Money editor Effie Zahos recently facilitated the launch of the latest ANZ Survey of Adult Financial Literacy in Australia.
The survey revealed a number of interesting findings and that overall, Australians remain relatively cautious compared with the pre-GFC years. Notably, three quarters of Australians try to save regularly and credit usage is lower.
Here are some more key findings from the survey.
Use and understanding of credit
Use of loans and credit from financial institutions peaked in 2008, falling in 2011 and 2014.
Since 2011, the number of people using credit cards to pay for goods and services has fallen from 71 percent to 64 percent. Lower usage of credit cards probably reflected continuation of a more cautious attitude towards debt identified post-GFC and increased use of debit cards (up from 49 percent in 2011 to 60 percent).
Fewer people, though still a large majority (78 percent) reported feeling in control of their finances either all of the time or most of the time.
This was lower than the 81 percent feeling in control in 2011 and similar to the levels reported in 2005 and 2008.
Compared with 2011, more people reported feeling out of control most of the time (3 percent) and the proportion fluctuating in and out of control was steady (16 percent).
Investing and superannuation
Three quarters of people reported being in a superannuation fund, steady compared with 2008 and 2011 and up from 71 percent in 2002. At 15 percent, up from 13 percent in 2011, self-managed superannuation is at the highest level of any of the surveys.
Among superannuation fund members, fees and costs of superannuation funds continued to be the main factor to consider when choosing a superannuation fund (mentioned by 45 percent) while returns after fees were still most often considered the best indicator of fund performance (mentioned by 63 percent).
However, uncertainty about these matters continued to increase.
Financial information and advice
Trust in financial professionals in general was lower than in 2011 with 48 percent of all people agreeing that they would ‘trust a financial professional and accept what they recommend to me’ compared with 51 percent previously.
Amongst those who had used a financial planner in the last 12 months, 56 percent agreed with the statement compared with 65 percent in 2011.
Internet sites were the source of information most likely to have been used in the past 12 months.
Just under half of all internet users (40 percent of the population) had used a computer or a mobile phone or tablet to compare financial products
Nearly three quarters of people used online banking, up from 63 percent in 2011 and 28 percent in 2002. Use of mobile phones and tablets has almost quadrupled from 14 percent in 2011 to 53 percent in 2014.
Financial knowledge and numeracy
Women had lower scores on average than men on financial knowledge and numeracy from 28 years of age on.
These lower scores were associated with less exposure to financial products (for example, holding fewer different types of loans) and less use of financial education/information materials.
While unable to be quantified, women also have a higher propensity than men to give ‘don’t know’ responses to questions about financial topics.
You can read ANZ’s full report here.