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Financial health stats reveal planning opportunity

Advisers should adopt a more ‘holistic’ approach to financial planning in order to take advantage of recently released financial health indicators, BT Financial Group has claimed.

Expanding on the findings of BT’s Financial Health Index, BT/Westpac executive financial planner David Simon told ifa that lack of financial knowledge and monitoring was rife.

“Only a portion of Australians are truly planning for their future, and undertaking simple budgeting and financial timeline preparations,” he said. “Many are concerned about their finances and hope for the best but don’t have any savings plan or track their payments.”

He said that while BT’s research indicates a continuing “demand for quality financial advice,” many consumers are looking for guidance beyond the gamut of traditional planning options.

“People are looking for financial discipline; for techniques and strategies for managing costs and setting and achieving financial goals,” Mr Simon said.

“Financial planning so often is misguided by focusing only on wealth management, investment advice, asset allocation and the like, but when it comes down to it, people are more concerned about the day-to-day financial issues like budget maintenance and understanding their expenses,” he added.

Key findings of the Index – which came off the back of a nationwide survey of almost 5,000 Australians conducted by Ernst & Young – included that almost a third of respondents are living pay cheque to pay cheque and that 17 per cent would struggle to find $500 to $1,000 to deal with an emergency.

A further 41 per cent of respondents said that while they are able to meet their monthly expenses, they worry about their ability to do so.