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Thursday, 15 February 2018 09:24

How Close to Broke Are You?

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It isn't just Oz. It's the same in the USA. And the UK. We have a very 'wealthy' western world, with much in the way of creature comforts enjoyed by the majority, but it is paid for paycheck by paycheck. Sometimes the wherewithall to buy the next meal has run out before payday according to the talk in the bar.  
One In Two Aussies Are Spending All Their Income Each Month
Ever checked your bank balance only to realise you have $2.18 to last you to the next week? We hear you. In our 'tap and go' society, buying things (and losing track of how much you spend) has never been easier.
In fact, according to ME Bank's 12th biannual Household Financial Comfort Report, one in two Australians have no spare cash at the end of each month, spending all of their income before the next payday rolls around (and sometimes even more). And with power prices and mortgage rates on the rise, it's a trend that doesn't appear to be going anywhere soon.
There are some who appear quite wealthy, but their experience may surprise you. It is a fact that most people are financial fragile  even when giving every outward appearance of being 'comfortable'. Here below, America. It is the same in Oz.
How a $500 emergency could spell financial ruin for millions of cash-strapped Aussies
• 30% of Australians have less than $1000 available in ‘rainy day’ savings to deal with an emergency• Almost one in eight (12%) have less than $100 on hand for a setback.
Millions of Australians lack enough rainy day savings to cover a $1000 emergency, a new survey by, one of Australia’s biggest comparison websites, has revealed.
The research found one in five Australians don’t have enough saved to cover even a $500 setback – that’s 3.6 million adults nationwide.
Bessie Hassan, Money Expert at, says the findings are ‘alarming’ – and proof that it’s very tight for many Australian households out there.“Minor emergencies like car repairs or a root canal can happen at any time, but for the majority of Australians such unexpected costs could mean a financial nightmare,” she says.
Shockingly, almost one in eight Australians (12%) have less than $100 on hand for an emergency.
“These people would be under enormous pressure if something went wrong – not a position anyone wants to be in,” she says.“Many Aussies are living paycheck to paycheck. Living with the knowledge of little or no emergency fund can put huge stress of families already under pressure.
Lose your job? Lose your home? Got a good paying job but can't get a home? Savings in hand but......

New research from UBank shows that Australians are withdrawing $31 billion from their savings each year, and 1 in 3 people are left penniless by payday.

According to UBank’s Science of Spending & Saving Experiment, these bad savings habits are putting many Australians at risk of poor long-term financial security.
The research found that 2 million Aussies have less than $1,000 set aside in savings, and 35% do not have a dedicated savings account. Shockingly, the results also show that over half (57%) of us rely on our savings for the odd bill or special purchase, amounting to $2.6 billion being drawn from Australian bank balances each month. Poor planning could be a reason, with over 60% of Aussies saying they have no savings plan, while 46% are living without a weekly budget.
It was also found that around 1 in 3 (35%) people are living paycheck to paycheck. It takes only some unexpected, unasked for occurrence to set a man, woman or couple back months if not years despite their best efforts to 'save for a rainy day. Two income couples and families are common these days, not that the two incomes give them much leeway.
    You would think that those who have an income above the average would be sitting pretty. Maybe they are right at the edge too. $85,000 a year, but living pay cheque to pay cheque. YOU earn a decent wage so why do you still find yourself stretching each month's pay to the last dollar? Is it financial irresponsibility, the high cost of living, or something else?  
Lucy 27, lives in Sydney and works in education. She earns $80,000 a year and, despite earning an above average wage, she lives pay cheque to pay cheque. Her main expenses are rent, electricity, petrol, car insurance, health insurance, gym membership and groceries. The rest is spent going out to restaurants and bars.
"It's sort of expected that we eat out, it's the social norm these days," she said. "I think everybody works so hard these days, we're all working 10-12 hours; the only time I have to catch up with people is when I have a meal so you sort of kill two birds with one stone. "People say Gen Y are being irresponsible but it's actually really not about that. If I didn't go out a few times a week I'd be socially isolated."
Tegan, 29, earns $48,500 and has cut back on a lot of discretionary spending, but stretches her money month-to-month. She lives in a share house with three other people, goes out no more than once a month, doesn't buy coffees and doesn't smoke. "At the moment I don't really have a social life, I can't afford one," she said. "On my salary I am trying to save for a car as well as pay off my student loans, have money aside for rent, electricity, water, groceries, phone and health insurance, by the end of the fortnight it doesn't leave much left in the pocket. "Those at an even lower end have strategies to which most of us would not like to have to resort. They have to rely on 'lenders'.
Tom, 27, finds himself in a different situation. He owns an apartment - thanks to money he saved while living with his parents and a savvy girlfriend who works in real estate - but he currently finds his $85,000 salary sees him living pay cheque to pay cheque.
    There is little room for helping anyone out. Charity nevertheless flourishes in Oz and to even greater extent in America where Philanthropy is far more 'traditional' that almost anywhere else. The Government in Oz not only taxes people to the hilt, directly and indirectly, but has taken over the charitable efforts, doling out billions to other countries without a by your leave or a nod to the taxpayer. Back just after the turn of this millenium, Indonesia - which gets hundreds of millions of $Au every year - had a disaster.  A devastating Tsunami. The Oz Government gave them One Billion bucks. The Oz people also gave another one Billion bucks. Despite our dire everyday situation, we can look in the back of the sofa for those in need, even when we are too. No countries give Oz 'foreign aid' or 'disaster relief'. And we have a disaster of fire, flood or wind pretty well every year. Individuals have their disasters too. Look to your fellows. Ask the 'Fundamental' question - "what ails thee" - and be prepared to find a few bucks at least Drinks on the house.


Knackered Old Knight and blogger/innkeeper at The Knight & Drummer

An Australian now, he was born and bred an Englishman but has stood on a town-hall stage, raised a hand and said ‘G’Day’. A respect for the social fabric is tempered by a fine sense of judgement and foolhardiness which sees him defying immoral and anti-Christian Laws. He may be found every week outside the Hobart Abortuary saying his Rosary, despite the threats of jail. Fines are no good for one so poor. The police no longer even tell him to ‘move along’ as he moves very slowly anyway.