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Australia, we need to talk about money

7 August 2017

An Australian-wide study has revealed more than half of the population has given up on a dream because of money.

This finding is part of the Suncorp Financial Wellbeing Study conducted in association with behavioural psychologists, which analysed Australian attitudes towards money.

The national study includes responses from more than 3,200 Australians and reveals two out of three (65%) people feel pressure to do well financially, yet over a quarter find talking about money hard for fear of judgement and embarrassment.

“Even in 2017, money is still very much a taboo topic and Australians have a tendency to shy away from discussing their finances. This may have implications to both financial and overall wellbeing. Interestingly, the study also revealed that the older you get the more likely you are to not talk about money. Generation Z and Millennials are the most likely to talk about money, and Baby Boomers the least,” says Patrycja Slawuta, consultant social psychologist and founder of behavioural change agency SelfHackathon who designed and developed the study.  

When it comes to giving up on dreams, the study revealed it’s not just the idea of owning a home that Australians are giving up on.

Over a quarter have given up on dreams of travelling overseas and almost one in 10 have given up study and education. At the other end of the generational spectrum nearly one in 10 have let go of the pursuit of early retirement.

“The more people talk about money, the more motivated they are to learn about money and their financial behaviour to improve their financial situation and gain financial confidence. More precisely, those who never talk about money or talk about money only once a month are less open to learning about money and improving their situation.

“In turn, Australians who talk about money on a daily basis or constantly are those who show the most willingness to change their financial mindset: become more confident about money and as a result, improve their financial situation. That is, talking about money is an omen for motivation to financial change,” Ms Slawuta says.

Suncorp Executive General Manager Brand and Marketing, Kristi Woolrych says that although money is an important part of life, and a major source of stress, it shouldn’t be a topic that Australians shy away from.

“The research findings have shed a light on the social influences, false perceptions and emotions that get in the way of Australians taking control of their finances,” Ms Woolrych says.   

To help Australians better understand their personal relationship with money and how this influences their decisions and behaviours, Suncorp has partnered with experts to develop the first Money Profile tool.

“The Money Profile tool aims to improve self-awareness around money attitudes that underpin behaviours, and to encourage and open up money conversations among people. We want everyone to feel confident about managing their money,” Woolrych continues.

To identify your Money Profile and find out how this influences your money behaviour go to: https://www.suncorp.com.au/money-profile

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