More than one in 10 Australians don’t have $2000 for an emergency and 20 per cent have missed a bill or loan payment in the past three months, according to new NAB research.
As cost-of-living conversations dominate dinner tables around the country, the research reveals three quarters of adults are trying to save but are challenged by debt, repayments, bills and everyday spending.
The latest NAB Australian Wellbeing Survey out today also shows:
- Nine out of 10 people aged 18 to 29 are trying to save;
- More than 40 per cent of all adults report a decline in savings in the past three months;
- Loans from family or friends are the most popular way to manage financial hardship, with one in three people using them;
- NSW/ACT and Tasmania are the most financially stressed states;
- One in three people report ‘high’ stress
- Pets are a key contributor to emotional wellbeing of most Australians, particularly among 18 to 29 and 50 to 64 year olds.
Separate NAB analysis also shows about half of NAB savings and offset customers had an average account balance of $1,000 or more for a three-month period.
NAB Group Executive Personal Banking, Rachel Slade, said while it was positive Australians’ wellbeing had returned to pre-pandemic levels, missing a bill or any loan payments was understandably stressful for many people.
“Australians want to save but actually doing it is another thing because of household expenses and everyday activities,” Ms Slade said.
“We encourage customers to look at their income and expenses. Customers can do a budget and then work out how much they’d need in an emergency fund, so they’re not caught out with a surprise bill or an unexpected major purchase.”
NAB customer and Melbourne university student Sam Nash said he had to develop strong budgeting skills to manage his fluctuating income.
“I work part-time in sports and recreational while I study and it’s definitely hard to manage my spending while trying to save,” Mr Nash, 23, said.
“To help save, I tend to bucket my money. I have a savings account that I deposit into once a month and don’t touch to help me save long-term. I have another account that I use for my rent and other expenses.
“When COVID first hit, I was stressed about being able to meet my expenses because I couldn’t work while studying. I found myself relying on my parents and digging into my savings bucket which I didn’t want to do.
“Now I’m working again, I’m definitely planning and budgeting more to balance short term expenses and long term saving.”
Ms Slade said NAB’s budgeting and planning tools were a great place to start for customers wanting more control of their money in a simple and digital way.
“Customers can track their spending and restrict withdrawals when they log into Internet Banking. Customers wanting to save can hide their accounts in Internet Banking to make it easier to bucket funds and set and track goals in the NAB App,” she said.
“Cancelling unused subscriptions can be done at the click of a button, while shopping around for better deals on key bills can save you hundreds of dollars a year.”
Ms Slade encouraged any customer having difficulty making payments to contact NAB Assist on 1800 701 599.
“We know customers can experience vulnerability at different times in their lives, regardless of their age, background or income. Our teams are trained to recognise the signs sooner and take action to support these customers and deliver a better outcome for them,” she said.
“Our advice is always speak to your bank early. We are here to help.”
Notes to editors
- The NAB Australian Wellbeing Survey was conducted with about 2000 Australian adults and weighted to the population in late 2021.
- Many social impact organisations and the Barefoot Investor use $2000 for an emergency as a measure of financial health.
- The full survey – including state, gender and age breakdowns – can be accessed here.
- NAB news article about NAB Assist and NAB’s framework and initiatives for supporting customers experiencing vulnerability
- Customers who need support can contact NAB Assist on 1800 701 599 or access a range of online resources and support here.