2023 is officially in motion and today we are joined by award-winning broker Kristin Tunbridge and Managing Director Marissa Schulze. Join us to discover the things you can do this year to make it your best one so far financially.
As we uncover Australians’ top financial concerns, we’ll share exclusive resources to help you prepare for the year ahead.
Canstar’s Consumer Pulse Report 2022
What is this report about and what insight does it provide?
Let’s explore a bit about the data insights we are about to unwrap. The 2022 Canstar Consumer Pulse Report provides exclusive data insights from interviews with over 2000 Australians over the age of 18.
It focuses on our main financial pain points, delving into topics that include concerns, spending habits, debt and savings.
Now, let’s break down some of the main concerns revealed in this report!
Australians’ main financial concern in 2023 is… Inflation!
The biggest concern in Australians’ minds this year is the rise of our general living costs.
Canstar’s report revealed roughly 59% of Australians are listing concerns around categories such as:
- rental costs
- energy and gas bills
- mortgage interest rates and
- petrol prices to name a few, which all fall under this big one topic: Inflation.
According to the report, an alarming 44% of the interviewees were quite concerned about inflation. They had the feeling that measures adopted by the government and Reserve Bank wouldn’t suffice to get our inflation figures under control.
Encouraging news might come as a pleasant surprise in sight of these figures. Many of the major banks have reassessed their inflation projections moving them downwards! Which suggests we are actually doing better than expected in managing inflation as a country.
The revisions on these estimates often result in great reactions when it comes to fixed rates. Challenging original expectations on how high interest rates would go, we now see they are unlikely to Skyrocket. At least, not as high as we originally thought a couple of months ago.
Taking this good news into account, let’s drill down deeper into the different categories that contribute to inflation.
Feeding the family and bringing food to the table is the most predominant concern we are all facing this year.
With 67% of Australians reporting increased spend, this non-discretionary expense is definitely one to look out for!
When it comes to grocery shopping, there are a few things you can do:
- Adjusting the type of groceries you purchase
- checking out catalogues to budget plan your meals, and
- not rushing to the supermarket for last-minute shopping can all make a massive difference to your weekly savings!
Keep an eye out for those weekly specials or even switch to online grocery shopping to avoid and control impulse buying decisions. These are other great alternatives to consider to keep your costs under control.
2. Rental costs
Interestingly, 11% of Australians were mostly concerned with rental cost increases.
Last on the list pre-covid, rental costs now top the list as the second main financial concern for 2023.
Although this definitely represents a great opportunity for property investors who can benefit from the market’s high demand, the reality for tenants presents a completely different picture. Vacancy rates standing at an all-time low and continuously increasing rental costs account for much of the fear around this category.
What do our experts suggest you can do to overcome this crippling concern?
If you currently are a tenant, our top tip is simple: make sure you remain a good one!
Making sure you:
- Look after the property
- Do a little bit of extra work (things like looking after the garden)
- and meeting your rental obligations on time every time can keep you safe from the worst-case scenario: being kicked out.
Having a conversation with your property manager If you are finding your current rental too expensive early on can also help.
It can avoid defaulting on your payments, protecting you from being unable to find a new property to rent in the future.
Working out your options early on and moving into a cheaper suburb or smaller house can be the best decision to protect your long-term interests.
And talking about long-term interests…
Have you considered actually purchasing a home?
Even with interest rates on the rise, purchasing your own home can be more affordable than you imagine.
As brokers, we talk to Australians looking to buy their first home and purchase property all the time. Often, we realise their loan repayments wouldn’t actually be much more than what their current rental costs.
Talking to our trusted Mortgage brokers can help you get a clear picture of what you could actually afford! Getting informed about the best path to follow is the best way to get into home ownership sooner.
If things like having a big enough deposit have been scaring you away from reaching your goals, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation with our award-winning team to explore options like shared equity products and grants that can help you out of the rent trap!
We are always here to guide you with options to set up a plan towards your first home purchase!
3. Energy and gas prices
The third biggest cost people were concerned with is not much of a surprise. 10% of Australians listed energy and gas prices as their top financial concern for 2023.
When it comes to energy and gas, we find that one of the main issues with securing a competitive rate is taking the time to shop around for the best deal. Often, we sign up for any electricity company and forget to keep an eye on better deals.
