If you think it’s romantic to live from hand to mouth, you’ve read too many tales about down and out poets and musicians. Financial stress is a huge problem in Australia with serious consequences for your personal wellbeing, mental health and the security of your family.
Dispelling the myths
Contrary to what you might believe, financial stress is not restricted to those surviving on low pay. Even people earning above the average can and do end up in serious financial stress.
A survey carried out in June 2010 by Dun & Bradstreet revealed that nearly 40% of working Australians could only survive for 30 days on their current savings if they lost their job. To give you an idea of just how commonplace financial stress is in Australia, the same survey revealed the most vulnerable people to be middle income households (earning between $30,000-69,999) and those aged between 18 and 49.
Examine your situation
The best way to deal with and alleviate financial stress is to recognise the symptoms early and take action. Take a close look at the following list of situations and see if any (or how many) apply to you:
- You make only the minimum payments on credit cards month after month
- You make important payments (such as rent or mortgage) late
- You use money from one lender to pay another
- You use cash-advances from your credit card to pay daily living expenses
- You apply for or accept new credit cards because the credit limits on your existing cards have been exhausted
- You transfer balances owing to new accounts to avoid paying off debt
- You run out of cash (often or always)
Ring any bells? If these are some of the strategies you are resorting to in order to manage your finances and keep your head above water, chances are you about to hit an iceberg, and unless you do something, you’ll start to sink.
What to do next?
Don’t be complacent. Things will not resolve of their own accord or by wishing them away. Now you’ve recognised the signs, apply some strategies to deal with financial stress in your life.