Australians boosting financial literacy online

More than four million Australians are seeking financial information through the internet, helping to boost financial literacy according to new research from TAL.

The life issuer took a poll of more than 1,200 adults, finding that 56 per cent reviewed at least one financial product over the last 12 months, equivalent to around eight million Australians.

In addition, half of that number, equivalent to four million people, turned to the internet to educate themselves on the options available.

“The internet has empowered Australians and put them in the driving seat when it comes to their own finances,” TAL group chief executive Jim Minto said.

“This research shows that comparison sites in particular are popular as people use the web to become more money smart to help them both build and protect their financial future.”

The survey found that 35 per cent of respondents go online to investigate or switch their bank and savings account, with 32 per cent reviewing their vehicle and home insurance and 12 per cent looking at life insurance over the last 12 months.

Sixty-five per cent of higher income households - defined as earning $90,000-plus per annum - researched options or changed providers than people in low-income households, defined as less than $40,000 at 45 per cent.

TAL said that while online comparison sites are gaining popularity for consumers wanting to review their financial products or choose a new one, they shouldn’t replace professional advice.

“We would encourage consumers not to rely solely on the internet when making important financial decisions because while they are certainly a great tool to start with, it is always a good idea to seek appropriate advice from a qualified financial adviser or planner,” Mr Minto said.

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