Australians under extreme financial stress compared to 2020

Despite the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) keeping rates on hold, Australians are still facing mounting financial stress according to a new survey.

Finder’s Cost of Living Pressure Gauge has hit 79 per cent, indicating that Australians are struggling with the surging cost of living and higher interest rates.

In contrast, the gauge was at just 45 per cent in November 2020.

Finder also found that 78 per cent of Australians are feeling under “extreme” pressure, up from 68 per cent in November 2020.

While 37 per cent of homeowners and 44 per cent of renters are struggling to pay for a roof over their heads.

The majority of mortgage holders, 64 per cent, cited mortgage stress as a key financial concern.

In November 2020, only 18 per cent of homeowners and 32 per cent of renters were struggling to pay for a roof over their head.

At that time, 42 per cent of mortgage holders said mortgage stress was a key financial concern.

Head of Consumer Research at Finder, Graham Cooke, said the cost of living crisis was deeply impacting individuals across the country.

“The November 2023 reading of the Finder Cost of Living Pressure Gauge at 79 per cent is a good indication of how under the pump Aussie households are feeling,” Mr Cooke said.

“Despite a slight decline from the May 2023 peak of 85 per cent, current levels remain considerably higher than most of 2020 and 2021.

“As households look to stretch their budgets further, this affects their ability to create a decent savings buffer to protect themselves from further pressure.”

Mr Cooke said households looking for ways to trim their budget should identify areas they can cut back without compromising their basic needs.

“Recognise areas of spending that don’t provide significant value and consider cancelling or downgrading,” he said.

“Our gauge’s results show a stark reality – rising costs, housing stress, and the reliance on credit cards for financial management are putting millions under the pump.”

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.