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Dreams on hold: 10 million Aussies delay major milestones due to cashflow woes

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Australians have shelved everything from property upgrades to parenthood due to the rising cost of living, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,071 respondents found 1 in 2 Australians (53%) – equivalent to almost 10 million people – admit they have paused a major life milestone due to soaring living costs.

The research revealed more than 1 in 3 (37%) have halted holidaying, while 16% have delayed upgrading their home due to the cost of living.

Moving out of home (9%), career progression (6%) and starting a family (5%) are other milestones on hiatus.

Sarah Megginson, personal finance expert at Finder, said the cost of living was stopping many in their tracks.

"Whether you dream of having a baby, buying a new home or even just moving out of home for the first time, many plans have been put on hold because the cost of living has added so much financial pressure the last couple of years.

"Many people feel like they're going backwards financially at the moment.

"If you have a home loan, your mortgage is likely to have increased – or if you've locked in a great fixed rate, your mortgage will soon soar – and everyday expenses are eating up all our spare cash.

"These big life milestones aren't cheap, so many are pulling the pin or postponing events until their financial situation improves."

Finder's research revealed 4% had put off getting married due to economic conditions, while 3% had halted plans to send their kids to private school.

Megginson recommended Aussies build their savings while life plans are on hold.

"A lot of people feel like they're starting from scratch – in fact our research shows that nearly half of Aussies have less than $1,000 in savings.

"If you want to start moving in a different direction, ask yourself what you can do today to make a start.

"People often hate the idea of sticking to a budget and setting goals and boundaries around money because they think it's going to be restrictive and hard.

"In my experience, having a budget is actually the opposite – it gives you the structure of knowing exactly what you can afford, and it's really motivating to chip away at debt and see your savings grow."

Megginson suggested Aussies make immediate financial changes to free up cash.

"Scour every expense and compare providers to see where you can save. Then put that money in a dedicated account assigned to your life goals, or use it to pay down debt if you have credit cards and personal loans to get rid of.

"You can do it in a way that feels reasonable and doesn't restrict your everyday enjoyment, so life doesn't start to feel like it's all work and no play."

Have you paused any of the following due to the rising cost of living?
Upgrading my home16%
Moving out of home9%
Career progression6%
Starting a family5%
Getting married4%
Sending my kids to private school3%
I haven't paused anything47%
Source: Finder survey of 1,071 respondents, April 2024


  • Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker is a monthly recurring nationally representative survey of more than 60,000 respondents.
  • Figures in this release are based on 1,071 respondents from April 2024.
  • The Consumer Sentiment Tracker is owned by Finder and operated by Qualtrics, an SAP company.
  • The survey has been running monthly since May 2019.

Here's how budgeting can help you save more and prepare for the future.

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