Research by Mortgage Choice and Core Data has discovered a third of Australians are feeling defeated by their finances, with 34 per cent of Aussies saying they are embarrassed by their financial habits.
The Financial Fitness whitepaper explores Australians’ attitudes and behaviours towards their finances. Close to half of those surveyed (43 per cent) feel embarrassed by their personal debt and one in three hide the fact that they have debt issues.
Mortgage Choice Chief Executive Officer Susan Mitchell said, “Our research has found that when it comes to their finances, many Australians say they are embarrassed, which may stem in part from their personal debt and overall money habits.”
One in five Australians are struggling with credit card debt, only paying the minimum amount on their card each month, while 11 per cent of those surveyed said they have not paid off their balance in full for the past three months.
Mitchell said the fact that people are not paying off the balance each month is worrying.
“However, what is also particularly concerning is the number of Australians who pay only the minimum amount of their balance each month. This prolongs the amount of time they are in debt, as a considerable proportion of the payment is servicing the interest, rather than the balance and is one way consumers feel trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of debt.”
Even more worrisome was the confession that one in four Australians spend more than they earn.
“These habits may be contributing to the shame and embarrassment some Australians say they feel about their finances. Indeed, the whitepaper reveals that almost a fifth (19 per cent) of Australians say they are living secret financial lives.
“The problem with avoiding the topic of money altogether is that often, a small problem can snowball into something more serious if it is not dealt with early on,” said Ms Mitchell.
Mitchell encouraged anyone feeling embarrassed or ashamed of their financial situation to seek professional help.
“The reality is you are not alone and there are things you can do to take control of your personal debt, but you need to start sooner rather than later.”