A large-scale study on the financial state of Australians was released in February, revealing that two-thirds of our population feels financially vulnerable. So what can we do?

Contrary to popular belief, this vulnerability is not always due to poor choices. The cost of living is growing at a rate that far outweighs wages growth.

Unsurprising then is that one in two Australians have less than three months’ income saved. Just one unforeseen expense can set so many of us behind.

This is concerning stuff. How do we get ahead of it as a culture? We wish we had a magic fix. Instead, where it’s possible, we recommend a prevention strategy.

  1. First assess the current state and define the desired state. Setting achievable goals is vital for progression.

  2. Then look at the practicalities of life – income versus expenses – and set up the systems to make it as cost efficient as possible. A budget is not just for organised people – it’s important for everyone.

  3. The best laid plans can go awry, so protection is important. Research, research, research the most suitable forms of insurance for your professional and personal situation.

  4. Put away the savings you can, and when you get a small lump – invest it wisely. A few thousand dollars against a debt, in shares, managed funds or superannuation will work harder for you than a savings account.

Financial hardship is extremely stressful and can seep into other elements of your life, such as work, relationships and mental health. Taking control is so important.