Keeping up appearances is holding Australians back

Most of us are guilty of spending too much money on things we really shouldn’t.

Most of us are guilty of spending too much money on things we really shouldn’t. Maybe there’s one too many dinners out every week, or you enjoy a weekend away every month or so. It can be fun, there’s no doubt about it. But what impact does it have on our lives, especially financially?

Who’s feeling the pressure?

We’ve completed some research alongside CoreData and in our Financial Fitness whitepaper, the participants were surveyed on their attitudes and behaviours towards their finances. Let’s just put it out there, the scariest statistic is that 35% of Australians surveyed feel pressured to keep up appearances to maintain a certain lifestyle.

How old are you?

We know it’s a question that should never be asked and good thing we can’t hear the answer (even though we think you look amazing for your age). But depending on your age, you’re more likely to feel the effects of being pressured into living a certain lifestyle.

Almost 50% of respondents aged 30 years and younger felt the pressure to keep up appearances, in contrast to only 20% of Australians aged between 51 and 60.

Over to the ladies

The financial odds are stacked up against the ladies. The research revealed a clear disparity between genders, with over 37% of females saying they felt pressured to keep up appearances, versus just over 32% of males.

The females surveyed also said financial stress was impacting their overall wellbeing negatively to a larger extent than males, 90% versus 77%.

But your health is always a priority, apparently

Unfortunately, health and wellbeing has fallen down the ranks in priority. The whitepaper stats show an alarming 39% of respondents skipping their regular dental check-ups, with over 42% of women choosing to miss their regular visit versus 35% of males. Private health insurance also gets a miss with over 31% of those surveyed choosing not to have any with 32% of women decided against it and 30% of men.

Where does the pressure come from?

We’re living in an age where image is everything. Younger generations, the most active users of social media, are constantly surrounded by unachievable lifestyles. Whether they’re using Instagram or YouTube, influencers are portraying what the ‘perfect’ life should look like and pushing the product or service that will apparently get you the desired outcome.

Not only is there an unhealthy need to feel like you have to make your life look a certain way to the online world, but the financial consequences that walk hand in hand with those expectations.

Living in the now can hurt your future

There’s temptation everywhere you look to keep up with the trends. We’re here to tell you that we understand those attractions and the linked pressures because we’re definitely not immune to them! We just want to remind you that it does pay off to start thinking of your future.

Keeping up with appearances today can be a dangerous strategy to live by if you don’t have a strategic plan for your longer term financial security.

Are you ready for two alarming stats? 18% of Australians aren’t saving anything each pay cycle and over 8% spending more than they earn.

The research also revealed that 38% of Australians are choosing to forgo buying their own home in order to keep up appearances.

How to get out of a financial rut

We understand that everyone’s situation is unique along with their needs and priorities. We also know that cutting back on all appearances isn’t realistic, so you’d be relieved to hear that isn’t the only solution. A strategic financial plan, which includes a budget and savings regimen, may be the answer to combating the pressure and stress involved with keeping up appearances.

Creating a financial plan with the help of a FinChoice adviser can help you achieve your goals, without giving up everything that is important. It’s not about sacrificing the lifestyle you want to live and you might be surprised to learn that making a few adjustments to the way you use your money could have a significant impact on your overall financial wellness. Not only could it help with the pressure of today, but also help you achieve your long term financial goals.

Tips to get you started

  1. If you’re a foodie, you don’t have to give up eating out but resist the urge to follow the hype. Challenge yourself to finding the next best eatery or café and stay within your budget.
  2. Print out your bank and credit card statements and identify what spending you can reduce or cut out so it can be saved or invested to reach your goals.
  3. Create a defined budget and stick to it and remember to save a proportion of your salary each pay cycle in a bank account which you cannot access online.
  4. Go shopping in your wardrobe and consider selling anything you haven’t worn in 12 months.
  5. Consider establishing a relationship with a qualified financial adviser who can help you develop greater financial confidence and control over your financial situation.
  6. Track the progress you have made on your short and long term financial goals. For example, consider a fortnightly, six monthly and New Year review and remember to celebrate reaching your goals.