Finding balance with our bank balance

Understanding our money

The decisions we make with our money influence how we live our lives.

According to the Stride, financial wellness means having a comfortable sense of financial security and having enough money to meet all needs and demands in your life.

It is possible to spend, while saving, while achieving your financial goals.

While many people make goals to be better with money – few know what resources are available to assist with money management.

Think of financial wellbeing as:

  • Meeting your every day finances and managing debt responsibly
  • Being prepared for a rainy day and being able to bounce back
  • Managing your 'one day' finances to achieve medium and long-term goals

Setting priorities

What are your money goals?

When we set goals for our money, we become more secure, it reinforces our self-esteem and builds optimism.

Our bank balances, expenses and cost of living increase the pressure we feel about money.

The beginning of a new year can also affect any urgency we might feel.

Research from National Australia Bank (NAB) has found approximately 1 in 4 Australians are making money management their top priority ahead of travel plans in 2023.

In contrast, another 20% of respondents said money management wasn’t a priority for them.

If you haven’t set a goal before, you can set short-, mid- and long-term goals.

Some examples include:

  • Start a ‘rainy day’ / emergency fund
  • Pay off debt
  • Save for retirement
  • Homeownership
  • Pay off your vehicle
  • Putting money aside for tertiary education
  • Start a ‘fun’ spending account
  • Saving for a big-ticket item or appliance
  • Make a superannuation contribution

What workplaces can do

One in four Australians are finding it difficult to get by on their current income, new analysis from The Australian National University (ANU) shows.

This is the highest percentage of financial stress among Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic and almost as high as pre-pandemic levels.

Financial stress can have detrimental effects on people, and it can also affect their work environments.

Workplaces can take steps to de-stigmatise conversations about finances, preventing employee absenteeism and mitigate the impact on staff performance.

The stigma can create real and perceived barriers for employees can prevent them asking about what benefits are available to assist them.

Being open to feedback will be essential, to give the best support to your team.

Some questions to consider:

  • If an employee has a question about salaries or raises, are your managers equipped to answer their question?
  • Are your employees comfortable approaching Human Resources (HR) if they have money questions?
  • If your employee doesn’t feel comfortable going to your HR team to ask questions about their salaries or financial benefits, who can they turn to?
  • Do all employees have the same ability to get promoted, receive a raise, and take advantage of the benefits that are offered to them?

5 ways for leaders to support financial wellbeing in the workplace

We’ve found some simple strategies for managers to support the financial wellbeing of their employees:

  1. Provide access to professional resources for financial education.
  2. Offer workplace perks – discounts, rewards, health insurance, reimbursements, salary sacrifice options.
  3. Keep an eye on workplace expenses.
  4. Keep a list of recommended financial products or services your employees can use.
  5. Make an effort to understand your employees’ financial circumstances. Consider hosting information sessions on topics like superannuation, salary sacrifice, purchasing annual leave and other relevant topics.

Tips you can try today

The impact of COVID-19, changes in employment, increased cost of living are continuing to have an impact on our daily lives.

There’s a range of tips and tools you can try to see what is right for you.

For example:

  • The 50/30/20 rule – spending 50% of your income on your needs, 30% on wants and saving 20%
  • Consider rolling your debts into one
  • Design a budget that works for you
  • Engage a financial counsellor or adviser
  • Categorise your spending – e.g. commitments, everyday expenses and occasional expenses
  • Creating an investment plan with a financial planner
  • Track your credit card limits and your credit score
  • Set goals for your spending and saving
  • Identify your assets, identify liabilities and make a plan for the future
  • See if you can get a better deal with your service providers