At Rise High, we love supporting our clients to make the most out of their hard-earned money, with our comparison tool, you can discover what your best energy and gas options are.
Now, if you are looking for a long-term solution, consider investing in solar energy panels or putting a battery on your property! These are two great alternatives to explore. Banks often reward clients for making their home energy efficient by providing cheaper interest rates or providing the exclusive benefits that come with ethical loans.
As your trusted finance partner, we would love the opportunity of guiding you in the right direction to access the right loan for your needs!
4. Mortgage Interest Rate movements
Next on our list of financial concerns is… Mortgage Interest Rate movements!
A very interesting thing that came out of this report is that out of the people interviewed, 15% had dutifully reviewed their home loan and saved a considerable amount of money, 8% had tried unsuccessfully, and an alarming 77% had not considered getting their home loan reviewed!
Constantly reviewing your home loan is our #1 tip to address this financial concern, as rates and offers are constantly changing, meaning you could potentially be saving thousands of dollars on your current and upcoming loan repayments!
At Rise High, we are constantly repricing and reviewing our clients’ existing loans, negotiating with lenders and banks to get them discounts and obtain better rates. Last month alone, we saved our clients a wonderful $147,326 through our proactive and fee-free loan reviews!
Reviewing your loans will really ease up the pressure to help you cope with most other stresses that contribute to financial concerns around inflation, so by making that one phone call or seeking out help from a trusted Mortgage Broker, you can really make a difference.
5. Petrol prices
This concern has probably always been on the list. But with all that has been happening in the world, petrol prices have now risen to become one of our top financial concerns.
If you are looking for a long-term solution to this issue, considering to invest in a hybrid or plug-in car can be a great option. Our Rise High brokers have access to a range of ethical lending partners who can definitely offer great rates and discounts to support you.
For more immediate and budget-conscious alternatives, using public transport, bike riding and walking can be fantastic ideas that can decrease your expenses in petrol and parking, and perhaps even contribute to a thinner waistline! (An added bonus after the Christmas season!)
Are you looking for ideas to save on more than just petrol? Our money-saving worksheet can help you get inspired with loads of ideas and habits you can adopt to decrease your expenses. It can also help you calculate how much you will save yearly just by committing to a new, more budget-conscious lifestyle!
Exclusive statistics you might be keen to uncover
At the very beginning of this article, we also mentioned that Canstar’s Consumer Pulse Report also covers topics that include Australians’ debt levels and saving habits.
Were there any other insights that caught our eye?
One of the interesting things that came out of 2022 is that Australians’ generally reduced their personal debt levels by around 43% on average!
On average, personal debt levels (which include personal loans, hex debts, buy now pay later and zip pay type loans) came down from about $46,000 in 2021 to around $13,000 in 2022.
So what might be the cause behind such a massive change?
Not being able to travel or spend as much during COVID, definitely made us better savers! With fewer opportunities to spend, it looks like Australians’ made the most out of their time paying off some of that personal debt. Something to celebrate!
However, the report revealed that 38% of Australians did dip into their savings in 2022.
Whether that was to help cope with inflation and the rising interest rates, or to pay down some debt and even buy a new house, Australian savings dipped again in the last 12 months.
Now that COVID has calmed down a bit, it looks like we’ve started spending a bit too much (which does contribute to our inflation figures!) It definitely is all about finding that happy medium moving forward. Figuring out a happy level between living the lifestyle we want and making sure we are having really healthy savings on the side.
Now, one final topic that came up in the report as well, was people’s attitudes towards housing affordability.
Although housing affordability is one of those topics where there are always conflicting reports, this particular report revealed more than 50% of first-time home buyers are really confident and positive about being able to afford their first home purchase within the next five tears.
Even though interest rates have gone up, there are definitely still affordable options. With the property market starting to settle down a bit, we are now finding a lot of great options for first-home buyers, who are not having to deal with the stress of rapidly rising property prices.
At Rise High, we are committed to helping you achieve your goals in 2023, and whether that means looking into property finance, refinancing or debt consolidation to pay down existing debt sooner, or you just need some help, coaching and mentoring to address your most pressing financial concerns and get your finances on track, we are here for you!
Our services are fee-free, so please reach out! We would love to help make 2023 the best year for you yet!