Media Release

Why so many people struggle when moving to Australia

  • Highest proportion of people in Australia who were born overseas in about 120 years
  • Most are stressed by their financial situation: Moving to Australia report
  • launches Moving to Australia hub for MoneySmart Week

September 3, 2014, SYDNEY – Lack of financial literacy is the likely cause of stress for people in Australia who were born overseas, according to a new report by one of Australia’s biggest comparison websites

The Moving to Australia Report, released today, found that the majority (64 percent) of people in Australia who were born overseas were stressed by their financial situation.

Baby boomers and older people aged over 55 found organising finances more difficult than other generations, with over one in five having trouble with their money.

However, it was generation X (aged 34-55) who were the most stressed when it came to sorting their finances, with 70 percent finding it stressful, followed closely by Generation Y (aged 18-34) with 69 percent.

The Report included a survey of more than 1,000 people in Australia commissioned by and conducted by leading global research provider pureprofile. It coincides with the launch of the Moving to Australia hub as part of ASIC’s MoneySmart Week from September 1-7, an initiative to help improve financial literacy in Australia.

Michelle Hutchison, Money Expert at, said the Moving to Australia hub was created to help the 6.4 million people who are living in Australia and were born overseas.

“More people are coming to Australia every year to live, work, study or travel and it’s clear that many of these people need help with finding the right information all in the one place.

“In fact, 60 percent of Australia’s population growth last year was from net overseas migration, with the Australian government granting 4.7 million permanent and temporary visas during 2012-13 alone, an increase of 5.3 percent from the previous year2.

“What’s more, the proportion of people in Australia who were born overseas is 28 percent, which is the highest level in about 120 years. The number of migrants increased by 1.7 million people and the proportion has increased from 24 percent in the past decade3.

“Our report shows that almost half (48 percent) of respondents surveyed found that sorting out their finances was at least a little stressful, while one in 10 found it very stressful and 4 percent found it overwhelming.

“The Moving to Australia hub aims to help those who are planning to come to Australia as well as those already living here by offering free guides and tools about banking in Australia, the process of moving here, visas and citizenship, and more,” said Mrs Hutchison.

Looking for work was the most difficult part of moving to Australia for the survey respondents, with almost half (45 percent) finding it tough to secure a job. Gen Y found looking for work the most difficult while it was the least difficult for Gen X.

Over one in four (26 percent) found language was the hardest to tackle, while almost one in five (18 percent) said organising finances was the most difficult, and accommodation was the hardest for one in 10 respondents (10 percent).

“Many people come to Australia perhaps not realising how different it is to other countries. While Australia is a beautiful and prosperous country, it is one of the most expensive countries in the world to live.

“So travellers, migrants and students need to be prepared with the right information and understand Australia’s financial landscape to help them make better financial decisions,” said Mrs Hutchison.

According to the Moving to Australia Report, money is tight for many people who have moved to Australia, with more than one in three (36 percent) of those surveyed don’t save regularly, of which 6 percent don’t save at all.

For those who come to Australia, the survey found that almost half (45 percent) would turn to friends and family for help with their financial product decisions. Two in five (39 percent) would go straight to a bank, while just one in 10 would do their own research online. Very few (1 percent) would seek advice from a financial planner. And most (58 percent) would not compare financial products before applying.

While Gen Y and Gen X were more likely to ask a family member or friend, Baby boomers and those over 75 were more likely to go straight to a bank. Gen Y were also more likely to do their own research online than any other age group however, they were the least likely to compare products before applying.

Most important banking products needed when moving to Australia

Home loans were the most difficult for those who moved to Australia, with one in five (21 percent) finding it hard to apply.

Credit cards were the second-toughest product, with one in 10 finding it difficult to apply for a credit card – this is concerning because credit cards were ranked the third most needed product when moving to Australia. The most important banking products needed by those moving to Australia were a savings account and transaction account, followed by a credit card. At the other end, life insurance was the least necessary, followed by a home loan.

Almost one in five (18 percent) have had an application rejected since moving to Australia, and of which, about one in 10 (9 percent) were rejected in their first year of moving here.

Gen X were more likely to be rejected in their first year than any other group while those over 75 were least likely to be rejected. Gen X also found credit cards were more difficult than any other age group. Gen X and baby boomers (aged 55-74) found it equally more difficult than other age groups to apply for a home loan.

Men vs women

Women were more likely to be overwhelmed with sorting out finances than men, with double the number of women overwhelmed than men, according to the report. Language was more difficult than men however, it was easier for women to find accommodation, they were more likely to ask for advice from family or a friend and less likely to have been rejected when applying for a financial product in first year of moving to Australia than men.

Men found it easier to find a job, more likely to go to a bank for financial advice but they were also more likely than women to do research online. While men were more likely to shop around for financial products than women and were more likely to regularly save money, they had more difficulty applying for financial products.

“Whether you’re a man, woman, young or old, moving to Australia to study or travel, you can make your trip a lot smoother if you do some research.

“Take the time to find out how banking in Australia works and it could not only save you money but also save you a lot of unnecessary stress down the track,” said Mrs Hutchison.


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