Lack of financial literacy the biggest causes stress for people moving to Australia

Did you know that 6.4 million people who are living in Australia were born overseas?

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In fact, 60% of Australia’s population growth last year was from net overseas migration, with the Australian government granting 4.7 million permanent and temporary visas during 2012-13 alone, an increase of 5.3 percent from the previous year.

With so many new immigrants hitting our shores I was interested to read that lack of financial literacy was the biggest cause of stress for people in Australia who were born overseas.

Last year the Moving to Australia Report, found that the majority (64 per cent) of people in Australia who were born overseas were stressed by their financial situation.

Gen X most stressedBaby boomers and older people aged over 55 found organising finances more difficult than other generations, with over one in five having trouble with their money.

However, it was generation X (aged 34-55) who were the most stressed when it came to sorting their finances, with 70 per cent finding it stressful, followed closely by Generation Y (aged 18-34) with 69 per cent.

Michelle Hutchison, Money Expert at, said:

The proportion of people in Australia who were born overseas is 28 percent, which is the highest level in about 120 years.

The number of migrants increased by 1.7 million people and the proportion has increased from 24 per cent in the past decade.

Our report shows that almost half (48 per cent) of respondents surveyed found that sorting out their finances was at least a little stressful, while one in 10 found it very stressful and 4 per cent found it overwhelming.

Looking for work was the most difficult part of moving to Australia.

Almost half (45 per cent) the survey respondents found it tough to secure a job.

Gen Y found looking for work the most difficult while it was the least difficult for Gen X.

Over one in four (26 per cent) found language was the hardest to tackle, while almost one in five (18 per cent) said organising finances was the most difficult, and accommodation was the hardest for one in 10 respondents (10 per cent).

Money is tight

According to the Moving to Australia Report, money is tight for many people who have moved to Australia, with more than one in three (36 per cent) of those surveyed don’t save regularly, of which 6 per cent don’t save at all.

For those who come to Australia, the survey found that almost half (45 per cent) would turn to friends and family for help with their financial product decisions. IOU jar debt coin save saving money

Two in five (39 percent) would go straight to a bank, while just one in 10 would do their own research online.

Very few (1 per cent) would seek advice from a financial planner. And most (58 per cent) would not compare financial products before applying.

While Gen Y and Gen X were more likely to ask a family member or friend, Baby boomers and those over 75 were more likely to go straight to a bank.

Gen Y were also more likely to do their own research online than any other age group, however, they were the least likely to compare products before applying.

Most important banking products needed when moving to Australia

Home loans were the most difficult for those who moved to Australia, with one in five (21 per cent) finding it hard to apply.

Credit cards were the second-toughest product, with one in 10 finding it difficult to apply for a credit card – this is concerning because credit cards were ranked the third most needed product when moving to Australia.

The most important banking products needed by those moving to Australia were a savings account and transaction account, followed by a credit card.

At the other end, life insurance was the least necessary, followed by a home loan.

Almost one in five (18 per cent) have had an application rejected since moving to Australia, and of which, about one in 10 (9 per cent) were rejected in their first year of moving here.

Gen X were more likely to be rejected in their first year than any other group while those over 75 were least likely to be rejected.

Gen X also found credit cards were more difficult than any other age group. Gen X and baby boomers (aged 55-74) found it equally more difficult than other age groups to apply for a home loan.

Men versus women

Women were more likely to be overwhelmed with sorting out finances than men, with double the number of women overwhelmed than men, according to the report.

Language was more difficult than men however, it was easier for women to find accommodation, they were more likely to ask for advice from family or a friend and less likely to have been rejected when applying for a financial product in the first year of moving to Australia than men.

Men found it easier to find a job, more likely to go to a bank for financial advice, but they were also more likely than women to do research online.

While men were more likely to shop around for financial products than women and were more likely to regularly save money, they had more difficulty applying for financial products.

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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

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