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Concerning 22-day warning for Aussie workers

·3-min read
People and workers cross a busy street in Brisbane.
The avergae worker could only support themselves for 22 days if they lost their job, according to new research. (Source: Getty)

Around 342,000 Aussie workers wouldn’t even be able to support themselves for a month if they lost their job, according to new data.

Research released by Otivo found that Australians without a financial safety net could only survive 22 days if their income was to suddenly stop.

A financial safety net includes things like being able to draw down on a mortgage repayment, credit cards, other loans, or the ability to sell shares.

Australians with no financial safety net, but who did receive government support would survive around 21 weeks without an income, the report found.

Surprisingly, the research found there were many people living paycheque to paycheque who lived in affluent areas like Rose Bay, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, who were considered to be more financially stable.

“Perhaps victims of keeping up appearances, the average person in Rose Bay with no financial safety net could only survive 11 weeks if their income was to suddenly cease, which is well below the national average,” the research found.

“Remove government support, and that survival rate reduces to less than 17 days for Rose Bay residents.”

“The data shows that within postcodes, there is a vast difference in financial fairness,” Otivo CEO Paul Feeney said.

“One neighbour, for example, may have a financial safety net and access to a financial adviser, while another neighbour is simply living paycheque to paycheque with no guidance on how to sustain their lifestyle financially, or plan for their future.”

Financial pressures growing

The data comes as the cost of living continues to rise, with recent inflation figures showing how drastically the cost of goods has risen this year.

Otivo research found 4.1 million Australians were currently experiencing financial pressure.

This figure has climbed 10 per cent since the start of the pandemic. Financial pressure is correlated to Australians overspending, poor budget management, loss of employment, health issues, reduced government benefits, relationship breakdowns and drops in income.

What to do to ease financial stress

If financial stress is impacting your health and relationships, here are some tips from Health Direct, a free government health-advice service:

  • Stay on top of your emotions — Write down your worries to help you work out which issues to tackle first.

  • Look after your health — Eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly. Talk to your doctor if you have a pre-existing medical condition that could be aggravated by stress.

  • Share your feelings with supportive friends and colleagues — Identify people you can talk to about how you are feeling and who will help you remain positive.

  • Be honest with your family — Tell them about the situation and how it might affect the household budget. If your relationship with your partner is under stress, contact Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277 for support, advice and counselling.

  • Draw up a budget — Write down a summary of your finances and work out how much money you need to cover your costs. You may need to limit your spending for a while. Putting aside some money for bills, creating an emergency fund and paying for essentials first can all help ease the stress.

  • Contact your bank — Most financial institutions have policies in place to assist customers experiencing financial problems. The Australian Banking Association website has lots of information about dealing with banks.

  • Contact a social worker on the Centrelink Employment Services Line — Call 132 850 or visit a Services Australia customer service centre.

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