice)

Value Percent
Employment: Losing my job/business or not finding enough work.27.80%
Health: Family member or I will contract covid-19.42.30%
Finances: I won’t have as much money / my budget will be strained.39.40%
Travel: That I won’t be able to travel to see family or for holiday43.50%
Social: That I might go back into lockdown31.70%

Source: RateCity.com.au Survey 2021

How to take back control of your finances

If you’re one of the many Australians concerned about your financial health or facing financial stress, there are some actions you may want to consider to take back control.

  • Shake up your budget

Whether you’ve never made a budget or are struggling to meet your current budget, it may be time to consider setting a new one. In the last 12 months it’s not surprising if your income has changed or that your expenses have increased. And in some instances, these changes can occur on a monthly basis.

Consider making a monthly budget based on your income and against any expenses you expect for that month instead. This way you’re prepared for any extra challenges that may come around, such as a quarterly utilities bill or a hike in school fees, as opposed to relying on an outdated rolling budget

  • Manage your debts

Debt can be a useful tool to help you tick off your financial goals but taking on much debt can put you into financial stress and overwhelm your budget.

  1. Consider if you can afford to make extra repayments on your debts to pay them off sooner and reduce the total interest charged.
  2. If you have multiple sources of debt, consider if consolidating them into a single loan with one interest charge to manage may help you take back control.
  3. Credit card debt can easily snowball if left unattended. If you’re tired of meeting just the minimum repayment amount, consider budgeting to pay off your card debt once and for all. If you need extra breathing room free of interest, a balance transfer credit card may be able to do just that. Just keep in mind that you’ll want to plan and prepare to pay off your balance before the zero per cent interest period ends or it may sting you with a higher-than-average interest rate.

  • Cut down your mortgage costs

Speaking of debts, your mortgage is arguably your biggest ongoing cost but there are ways you can reduce this to improve your financial health. If you’ve been repaying your mortgage for several years and have built up a bit of equity you may want to consider refinancing to a more affordable lender.

Whether you’re looking for a loan that charges a lower interest rate, fewer fees, offers more features or all of the above, refinancing may be able to help you in this regard. Simply hop online and compare your options.

RateCity’s comparison tools, such as tables and calculators, can help you compare apples with apples and see how other home loans may better suit your finances and reduce your monthly repayments.

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This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Mark Bristow before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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