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Half of Australians feel financially stressed at least once a week, new survey by Australian Retirement Trust finds

Media release - 01 Dec 2022

The increasing cost of living and recent economic events are causing significant financial stress for Australians according to a national survey commissioned by Australian Retirement Trust (ART).

More than 2,000 Australians participated in the survey, run by YouGov, which found 85 per cent are worried about the impact of recent economic events on their household budget, while nearly half (48 per cent) feel financial stress once a week or more.

Seventy per cent of all participants believe financial advice could improve their financial wellbeing, though only 32 per cent currently access financial advice in some capacity.

Amongst respondents who have never sought advice, 96 per cent say there are barriers, with cost being the main one (57 per cent think advice is too expensive).

"It’s good for people to be thinking about their finances – but not if it is causing stress and worry at such a high rate. That’s something that, as an industry, we should be helping to solve,” ART’s Head of Advice, Anne Fuchs said.

“As the survey shows, Australians know financial advice can make a difference to their wellbeing, and they want to access it. But if the vast majority face barriers, it signals that there is a problem with the system. Advice isn’t just for the wealthy, it can improve financial outcomes no matter what you earn, and everyone should have the opportunity to access it.

“Difficult economic times aren’t going away – we have seen seven interest rate rises in a row, with many economists forecasting more to come. Australians shouldn’t be left to manage that stress on their own and financial advice can help ease that worry.

“Financial advice should be easy to get and easy to understand – as one of the largest super funds in the country we can help make that possible, but we need the regulatory environment to enable that.”

ART Chief Executive Officer Bernard Reilly said the federal government’s Quality of Advice review will help simplify the regulatory framework to better enable high quality, accessible and affordable financial advice.

"We need to break down the barriers Australians face in getting financial advice, so we support the Quality of Advice Review. It’s challenging the industry to think differently about how advice can be delivered by super funds.

“The millions of people retiring over the next decade will need support. As one of the largest super funds in the country, we have the scale and capability to make that support more accessible, meaning more Australians will live their best retirement.

“Australian Retirement Trust is an industry leader in the financial advice space, and we want more Australians receiving affordable and accessible advice. The advice system is broken and all Australians deserve a better solution - so we welcome the Quality of Advice review,” Mr Reilly said.

Key survey findings – Financial stress:

  • Nearly half (48%) of respondents say that they feel financially stressed at least once a week, with one in six (16%) who say that they feel financially stressed every day.
  • More than four in five (85%) respondents are worried about the impact recent economic events could have on their household budget, including 37% who are very worried.
  • Among the respondents who feel financially stressed, the main reasons are difficulties juggling everything with increases in living costs (54%), not having enough savings for emergencies or unexpected expenses (46%), not being able to afford to do what they want to do now (41%), and not having enough superannuation or savings for retirement (33%).

Key survey findings – Access to advice:

  • One in three (32%) respondents currently receive advice from a professional financial adviser. 13% have a dedicated adviser and 19% using one from time to time.
  • More than seven in ten (72%) respondents think professional financial advice could help them achieve their financial goals.
  • Seven in ten (70%) think that it could help improve their financial wellbeing.
  • More than three in five (61%) respondents think advice could help them navigate the impact of recent economic events.
  • Despite the perceived benefits associated with receiving professional financial advice, nearly all (96%) who have never used a professional financial adviser say that there are barriers to using one.
  • For those respondents who have never used a professional financial adviser, the barriers to using one include thinking it is too expensive (57%), not feeling like they have enough assets to justify the need (39%), not knowing who to trust (36%), and feeling that they can manage their finances themselves (33%).

The findings are drawn from Australian Retirement Trust’s YouGov survey of 2,113 Australians aged over 18 years who have super and are not retired, conducted online between 28 September and 6 October 2022.

Following the completion of interviewing, the data was weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates.