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Australians’ lifestyle held back by finances

Just one in four Australians, or 23 per cent, are ‘living the dream’ in terms of their ideal lifestyle, according to a report from the FPA launched for the 17th annual Financial Planning Week this week. 

The report, compiled by McCrindle Research to explore the Financial Planning Week theme of ‘Living the Dream’, surveyed over 2500 Australians aged between 23 and 71. 

It found the biggest hindrance to not ‘living the dream’ was consumers’ financial situation. 

“According to Australians who aren’t living the dream, the biggest dream blocker is having a low bank balance,” the report found. 

Other factors included lack of time, being in debt, lacking self-belief and making poor decisions. 

FPA chief executive Dante de Gori told financialobserver since the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms, more financial planners were beginning to understand the benefits of offering their clients budgeting and cash-flow advice. 

“Pre-FOFA financial planners basically had to sell a product to get remunerated,” he said. 

“Today, post-FOFA advisers are really understanding [the value] in this type of advice around cash flow.” 

While the concept of ‘living the dream’ meant many things to different people, 57 per cent of those surveyed said that the phrase meant ‘having the lifestyle of my choice’, 54 per cent said it meant ‘having financial freedom and independence’, and 49 per cent said it was having ‘safety and security’. 

“Owning a home was not a number one item,” De Gori said. 

Just 41 per cent identified ‘living the dream’ with home ownership and 37 per cent said it meant setting themselves up financially for their retirement. 

When the results were broken down into demographics, it was generation X that was the least satisfied, with only 18 per cent of saying they were ‘living the dream’, compared to 27 per cent for generation Y and 22 per cent for baby boomers. 

“I suppose the generation X are in the middle of life so they probably have a bit of regret,” De Gori said. 

Those that said they were living the dream were also five times more likely to meditate or engage in spiritual activity than those who said they were not living the dream, a fact De Gori said was reflective of the balance that successful people often prioritised. 

“And music to my ears, as CEO of the Financial Planning Association, is the finding that working-age Australians most happy with their lot in life are also most likely to have a financial plan,” De Gori said in the report.

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