Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer has released a report highlighting the range of financial literacy programs operating in Australia, which “have assisted over 700,000 people.”
In a statement yesterday, Ms O’Dwyer said financial literacy is a crucial skill for consumers if they are to effectively navigate the increasing number of financial services and products available to them.
The National Financial Literacy Strategy Annual Highlights Report 2015-16, released by the minister at an event at Parliament House yesterday, summarises the financial literacy initiatives currently operating across Australia.
The report references the ASIC MoneySmart website. To the end of June 2016, 90 per cent of MoneySmart site users reported taking positive action on their finances as a result of their visit.
The Certificate I in Financial Services short course run by ANZ’s MoneyMinded financial education program also resulted in 1,103 young people gaining competence, while the Financial Information Service (FIS) assisted over 200,000 Australians, the report said.
ANZ’s MoneyMinded adult education program also recorded participant numbers of 42,000 for 2015-16. Before the program, 51 per cent of online participants and 61 per cent of face-to-face participants said they were comfortable coping with unexpected financial costs, while 91 per cent of online participants and 82 per cent of face-to-face participants said they could cope after completing the program, the report said.
Despite positive figures from the report, recent research suggests the financial literacy of Australians is wanting.
The 2016 Income Protection Gap report conducted by Zurich, and which surveyed 11,000 individuals across 11 countries, found Australia to be among the most financially illiterate nations included in the study.
Further, the 2016 AMP Financial Wellness report found that 2.86 million (24 per cent) of employed Australians are financially stressed.
ABS data for 2013-14 also shows that over 70 per cent of Australian households are servicing some form of debt, with 26 per cent servicing a total debt that is three or more times their annualised disposable income - putting these households at a concerning level of financial risk.
Data released in October 2016 from the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) also confirmed that poverty is growing in Australia with an estimated 2.9 million people, or 13.3 per cent of all people, living below the internationally accepted poverty line.
ifa recently reported that advisers believe more collaboration is needed between the advice community and the Australian Department of Education to address issues of financial literacy, with 84 per cent of advisers expressing a desire to enter schools and coach students in basic financial skills.
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