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‘Don’t wait’: Support offered to 95% of Aussies in money stress

·2-min read
Man with head in hand, stressed while looking at financial situation. Close up of Australian money in jean pocket.
Financial stress is on the rise, but there is help. (Images: Getty).

Lifeline recorded its three busiest days in its 57-year history last week as the COVID-19 pandemic also poses a mental health crisis, with financial stress a major contributor.

Financial stress drove a staggering 3,500 calls to Lifeline on Thursday, up 40 per cent on the same period in 2020, Lifeline chair John Brogden told the ABC on Friday.

“We don’t have the certainty of JobKeeper,” he said.

“It’s simple. People understand how it works and it provides an income.”

National Australia Bank’s latest financial wellbeing survey has also uncovered a deterioration over the last three months, with women, lower-income and younger Australians all experiencing greater financial stress.

WATCH: Three tips to save $1,000 in one year.

“There is a growing economic divide as financial stress rose among lower-income groups but fell for high-income earners,” it said.

“This may in part reflect changing assistance measures and disproportionate impacts of lockdowns and other COVID restrictions on some in the community.”

And according to Canstar's national sentiment tracker, more than 95 per cent - or 19 million Australians - feel financially stressed right now. 

The Salvation Army has said any Australian experiencing money stress should reach out for help sooner rather than later, particularly if they have growing levels of debt.

The Salvation Army’s Moneycare service offers free and confidential financial counselling service to people experiencing financial hardship and helps more than 10,000 people every year.

“You do not have to be in a financial disaster to reach out to The Salvos Moneycare for support,” Sausan Rasheed, Moneycare financial counsellor in South-West Sydney said.

“We encourage anyone doing it tough because of the lockdowns in Sydney to reach out to us early - we are here for you and want to help people avoid further debt during this time.”

A survey performed by Moneycare found that while only 10 per cent of clients reported positive life satisfaction before using the service, it increased to 70 per cent after receiving the support.

“We know the immense stresses that the current lockdown is having on individuals and families, and this can often extend to finances. We want to help you ease the stress on your financial situation as you navigate this trying time,” Rasheed said.

If you are struggling with debt, you can contact Moneycare on 1800 722 363.

If you need immediate financial relief, you can contact the Salvation Army’s Doorways service on 1300 371 288.

If you have lost your job or income, here’s a state-by-state breakdown of what you can claim.

If you need mental health support, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, or chat online at www.lifeline.org.au.

Image: Yahoo Finance
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