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Money Mistakes Report 2022

Find out the biggest financial blunders Aussies are guilty of.

Mistakes are a part of life, and when it comes to money, we all lose balance once in a while. Whether it's grappling with debt, struggling to avoid online shopping or not knowing how to get a better deal, most of us have slipped up with our finances at least once.

Money Mistakes Report findings

  • 36% of Australians are embarrassed about their bank account balance
  • 29% of Australians confess they are bad with money
  • 70% of Australians have made a money mistake

How do Australians feel about their finances?

Money can't buy happiness and it's certainly not a marker of one's worth, but stigma and shame undoubtedly underpin many people's relationship with money. More than 1 in 3 Australians (36%) feel embarrassed by their bank account balance. This includes 19% who admit their balance is shocking and a further 17% who are embarrassed but making progress.

Nearly half (48%) said they aren't embarrassed by their cash position but admit it could be better, while 16% confidently declare their balance is impressive. The data shows men are more proud of their money than women; 21% of men think their bank balance is admirable compared to 13% of women.

There is also a generational divide when it comes to money pride. More than half (54%) of generation Z Aussies admit to feeling ashamed of the money in their account compared to just 16% of baby boomers.

Do Aussies think they are good with money?

They say confidence is key, but with money management, it's important to understand where we can do better. More than 1 in 4 Australians (29%) confess they are bad with money, according to Finder's research. This includes 18% who admit their financial skills are lacking, but they don't have much debt and 7% who claim to need help.

Just 1 in 5 (22%) Aussies describe themselves as being great with money. Again, there is an evident gender gap. Men (26%) are considerably more likely than women (18%) to believe their money skills are enviable. Meanwhile, women (10%) are more likely to say they need financial help than men (5%).

Young Aussies are the least confident in their money skills, suggesting age and experience could be correlated with perceived financial diligence. The research found 40% of generation Z say they aren't good with money, compared to just 23% of baby boomers.

What money mistakes have Aussies made?

Everyone slips up once in a while. Whether it's overspending on Friday night drinks, missing a credit card repayment or being hostage to a swarm of subscription services, we've all been there. Nearly 3 in 4 (70%) of Australians own up to making a money mistake at some point according to Finder's research.

Splurging on the sales came in as the top money mistake made by Australians, with 34% admitting to having spent too much money shopping. In second place comes falling into credit card debt, with 24% of Aussies having committed this common slip-up. More than 1 in 5 (22%) admit to having spent too much money at bars, pubs or clubs.

Once again, older Australians are the most confident in their financial skills. Just over half (51%) of baby boomers proclaim they haven't made any money mistakes compared to just 15% of generation Z and 18% of millennials (generation Y). Generation Z are the most likely to have spent too much money on shopping (49%), going out to bars or pubs (34%), ordering food delivery (29%) and on subscription services (24%).

However, when it comes to credit card debt, millennials take first place, with 29% having made this mistake. Millennials are also the most likely to have taken out a bad loan (11%) or overpaid for a house (9%). Meanwhile, generation X take the prize for most likely to pay their bills late (23%).

How to boost your financial fitness

Swap the spreadsheets for apps. Budgeting your money can be complex. Using calculators and spreadsheets to calculate your income and expenses is time-consuming and, frankly, boring. These days, there are money management apps, like the Finder app, that do the hard yards for you. Plug in your bank account details and you can see all your money in a single place – including any upcoming bills.

Renegotiate your salary. Improving your financial fitness means not just taking care of your expenses, but also working to boost your income. If you think you've earned a pay raise or you're not being paid fairly, it's probably time for a chat with your boss. Do your research on what others in similar roles in your industry are being paid, and put together a case on why you should receive a raise. Remember, if you don't ask, you won't receive – so ask!

Invest for the long haul. Investing is one of the best ways to grow your wealth over time. It might sound scary and complicated, but it's actually simpler than you think. Share trading apps like eToro and Superhero make it easier than ever to buy and sell shares online – just beware of brokerage fees. Remember that no investment is a guaranteed profit, but diversifying your investments across different stocks and industries, and having a long-term outlook, will help to protect you from losses.

Ditch your underperforming super fund. Saying goodbye to your underperforming super fund is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Switching to a low-fee, high-performing fund will have an enormous impact on your wealth in retirement, and it's actually easy to do. Look for funds where fees are no more than 1% of your balance per year and with strong performance over the past 5 years.

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