Young Sydneysiders have topped the list for the most financially anxious in the nation, with a new economic report flagging high rents are fuelling the stress.
National Australia Bank’s financial anxiety index has found young people living in the country’s most populous city are the most stressed about their economic security, with exorbitant rents, bills and future income fuelling concern.
NAB’s index fell to 39.3 points from 40.6 points in the fourth quarter of the last calendar year, with NSW residents replacing Victorians as the most anxious about their financial security.
The country’s largest business bank also found women in Sydney aged between 18 and 29 were more stressed than their male counterparts.
NAB head of behavioural economics Dean Pearson said the coronavirus pandemic had broadly hit younger demographics that make up the bulk of workers in some of the hardest-hit industries, such as hospitality and tourism.
“Some parts of the population and some industries have been harshly hit by COVID interruptions, and we know that has impacted women and younger people more who were heavily exposed to the jobs that were more readily lost,” Mr Pearson said.
The bank’s index found Australians who had experienced financial hardship had risen compared with the previous quarter, with the increase largely due to people believing they do not have adequate funds to pay for emergency expenses.
“The typical thing is not having enough for an emergency (or) unable to pay a bill or not having enough to pay for food or basic necessities,” Mr Pearson said.
“But when you look at the 18 to 29 cohort, despite the fact that rent has certainly come down in price … that rent pressure is still there.”
Roughly 21 per cent of respondents to NAB’s wellbeing survey reported impacts to their income within the fourth quarter; however, 77 per cent of people looked to save more.
Mr Pearson noted outstanding credit card debt was the least concerning to Australians, followed by mortgage debt.
More men than woman held credit card debt, according to the bank’s survey.
Victorians booked the second highest levels of financial anxiety followed by West Australians.
Tasmanians were the least financially concerned.
Mr Pearson said the end of JobKeeper and tapering of other fiscal measures would likely influence financial anxiety levels in the first quarter of the current year.
This is also in combination with lower inflation and an expectation of stagnant wages growth for sometime.
“It is hard to anticipate strong wages growth in the current environment,” Mr Pearson.