What is holding Australians back from ‘living the dream’?


 Two in five Australians admit that they are not ‘living the dream’, according to new research released today by the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) to mark Financial Planning Week (21-27 August).

Two of the top three factors preventing working-age Australians living the dream are directly related to their financial situation. Nearly half of Australians (48%) who feel they are being held back from fully living their dreams credit this limitation to their low bank balance (see graphic below, high-res version available on request).

Other significant blockers include not having enough time, being in debt, lacking self belief and making poor decisions. One in seven (14%) claim it is because of their poor planning for the future.



While 40% of respondents describe themselves as not living the dream, the national survey of 2,635 working age Australians has revealed that almost one in four (23%) do believe they are ‘living the dream’. So what is it that has enabled them to achieve their dreams? • Strong personal habits – They are family oriented, spending more quality time with their family during the week than the average Australian. They are five times more likely to meditate or engage in spiritual activity than Australians who say they are not living the dream.

  • Dream about the future – They dream more about the future than others. Four in five (82%) often or always dream about their future compared to just 61% of those who say they are not living the dream.
  • Plan ahead and stick to the plan – They are almost five times more likely than the average Australian to plan and stick to the plans they have made (23% compared to 5%). They are more likely to act quickly on their plans (71% compared to 41%), turning their vision for the future into reality.
  • High levels of self belief – Almost all Australians (96%) who are living the dream believe in their ability to create the life they want, compared to just 54% of those not living the dream. Half (50%) completely believe in their ability to create the life they want compared to just 11% of Australians who are not living the dream.
  • Seek out advice from others – They make their financial decisions in consultation with others. Those who are living the dream are nearly three times more likely to seek advice from a financial planner when making financial decisions (24% compared to 9% of those not living the dream). Nearly half (45%) are currently receiving or have received advice from a financial planner, compared to just 22% of those not living the dream.
  • Few regrets about the past – They are less likely to have regrets in life than those who are not living their dream life. A quarter (26%) say they have no regrets at all. Those that do have regrets, mostly regret not saving enough (24%) or regret making poor decisions (19%).

“What is the result of having these personal characteristics? Less financial stress,” says FPA CEO, Dante De Gori, CFP®.

“Those who are living the dream have the lowest levels of financial stress of all Australians. The survey shows that more than one in three are not at all stressed about their finances, compared to 11% of those not living the dream. Just 9% are extremely stressed about their finances, which is true for 26% of those not living the dream.

“Our financial struggles are often exacerbated by our aversion to planning. By identifying our life goals, hopes and dreams – and putting in place a financial plan to get us there – we can reduce stress and work towards making our dreams a reality.”

For more information on the FPA’s research into Australians living a successful life visit moneyandlife.com.au/LivetheDream.

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