2 in 3 Aussies better off due to restrictions and govt stimulus

2 in 3 households said restrictions and Government stimulus resulted in more money in their hip pocket: financial adviser urges Aussies to save now while they still can

A recent survey from Money.com.au reveals two in three Australians have accumulated more money in their hip pocket this year, as a result of reduced spending, government stimulus, and loan repayment deferrals.

The survey of 1013 consumers asked respondents questions about their earnings between April and October this year compared with the same period last year – taking into account any JobKeeper, JobSeeker, and superannuation income they drew.

The findings were encouraging, with 21 per cent of respondents having earned more, 51 per cent earning the same, and just 28 per cent earning less than last year.

Licensed financial adviser and Money.com.au spokesperson Helen Baker, said the findings pointed to the unique characteristics of Australia’s workforce and the success of the government’s financial support.

“Australia has a strong service-based corporate workforce that was able to continue working from home, while important industries such as construction, mining and public service continued operating, albeit with social restrictions,” Ms Baker said.

“Some employees may also have initially experienced a reduction in income, which would have been offset by the introduction of JobKeeper and super withdrawals.”

Money.com.au then asked respondents whether they spent less on essential expenses or discretionary costs between April and October.

Nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) spent less on expenses overall. Specifically, 58 per cent reduced their discretionary spending, and 32 per cent spent less on essentials.

A higher proportion of respondents aged 18-30 (41 per cent) spent less on essential expenses, compared with 33 per cent of 31-50s and 23 per cent of over-65s.

This may be due to the rise in young Aussies moving back home to live with family or negotiating lower rental payments with their landlord.

Finally, respondents were asked whether the balance between their income and spending since March resulted in more or less money in their wallets.

It found that 60 per cent of respondents did, in fact, have more money to save or spend.

A third (36 per cent) of respondents saved the additional funds, 14 per cent used it to pay off additional debts, and 11 per cent took advantage of the extra funds by spending it.

More full-time workers (67 per cent) saw the money in their hip pocket increase this year, compared with 52 per cent of the unemployed and 51 per cent of retirees.

“Our results show that, overall, there has been a lot more caution around spending this year,” Ms Baker added.

“This is understandable, as travel, entertainment, dining out, sport and other activities were off the cards for a significant portion of the year – but the benefits for households have been greater savings and debt repayments.

“With government stimulus set to end next year, it would be wise for households to continue to be cautious with spending and focus more on saving well into the new year.”

[1]Reserve Bank of Australia, 2020[2] Australian Banking Association, July 2020
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