Through their lives Australians face a multitude of financial decisions. These range from high frequency, relatively basic decisions on issues such as spending, through to one-off highly complex decisions such as developing a retirement financial plan. Many Australians make these decisions without credible third-party assistance.
A relatively small number of Australians (around one in five) already receive financial advice and can be expected to have the necessary guidance and support. However, helping large numbers of individuals and households successfully navigate their way through the myriad financial decisions, of varying complexity, which can have both short and long-term impacts remains both a clear and unsolved challenge.
This report assesses the current state of Australian consumers with regard to their financial literacy and management of financial affairs, and the present behaviours and reasons for utilising different sources of financial assistance. Further, we explore the future intentions of consumers. Throughout this report financial assistance is defined to be any form of assistance relating to a financial decision. Accordingly, it considers both formal and informal forms of assistance.