The Salvos encourage Aussies to do financial reset
46% of Australians significantly impacted by financial pressures in 2023
The Salvation Army says now is the time to have a fresh a look at your finances. Research by the Salvos has found that 9.6 million Australians (46%) were significantly impacted by financial pressures in 2023, one in three were impacted by rising interest rates and 32% were similarly affected by increased rent or mortgage costs.
Australians are also now facing the burden of paying off their Christmas expenses. The research, which surveyed the Australian public, also found that 31% of people used a credit card (up from 18% the previous year) and 15% relied on buy-now, pay-later options (up from 7.6%) to pay for Christmas.
This comes on the back of more than 12.8 million Australians (62%) reporting they were more stressed about their finances last year compared to 52% at the same time the year before.*
“Looking at these numbers reminds us of the real struggles Australians are facing,” says Kristen Hartnett from The Salvation Army’s Moneycare financial counselling team. “These past years have been tough for many and it’s clear from what we are seeing on the frontline, and from our research, that people are finding it hard to manage their finances. This means more Aussies are in need of help and they are turning to the Salvos for that help.”
Worryingly, one in five Australians did not seek medical help when needed and 17.5% cut back on insurance cover last year, highlighting the potentially dire impact of the cost of living on Australians and the need to prioritise financial wellbeing this year.
Through Moneycare, The Salvation Army offers a free and confidential financial counselling service, which supports thousands of Australians each year to assess and get on top of their financial situation. In 2023, Moneycare notably saw a 13% increase in the number of people they assisted compared to the year before.
“We believe that small steps now can make a huge difference in the future, setting up you and your loved ones for financial stability and security,” Ms Hartnett says. “Sometimes, taking a few small active steps in the right direction can change the course of your financial situation for years to come.
“We also want people to know that you are not alone. It’s a new year, so let’s embrace hope and view it as a chance to start afresh, to rebuild and overcome these hardships together. If you want to have a chat to one of our financial counsellors about your finances, please reach out. You don’t need to be in a crisis situation to receive support and advice from the Salvos, and there is no shame in asking for a hand.”
The Salvation Army’s Moneycare team shares three tips to help people regain financial independence:
- Choose cash payments, where possible. This not only slows your spending and keeps you more mindful, but helps you sidestep the fees and charges increasingly imposed by many retailers.
- If you are struggling to pay a bill, reach out to the relevant company and organise an affordable repayment plan.
- Focus on a single action – whether it is exploring a better insurance deal, renegotiating your interest rate, checking that you receive all eligible rebates or seeking assistance from a financial counsellor.
If you or someone you know is in need of financial assistance, or to find out more information about The Salvation Army’s free and confidential Moneycare service, visit Moneycare financial resources