SYDNEY, Australia – Australians are becoming more anxious about their finances according to new research.
Based on the newest research published by the NAB Group Economics, a lot of Australians have been suffering in terms of their financial wellbeing amid their increasing concerns of over personal debts, mortgage repayments, and their retirement plans.
The recent survey showed a surge in anxiety regarding personal financial issues in the country. The Financial Anxiety Index from NAB has also gone up by one point, now reaching 58.8 points. This increase in only within the three months ending December 2019.
According to NAB Group Economics, the Financial Anxiety Index was based on the amount of concern and anxiety of Australians when it comes to their future spending. It is also centered on the savings plans of Aussies stemming from their current financial status, said NAB.
Based on the results of the latest NAB survey, financial anxiety has gone up in the country, affecting both men and women. The study has also shown that the gap when it comes to the financial concerns between the genders has significantly amplified for the last three months of 2019. The gap in financial anxiety between men and women has increased to 4.6 points for the last quarter of 2019 compared to the 3.7 points for the third quarter last year.
According to the NAB research, the primary cause of financial anxiety among the majority of Australian has remained not having enough means to fund their retirements. The level of concern for Australian not having enough to support their retirements has gone up slightly to 55.4 points during the last quarter of 2019 from the 55.0 points in the third quarter.
Other critical financial concerns for Aussies include not having enough means to provide for the future of the family (48.6 points vs. 48.9 points in the 3rd quarter), not having ways to pay for the expenses of healthcare and medical bills (47.0 points vs. 47.2 points in the 3rd quarter), not being able to pay for non-essential spending such as eating out and holidays (46.8 points vs. 47.4 points in the 3rd quarter).
The second primary concern for Australians affecting their overall financial anxiety is not able to raise an emergency fund of $2,000, which has gone up to 46.1 points from the 44.6 points recorded for the third quarter of 2019.
Meanwhile, based on the survey, Australians remain to be least anxious about having enough means to pay for food and other necessities (37.8 points vs. 38.1 points in the 3rd quarter) and meeting their lowest credit card repayments (34.7 points vs. 35.0 points from the 3rd quarter).
By gender, the total number of women who reported having experienced hardship in their finances has gone up significantly. The noticeable increase of gap in financial anxiety in women and men, according to the latest NAB research, was majorly driven by the amount of concern of women increasing more sharply compared to that of men. From the previous quarter, financial concerns in women have gone up by 1.4 points to its current level of 61.0 points from the 59.6 points for the third quarter in 2019. The financial worries of men, on the other hand, has only increased by half a percent, going up to 56.4 points in the last quarter of 2019 from the recorded 55.9 points from the third quarter of last year.
In key groups based on age, the highest increase in financial anxiety is recorded for Australian between the age of 30 to 49 years old, which increase by 2.1 points, going up to 64.1 points in the last quarter of 2019 from the 62.3 points in the previous quarter.
The group of Australians between the age of 18 to29 years old also experienced an increase in financial anxiety, with the index going up to 61.5 points in the last quarter of 2019 from the 60.8 points in the previous quarter.
Meanwhile, the financial anxiety for Australians in the age group of 50 to 64 years old and for the 65 years old and up has declined to 58.7 points from 62.0 points and 47.0 points from 49.4 points, respectively.
The financial anxiety for the lowest income group increased from 65.5 points from the third quarter of 2019 to 67.2 points for the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the financial concerns for the highest income group declined from 54.4 points from the third quarter of 2019 to 51.9 points in the fourth quarter last year.
Based on the same survey, there is also a growing number of Australian households experiencing financial hardship during the last quarter of 2019. For the fourth quarter, there are 40% of Aussie households in financial stress or hardship compared to the recorded 36% in the third quarter of 2019.
Over the last quarter of 2019, there are around four in every ten individuals in the country who reported having experienced any form of hardship or stress when it comes to their finances, based on the results. The study has also shown that the recent figures on financial anxiety in the country mark the highest in Australia since the last three months of 2016.
By gender, the financial hardship in women has gone up to 42% for the last three months of 2019, from 35% recorded in the third quarter. Meanwhile, the rate of financial hardships affecting men was broadly the same at 38% compared to 37% in the third quarter.
By age bracket, Australian households between the age of 18 and 29 years old marked the highest increase of financial hardship at the latest 57% compared to 47% from the previous quarter. Meanwhile, the rate for other age groups has remained mostly unchanged.
By income, Australians in the lowest income group experienced an increase in financial hardship or stress, with the rate going up to 53% for the last three months of 2019 compared to the 50% for the third quarter. The number of households in the highest income group experiencing any financial hardship or stress went up as well to the latest 29% from the 27% recorded for the third quarter.
For the household financial hardship in Australia, the major reason cited remained to be their inability to come up with enough funds for an emergency, with the number of people affected by this increased to 23% from 20% in the third quarter last year.