Debt is the new normal: 1.7 million Australians facing debt for life

A new study from shows that over half Australian adults are living in debt.

It says that 1.7 million adults seeing no light at the end of the ‘debt-tunnel’.

Credit-happy Australia

A new study commissioned by Australian comparison website, has revealed that 1 almost 2 million Australians don’t ever see themselves crawling out of debt.

The survey has revealed that while more than half (53 percent) of Australian adults (an estimated 9 million) are currently in debt, with one in 10 (10 percent) of adults don’t foresee ever living debt-free.

This works out to be an estimated 1.7 million adults across Australia – and the debt pile up is likely to begin as young as their 20’s.

The results showed that the average age when Australians start accumulating debt is 27, and that only one-fifth of respondents (19 percent or 3.2 million Australians) saw themselves toppling their debt within the next 5 years.

credit card pay money debt

Further, even fewer Australian adults (17 percent or 2.9 million) saw themselves sorting out their debt within the next 6-20 years.

Michelle Hutchison, Money Expert at, said that while many Australians don’t have a great track record with their personal finances, change is always possible provided you commit to making that change and find the tools to help you along the way.

“There is no reason for people to be piling on a debt they can’t see their way out of.
While Australia has a combined credit card and personal loan debt of over $109 billion, up by about $2 billion over the past year, it’s not too late to dig your heels into the ground and find a way out of debt.

“Australia has a serious debt issue and many Australians are too complacent about debt.
We’re now growing up with so much debt and accumulating debt from a young age with the use of tech gadget plans like mobile phones, laptops, ipads and other devices.

“Australians need to be more conscious about the amount of debt they are getting themselves and their families into and work out how they will pay it back before they reach retirement.”

Other findings from the survey:

  • After the age of 27, Australians tend to take on debt, but they are more likely to be debt-free by the time they reach 53, where 50% of respondents say they have no debt
  • Australians without kids were most likely to be out of debt – with 55% of them debt-free. Only 44% of parents considered themselves debt-free.
  • Those most likely to have no debt are Baby Boomers, with 63% saying they are debt-free.
  • Generation X is the most likely to be pessimistic about future debt, with 12.5% of35-54 year olds thinking they’ll never be debt-free

State by State

  • Queenslanders are the most likely to be debt-free, with just over 52% of adults saying they are not in debt, very closely followed by South Australians at 52%
  • Of those who are in debt, NSW residents are most likely to think they’ll never be free of debt (22%) followed by Western Australians (20%).
  • The most optimistic state was ACT where only 11% of those in debt think they’ll be in debt for life.

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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who create wealth for their clients through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

'Debt is the new normal: 1.7 million Australians facing debt for life' have 1 comment

  1. September 18, 2015 @ 7:08 pm George

    “After the age of 27, Australians tend to take on debt, but they are more likely to be debt-free by the time they reach 53, where 50% of respondents say they have no debt”
    This is incorectly merging 2 different generations of Australians and so arrives at the WRONG conclusion. FIRSTLY The older ones that were taught to save for the future when they were young and so planned and are debt free at 53 and SECONDLY the younger ones that want everything now and live day by day. They have no concept of how they will get by in the future and no hope or plans of being debt free by 55.


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