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Household impacts of COVID-19: ABS

Household impacts of COVID-19: ABS

New survey results from the Australian Bureau of Statistics into the household impacts of COVID-19 show how Aussies expected their household income to change over the next 12 months, and how they plan to save and/or spend these funds

In June 2021, one in four Aussies expected their household income to increase over the next 12 months (26%), while one in ten (11%) expected a decrease, according to ABS figures. The most common expectation for a change in household income in the next 12 months was an increase between 1-5%.

The survey also asked questions on household saving. Respondents indicated their plans to use current or expected savings over the next 12 months involves:

  • Travel (32%)
  • Renovating the home (16%)
  • Mortgage repayments (15%
  • Building or buying a new home (11%)

Further, over the next 12 months:

  • 54% of Australians expect their household to be able to save money
  • 26% of Australians do not know if their household will be able to save money, and
  • 20% of Australians expect their household will not be able to save money.

Over half of respondents expecting to save money is an optimistic result, however the one in five (20%) that feel the opposite may be cause for alarm. These survey results come from research between 11-20 June 2021, so we may see this latter figure increase.

As Sydney and Melbourne face another week of lockdown restrictions with other capitals and states potentially following suit, we may see more Aussies feeling the financial stress as the latest COVID-19 outbreak moves across the country

With government support like JobKeeper and JobSeeker off the table, you may be wondering what financial relief is available. Luckily, other forms of financial support are being provided by Australian banks, including mortgage deferrals for homeowners, loan deferrals small businesses for up to three months, refunds on merchant terminal fees for three months and the waiving of term deposit notice periods and fees.

And homeowners rejoice as Australia’s biggest bank, CBA, has announced an extension to its foreclosure moratorium, meaning it won’t evict a customer in arrears until at least February 2022.

RateCity tips for people under financial pressure

Without a crystal ball it’s hard to say how long these latest restrictions may last, and just how greatly they may impact state economies and household budgets. In the meantime, there are a range of options to consider that may help put your finances in a better position.

  • Hardship support. If you’re at a point where you don’t know how you’ll pay your bills, pick up the phone right now and call your providers. Banks, credit card issuers, telecoms and utilities providers are all equipped to manage hardship support payment plans and offer repayment pauses.
  • Consider personal financial advice. Speak to a trusted accountant, financial advisor, or call the National Debt Helpline (1800 007 007) if you’re in need of a helping hand coming up with a plan for your financial health.
  • If you have a home loan, ask for a rate cut. Consider picking up the phone and asking your home loan provider for a rate cut. It’s easier than you think, just follow our helpful guide.
  • Negotiate your bills. It’s not just your home loan lender that may be able to be talked down from a higher rate. Call your energy, gas, mobile phone, and internet providers and request a more competitive deal. Take stock of lower rates and plans available for new customers or across the market and threaten to leave if they don’t budge.
  • Budget cuts. Take time to go through your bank statements and assess your expenses to see where you can cut back. This could be as simple as pausing subscriptions for a few months, like Netflix or Spotify, or requesting a pause for financial reasons on your gym membership. Even cutting down on life’s little luxuries, like second daily cups of coffee or buying takeaway meals, can make a serious difference in your savings over a year.

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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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