Australia has a low official cash rate, low inflation and reasonably healthy employment – but according to new research released by AMP, we’re feeling more financial stressed than ever.
The data collected for AMP’s Financial Wellness report has revealed that Australians’ confidence in their finances continued to decrease in the past two years from 54% of people confident in 2014 compared to 48% in 2016.
Vicki Doyle, Director Corporate Superannuation, AMP commented on the impact of financial stress on individuals in the workplace and business productivity.
“Financial stress is a common occurrence in the Australian workforce, with more than 2.8 million employees, representing one in four workers, under financial stress in 2016.
“People who experience financial stress are more likely to be unable to work due to stressrelated sickness, which can affect their health and morale in addition to lowering workplace productivity – at an estimated cost of $47 billion in lost annual revenue for employers.
“It’s important we find ways to address levels of financial stress in the workplace. We know the real difference financial goals can make in preventing and overcoming financial stress. Australians who have clearly defined goals are much more likely to be financially secure,” she said.
Housing costs are undoubtedly contributing to this financial stress, as evidenced by this chart below, sourced from this article.
According to AMP’s research, Australians say common triggers for their financial stress are bad debt (50% of stressed workers), the need to save for retirement (35%) and providing for their family (34%). Missing bills and making mortgage repayments also contribute to higher levels of financial stress for 32 and 22 per cent of stressed employees, respectively.
The research shows financially stressed employees lose on average 6.9 hours of productive work per week and, on average, are absent 1.3 hours per week due to stress-related sickness.
“In addition to the personal impact of financial stress, we’re also seeing a significant impact on business owners and operators through lost productivity and employee absenteeism, which is particularly high in the hospitality and healthcare industries,” Ms Doyle said.