New study reveals almost a third of Australians struggling financially

Published: 20 March 2017

broke

Those miserable few days, trying to channel your inner Masterchef by whipping up something with a packet of pasta, tin of tuna, and can of tomatoes is becoming all the more common for Aussie households, with it being confirmed that a third of Australians are now living paycheque to paycheque. (And those are just the ones brave enough to admit it).

The disturbing reality reported today by News Corp, based on figures by BT Financial Group show that the number of people hanging out for pay day has bumped from 29% to 32% in the past two years.

A decade ago, financial gurus would slam greedy millennials for splurging on luxury items and holidays on the ‘plastic fantastic’ however with double digit percentage rises in fruit, vegetables, beef and lamb over the past 48 months, compared to a paltry 1.9% wage growth, it’s now safe to now assume that a fair wack of the nation’s $51.4 Billion credit card debt is going on basic living expenses, utilities, and like any dance, soon the music has to stop.

Proof of our dire financial situation was also reported in the paper, showing more than 14-thousand people called the National Debt Helpline in February, up 11% from the same month a year ago.

The ominous figures were backed up Financial Counselling Australia’s Chief Executive Fiona Guthrie who told News Corp in their report too many people were “living close to the edge” with the banks still all too happy to be extending credit.

“At the moment the focus is on giving people more credit and that’s considered the norm, that’s not the way we should be living.”

Of the more than $51 Billion owed on credit cards, there’s more than $32 Billion accruing interest, which, is a nice little earner, as it’s long been suspected the perfect credit card customer is one that can never pay off their principal, but is just responsible enough to make the minimum interest payment every month.

Speaking of their findings BT’s Bryan Ashenden told News Corp’s Sophie Elsworth;

“Wages are not increasing at the rate they once did and while interest rates are low people may have borrowed more than they should while other costs of living continue to go up.’’

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This is backed up by Anglicare, who speaking with TEN Eyewitness News last week revealed they had noticed a sizable increase in wage earning, working class families asking for food assistance vouchers that the charity once only provided to those unemployed. 

“Every year we see more and more working class families that are struggling to put food on the table. The cost of living is rising, but the cost of food, especially fresh fruit and veg, is rising exponentially,” said Sustainable Living Manager for Anglicare Teresa Clark.

“I believe there are a lot of parents who will go without food themselves so they can make sure the kids have something to eat, it’s the truth that we see every week.”

Anglicare provide support for many, many families struggling to make ends meet. They run a program for families, including emergency relief, with food vouchers and a mobile community pantry, where families can spend $10 and get up to $60 worth of food.

“For people who live on low income, they can come to the pantry site, and for $10 fill up a reusable green bag with grocery items.

“You can find most of your pantry filler standard items, and the retail value we price it as is somewhere between 50 and 60 dollars,” Ms Clark said.

Anyone on a pension or health care card are welcome to the Mobile Community Pantries, and they provide 15 sites throughout Sydney. For anyone interested, all details can be found on the Anglicare website.