How are Australians coping financially?

More than a third experienced hardship in last quarter, says NAB

How are Australians coping financially?


By Jayden Fennell

New NAB research has found Australians are generally coping well financially despite cost-of-living pressure – but 36% of survey respondents admitted to experiencing financial hardship in the past three months.

The major bank  said the research, which is based on a 10-point scale, revealed Australians continued to score a modest 4.4 points (while 10 is at the top of the scale signalling they are struggling a lot).

The research was conducted by NAB Economics from August to September, based on responses from 2,050 Australians weighted to the population.

NAB personal banking executive Mark Baylis (pictured above), said the findings were consistent with what customers were telling the bank’s NAB Assist team.

“Most of our customers are in a good financial position, but there are some pockets of concern,” Baylis said. “Banks have a critical role to provide support to home loan customers finding the increasing interest rates challenging. While 70% of home loan customers are ahead on their repayments, I encourage anyone concerned to speak to their bank early.”

NAB’s research also found financial hardship was most evident in Western Australia (45%), South Australia/Northern Territory (38%) and Victoria (37%). Hardship was less prevalent in NSW/ACT, Queensland and Tasmania. The share of Australians who said they experienced financial hardship over the past three months was 36% (compared with 35% in Q2 2022 and 29% in Q1 2022).

Baylis said financial hardship was defined as not being able to pay a bill, cover rent on time, meet minimum credit card payments or take care of medical expenses.

“Regardless of what challenges they face, our NAB Assist team listens to each customer’s situation and can offer tailored solutions. These can include a reduced payment arrangement, payment break or restructuring their loan,” he said.

“The earlier a customer gets in touch with us, the quicker we can help. In fact, throughout this year, 97% of our customers were back on track within 90 days of receiving assistance from NAB Assist.”

Recent NAB research also found one in two Australians do not regularly sit down to look at their finances, while a third say money was a source of conflict in their relationships.

The major bank found 32% do not keep track of their incomings and outgoings (among men aged 18-29 the figure is 44%), while 53% of men aged 18-29 said money was a source of stress in their relationships. For Australians with children under 18, 43% say money is source of relationship stress.

NAB executive Krissie Jones (pictured above right) said NAB’s insights revealed a need for many to find a new way to reduce the stress of managing finances.

“The research clearly shows Australians want to take more control of their money, but they often don’t know where to start,” Jones said. “We encourage our customers to regularly check their incomings and outgoings and have open and honest conversations with your partner about your money goals. These little changes can make a big difference to your finances in the long run.” 

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