Almost a third of Australians aged 25-44 say financial stress leads to excessive drinking
New research released today by Acorns reveals that Australians are overwhelmingly facing mental health and substance abuse issues due to financial pressures.
The report shows that nearly one third (32 per cent) of Australians aged 25 – 44 have abused alcohol due to financial stress, while one in five (20 per cent) have turned to drugs and illicit substances.
Alarmingly, the national survey of over 1,000 Australians found that 70 per cent of respondents have experienced depression and anxiety due to money worries, with a further 54 per cent reporting physical health problems and 76 per cent having difficulty sleeping.
Almost three quarters (73 per cent) said they feel stressed about their current financial situation, with 25 per cent rating their stress level as severe, and 40 per cent admitting to experiencing financial stress regularly.
Managing director of Acorns Grow Australia, George Lucas, said the report highlights the urgent need for financial fitness to be considered as part of overall wellbeing, just like eating well or regular exercise.
“These findings should act as a wake-up call for individuals, our political leaders and mental health organisations to consider the potential health issues associated with a lack of financial know-how. Financial literacy is an important part of a healthy nation.
“Mental health issues and their causes are often a taboo topic, even in an open country such as Australia. To navigate this challenge, we need to ensure we have the necessary frameworks in place to help those facing financial difficulties to access support and advice to get their finances under control,” said Lucas.
Financial stress also takes a toll at home and work, with 52 per cent of respondents citing it as a cause of major relationship problems, and 49 per cent saying it impacts their work performance.
The report also reveals that men and women react to financial pressure in different ways.
Financial pressure is more likely to have a detrimental effect on women’s mental and physical health, while males are more likely to experience problems at work or deal with stress through escapism, turning to alcohol or substances as a coping mechanism.
When under financial stress, women are more likely to experience:
While men are more likely to experience:
“The research suggests that many of the pressures and health issues Australians face can be avoided if we can encourage people to honestly assess their financial situation. Financial fitness should become a part of overall wellbeing.
“Taking control of your finances can seem intimidating, but even small steps taken now can reap financial and health benefits in the long term,” Lucas added.
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Acorns Grow Australia Limited is a 50/50 joint venture between Acorns Grow Inc. of the USA and Instreet Investment Limited. The joint venture was established in March 2015. Acorns Grow Australia Limited will promote, distribute and provide fund manager services to the Acorns app in Australia. Instreet has appointed Acorns Grow Australia Limited as an authorised representative of its Australian Financial Services License.