Would you rather lose your phone or your wallet?

Angus Kidman 6 September 2017 NEWS


The answer probably depends on your age.

The moment you realise your wallet is missing is like being punched in the guts. The last time it happened to me was at a party, where some light-fingered guest pilfered it from my jacket. Cue panic, racing around the house and then the sinking sensation when you clock that it has definitely been nicked.

That sucked, but there was a silver lining: my phone hadn't been stolen. That meant I could organise some cardless cash for the taxi home and immediately suspend my credit cards. Given the choice, I'd prefer that my wallet went AWOL than my phone.

That puts me in a minority. A survey of 2,005 Australians conducted by finder.com.au found that amongst generation X (which is where my greying head resides), only 33% would be happier to lose their wallet than their phone. The only generation which shows a clear preference for their phone is generation Y (51%). Meanwhile, those pesky baby boomers are clinging on to their wallets as if their lives depended on it, with only 13% saying losing their phone would be a bigger blow.

I'm flattered that this suggests I have a youthful outlook, but it's also a rational outlook. We live in an increasingly cashless society where we're addicted to contactless payments, so the odds of there being much actual money in any given wallet are slight. It's a hassle to have to replace bank cards, but it doesn't cost anything. Conversely, a phone can easily be worth $1,000 or more.

So I'd rather have my phone, but I also make sure that's backed up to the cloud and secured with my fingerprint. If someone does nick that, I'll be much more annoyed, but life will be able to go on regardless. And my wallet no longer stays in my jacket at parties.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on finder.com.au.

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