Media Release

Addicted to debt: 1.7 million Australians facing debt for life

  • Over half Australian adults are living in debt, with 1.7 million adults seeing no light at the end of the ‘debt-tunnel’
  • Australian households have a combined credit card and personal loan debt of over $109 billion
  • Not too late to make better money choices and find the right tools to empower you

September 16, 2015, Sydney, Australia – A new study commissioned by one of Australia’s biggest comparison websites, has revealed that almost 2 million Australians don’t ever see themselves crawling out of debt.

The latest survey has revealed that while more than half (53 percent) of Australian adults (an estimated 9 million) are currently in debt, with one in 10 (10 percent) of adults don’t foresee ever living debt-free. This works out to be an estimated 1.7 million adults across Australia – and the debt pile up is likely to begin as young as their 20s.

The results showed that the average age when Australians start accumulating debt is 27, and that only one-fifth of respondents (19 percent or 3.2 million Australians) saw themselves toppling their debt within the next 5 years. Further, even fewer Australian adults (17 percent or 2.9 million) saw themselves sorting out their debt within the next 6-20 years.

Michelle Hutchison, Money Expert at, said that while many Australians don’t have a great track record with their personal finances, change is always possible provided you commit to making that change and find the tools to help you along the way.

“There is no reason for people to be piling on a debt they can’t see their way out of. While Australia has a combined credit card and personal loan debt of over $109 billion, up by about $2 billion over the past year, it’s not too late to dig your heels into the ground and find a way out of debt.

"Australia has a serious debt issue and many Australians are too complacent about debt. We're now growing up with so much debt and accumulating debt from a young age with the use of tech gadget plans like mobile phones, laptops, iPads and other devices.

"Australians need to be more conscious about the amount of debt they are getting themselves and their families into and work out how they will pay it back before they reach retirement."

Other findings from the survey:

  • After the age of 27, Australians tend to take on debt, but they are more likely to be debt-free by the time they reach 53, where 50% of respondents say they have no debt
  • Australians without kids were most likely to be out of debt – with 55% of them debt-free. Only 44% of parents considered themselves debt-free.
    Those most likely to have no debt are Baby Boomers, with 63% saying they are debt-free.
  • Those most likely to have no debt are Baby Boomers, with 63% saying they are debt-free.
  • Generation X is the most likely to be pessimistic about future debt, with 12.5% of 35-54 year olds thinking they’ll never be debt-free

State by State

  • Queenslanders are the most likely to be debt-free, with just over 52% of adults saying they are not in debt, very closely followed by South Australians at 52%
  • Of those who are in debt, NSW residents are most likely to think they’ll never be free of debt (22%) followed by Western Australians (20%). The most optimistic state was ACT where only 11% of those in debt think they’ll be in debt for life.
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