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ANZ Roy Morgan 2021 Financial Wellbeing Survey

ANZ has released the results of the 2021 Financial Wellbeing Survey, which examines the financial wellbeing of 3,125 adults in Australia.
FINANCIAL WELLBEING OVERVIEW

ANZ has released the results of the 2021 Financial Wellbeing Survey, which examines the financial wellbeing of 3,125 adults in Australia. 

The 2021 survey, the seventh iteration in the series since 2002, includes updated modelling and is designed to improve our explanation and understanding of financial wellbeing. 

The 2021 survey is available here and all past research is available here.

FOREWORD

ANZ has been exploring the financial literacy, capability, attitudes and behaviours of Australian adults for almost 20 years. The 2021 Financial Wellbeing Survey, the seventh iteration in the series since 2002, includes updated modelling and is designed to improve our explanation and understanding of financial wellbeing.

In 2017, building on the work of Emeritus Professor Elaine Kempson, our survey evolved to consider for the first time how a range of factors drive financial wellbeing outcomes.1 Since then, international research and practice in the areas of measuring and improving people’s financial wellbeing have developed substantially. 

This survey, undertaken in mid-2021, continues to draw on the pivotal work of Kempson et al. but importantly, also takes into account the considerable evolution in thinking about financial wellbeing and capability here in Australia and internationally in recent years.

Thank you to Stephen Prendergast (Prescience Research) and David Blackmore for their continued outstanding analysis, to Roy Morgan for its professionalism in conducting the survey in Australia and New Zealand and to Professor Elaine Kempson for her personal support and considerable insights. 

We’d especially like to acknowledge our Australian Steering Committee members for their ongoing support, insights and guidance and for committing their time during a very challenging period (and a global pandemic). Special thanks to Laura Higgins (ASIC), Gerard Brody (Consumer Action Law Centre), Professor Roslyn Russell (RMIT University) and Professor Shelley Mallett (Brotherhood of St Laurence). 

To the more than 5,000 participants across Australia and New Zealand who participated in this survey, thank you for your time, enthusiasm and contributions to a more comprehensive understanding of financial wellbeing in Australia and New Zealand.

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FINANCIAL WELLBEING IS THE EXTENT TO WHICH SOMEONE IS ABLE TO MEET ALL THEIR CURRENT COMMITMENTS AND NEEDS COMFORTABLY, AND HAS THE FINANCIAL RESILIENCE TO MAINTAIN THIS IN THE FUTURE.

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1. Kempson et al.

SURVEY CONTEXT

Financial wellbeing in a time of pandemic

The ANZ Roy Morgan Financial Wellbeing Indicator is a proxy measure based on the Kempson et al. conceptual model of financial wellbeing, derived from data gathered through the weekly Roy Morgan Single Source interview and survey, which canvasses approximately 50,000 Australians annually. The breadth of data gathered through Roy Morgan Single Source enabled examination of Australians’ financial wellbeing at a more granular level than was possible previously.

At the time of its launch in December 2019, we did not anticipate that the new quarterly snapshot offered by the ANZ Roy Morgan FWBI would become a litmus test for the financial wellbeing of Australians at various stages of the global pandemic. However, since the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020, it has enabled us to see that impacts on the economy and on people’s lives have been significant and widespread. 

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THE PANDEMIC AFFECTED HOW PEOPLE FELT ABOUT THEIR FINANCIAL SITUATION, HOW THEY SPENT AND SAVED THEIR MONEY AND THEIR OVERALL FINANCIAL WELLBEING.

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Financial wellbeing fell by 5.3% from March 2020 to March 2021. However, the effect on Australians’ financial wellbeing was already evident in the months of April and May 2020, with the pandemic having the greatest impact on how Australians were feeling about their current and future financial situation as opposed to more objective measures of economic impact, such as ‘meeting everyday commitments’ and their ‘resilience for the future’ (Figure A). ‘Feeling comfortable’ recovered slightly from the initial shock, while ‘meeting everyday commitments’ remained at a lower level, and the pandemic had minimal impact on ‘financial resilience’ at the aggregate level. Individuals’ ability to meet their financial commitments and ensure they have financial reserves in place, were significantly underpinned by government support and institutional initiatives, which were put in place to help minimise the impacts of COVID-19.

Over time, the FWBI went on to show that the initial impact of COVID-19 fell disproportionately for some groups more than others. Business owners experienced a larger decline in financial wellbeing year-on-year (down 6.1%) than employees (down 5.5%) and retirees (down 5.2%). Micro business owners – businesses with less than five employees – experienced an even larger decline in financial wellbeing year-on-year, down 8.3%.

Similarly, people in some occupations were impacted differently by the pandemic as certain industries were more directly impacted by social distancing and other restrictions. Some of the occupations that experienced large declines in financial wellbeing were:

  • Food trades (down 18.6%)
  • Arts and media professionals (down 16.8%)
  • Construction trades (down 16.5%)
  • Personal assistants and secretaries (down 15.8%)
  • Store persons (down 15.6%)
  • Hospitality workers (down 11.9%) (Figure B)

People working in a small group of occupations experienced improvements in their financial wellbeing year-on-year, as restrictions resulted in increased demand for many of these occupations. These include:

  • Farmers and farm managers (up 8.9%)
  • Other labourers (up 8.8%)
  • Protective service workers (up 7.4%)
  • Cleaners and laundry workers (up 7.2%)
  • Factory process workers (up 5.2%)
  • Carers and aides (up 4.0%) (Figure B).

The ANZ Roy Morgan Financial Wellbeing Indicator will continue to monitor quarterly the ongoing effects of the pandemic, and other general and unforeseen events to come.

Click to download a PDF of the ANZ Roy Morgan 2021 Financial Wellbeing Survey.

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