Understanding the barriers
Industry research has returned some worrying results about the extent of vulnerability in the community:
- 49% of people are at risk of financial vulnerability, reporting that they sometimes or always struggle to pay their bills
- 43% regularly pay their bill using some form of credit, including borrowing from family or payday lenders
- 13% are living below the poverty line
- 24% are experiencing mortgage stress
Many businesses provide support programs for individuals and families who are experiencing financial vulnerability. Often people having trouble do not actually use these programs – 11% have told us they leave their utility bills unpaid because:
- 66% of people do not know that businesses offer services to support vulnerability – in many cases this is due to language or cultural issues, but there is also a general lack of understanding of the ways that businesses can help customers suffering from financial difficulties
- 41% of individuals experiencing financial vulnerability are too ashamed to ask for help – for many people there is a significant stigma around having financial problems, which makes them reluctant to reach out for support. A distrust of large companies may also be a factor.
What these statistics indicate is a need among the community for education and awareness in managing personal finances.
Growing community literacy and awareness
We expect a range of positive outcomes to result from this project. We aim to:
- improve financial literacy and awareness of vulnerability and associated support services in the Australian community
- share and develop programs, campaigns and tools that enable customer learning and financial management
- create an environment where individuals no longer feel ashamed about asking for help, and financial hardship is regarded as a normal life event that can happen to anyone
- ensure individuals understand and are confident discussing their financial situation and know how to access safe, suitable financial products and are empowered to take control of their own finances.
TCP members are encouraged to:
- share information to converge, synergise and develop our collective intelligence
- collaborate in the design and development of new programs that respond to existing and emerging problems.