Accessibility – Increase Font

Share This Story

Print This Story

A higher cost of living has increased financial hardship for more Australians. We look at why this has happened, and actions you can take to help ease money worries.

For many Australians, life is tougher in a post-COVID world. Since 2020, interest rates, mortgages and inflation have risen fast but real wages have gone down1. Despite the lowest unemployment rate in a generation, higher living costs are affecting living standards.

A challenging economic climate has seen more people experience severe or moderate financial stress, while the number of people who are financially secure has dropped. A 2022 AMP financial wellness report2 showed that women and those working part-time are facing more severe or moderate financial stress at 27% and 26%, respectively. This was an 8% increase since 2020 for both groups.

Financial wellbeing and money attitudes

When a person can meet expenses and has some money left over, is in control of their finances, and feels financially secure, now and in the future, they have a feeling of ‘financial wellbeing’.

Positive financial wellbeing can help us manage financial stress and be more resilient if we’re facing financial stress.

On the path to financial wellbeing

In the current economic climate, it can be hard to feel in control of your finances. The key is to take small, achievable steps to help get (or keep) you on the path to financial wellbeing.

  • Recognise financial ‘red flags’ – these may include getting behind on your mortgage repayments and paying bills late or not paying them.
  • Be financially honest – it’s important to be honest with yourself if you’re under financial stress. Get empowered and educated to help you make better financial decisions. Our online education tools and resources can help. Check out Super questions answered and watch our online webinars. You can also access our online learning.
  • Plan and budget – a clear budget and financial plan can help you restructure spending, manage debt, and change spending habits. Check how much you’re spending and work out where your money is going with ASIC’s MoneySmart Budget Planner. Try the Budget Planner.
  • Get sound advice – getting sound money advice is a vital step. Professional, experienced advice tailored for your situation can help provide a more secure financial future. Find out more.
  • Look for quick wins – simple steps like combining old super accounts can help you feel more in control and keep your money on track now, and into the future.

1 The Australia Institute: ‘Real Wages Fell 4.5% in 2022; Largest Fall on Record as Rate Rises Risk Recession’. 23 February 2023.
2 AMP Financial Wellness Report, 2022.

Issued by H.E.S.T. Australia Ltd ABN 66 006 818 695 AFSL 235249, the Trustee of Health Employees Superannuation Trust Australia (HESTA) ABN 64 971 749 321. This information is of a general nature. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or specific needs so you should look at your own financial position and requirements before making a decision. You may wish to consult an adviser when doing this. The target market determination for HESTA products can be found at Before making a decision about HESTA products you should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (call 1800 813 327 or visit for a copy), and consider any relevant risk (visit the HESTA website for more information).