When it comes to our spending habits it is always easy to think everyone has it more together than yourself. CreditCardCompare.com.au, an Australian comparison website, set out to discover exactly how they spend their money in the land down under, where they are thriving and what areas could use a little money management boost.
Their analysis (you can see full results here) comes after over 1,000 of Australia’s finest citizens took the Ultimate Money Test on their attitudes and behaviours toward the economy, spending and saving money. When the results were compiled they found that Australia is a land of thrifty folk who hunt down sales and like to have money in the bank.
Overall, Aussies proved themselves to be wise in the area of finances. The good news is that 47% passed with flying colours, and another 39.7% of those quizzed passed with an average score. Unfortunately, that means that 13.3% of the survey takers failed the test. Not a bad percentage in the grand scheme of things. One point Australian public.
Continuing with the broad results, more than 75% of Australians have good financial habits. On the flip side a third of all Australians have attitudes and beliefs that can lead to financial trouble. Ironically, that means that some of the people, who have good habits, also have dangerous attitudes. 30 per cent of Aussies like to spend big, while 65% prefer to play it safe and clip coupons. One out of every five people practice gambling or have high-risk investments.
When it comes to credit card usage, Australians have big opinions and even higher expectations. Over half have been late with credit card payments and incurred fees at least once – a large percentage considering the damage late payments does to your credit. Banks should take note that 66% of the people surveyed like to earn frequent flyer points on their cards.
To prove how visually inclined humans really are, they found that 54% of people only feel like they are spending money when they use cash. This is a shocking discovery in an age where debit and credit cards are becoming the predominant payment method.
This could be alarming and play a huge part in growing credit card debt if people are not making the mental association between swiping their card and emptying their bank account. As cash is used less and less, individuals will need to find a way to control their swiping. This is where visual apps like Mint can be hugely beneficial. When people can look on their phone and see exactly how much they have spent, swipe or cash, they are more likely to stay within their budget.
With 39% of people saying they have a constant credit card balance and only pay the monthly minimum, we are looking at alarming interest rates and increased debt for the Aussie public. Credit card usage might be handled differently if 38% of the country did not only have a “mental” budget. As mentioned before, visual representation is everything and not planning our spending is debt waiting to happen.
Perhaps the most dangerous thing revealed by the survey is the fact that 37% of the country has not checked their credit score in a long time, if ever. This is a highly risky habit to fall into because it greatly increases the damage that can occur from identity theft, or other errors on your credit reports.
Credit card interest might be a pain for many of Australians, but banking is where the country suffers. Nearly 90% of the country knows the balance of their bank accounts, within $100. Sadly, this is the only positive fact from the banking section.
The final section of the test was housing, and only contained two questions. They found that 44% of Australians believe they will be paying their mortgage off for 30 years, if not more. The nation is not all pessimism though, 58% of the country believes that, at the end of the mortgage, the value of their house will have gone up.
While the nation’s financial knowledge and habits aren’t perfect, Australians should stand tall. The vast majority of the country knows what they are doing with their money, making for a promising future for the country as a whole.
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