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Lean on me: 6 million Australians turn to family and friends for financial support

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Aussies are leaning on their nearest and dearest as cost of living pressures grow, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,085 revealed 1 in 3 (30%) Australians – equivalent to 6 million people – have leaned on family and friends for financial support in the past 12 months.

Groceries (16%) were the top expense Australians sought financial help for, followed by rent (9%) and petrol (7%).

Medical costs (5%) and school fees (5%) were next on the list.

Of those who asked for financial help, 2 in 5 (44%) called on their parents, while just over 1 in 3 (37%) leaned on friends.

It wasn't just older Australians giving to the young – almost 1 in 10 (8%) got financial support from their kids.

Sarah Megginson, money expert at Finder, said asking friends and family for financial support can be difficult but necessary to get through difficult financial times.

"Help starts with being honest with yourself about the truth of your financial situation.

"The first step is to get your head out of the sand and understand all the expenses going out versus the income you earn.

"Showing your friends or family that you have done the sums to manage your expenses after their help will make it easier for them to feel like they aren't wasting their money."

The highest amount of money requested was for mortgage payments, with those needing aid (4%) seeking an average of $3,089.

This was followed closely by those seeking money to cover school fees (5%) who asked for an average of $2,897.

Megginson said to get out of financial hardship, you need to clearly understand where your money is going, so that borrowing from friends and family happens in context of the bigger picture – rather than a quick fix.

"Make a budget that lists all of your income and expenses, including bills, groceries and discretionary spending.

"Free tools like the Finder app can help categorise your spending and your bills and help you identify areas where you can save money."

Gen Z was in need of the most help from friends and family (59%), compared to gen X (19%) and baby boomers (5%).

Megginson said shopping around and paying less for things like car insurance and your phone plan is another way you can get back on the financial front foot.

"Getting out of financial hardship and changing your spending and saving habits takes time, so be patient and stay committed to your plan.

"If you're really struggling, contact the national debt helpline on 1800 007 007," Megginson said.

Have you had to ask a friend or family member for financial help in the past 12 months?
ExpensePercentage who asked for helpHow much they asked for
Yes, for groceries16%148
Yes, for rent9%399
Yes, for petrol7%505
Yes, for medical costs (e.g. doctor's visit, medicine)5%997
Yes, for school fees5%2,897
Yes, for travel costs4%986
Yes, to pay off personal debt (e.g. credit card, BNPL, personal loan)4%$1,047
Yes, for my mortgage repayment4%3,089
Yes, to pay a fine (e.g. road fine, parking fine)2%N/A*
Other (please specify)1%N/A*
No, I haven't had to ask anyone for financial help70%N/A
Source: Finder survey of 1,085 respondents, December 2022. *Categories with fewer than 40 responses were excluded.
Who did you ask?
Extended family9%
Source: Finder survey of 329 respondents who asked for financial help, December 2022

Here are some ways to protect yourself when lending friends money.

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