Australians are a Financially Unhealthy Bunch, says Citibank

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Average financial well-being score of Australians is 44.1 out of 100: - 28% of Australians save some money each time they are paid - 48% don't have any insurance - 73% don't have an up-to-date will - 9% of Australians say they have a very good level of financial understanding - Low levels of financial education a key contributor to financial ill-health

The obesity debate may have hit the headlines recently but there is another epidemic that threatens Australians' quality of life…'financial ill-health'. Citibank has released the complete findings of the Citi Fin-Q Survey which aims to measure the financial well-being of Australians based on a series of questions that give a score out of 100. The higher the score, the better. If it was a test, most Australian adults would have got an 'F' - the average result was 44.1.

Conducted in October 2007 across 11 Asia Pacific countries and 4,400 people (including 400 Australians), the Citi Fin-Q Survey takes a look at the actions people take to address their finances along with attitudes to topics like investing in times of share market volatility and confidence in the economic future of our country. The full Australian report is now available at http://www.citibank.com.au.

Commenting on the results Citibank National Manager Investment Advice Joanne Morgan said: "We have found many of the basic steps needed to help achieve financial well-being are being neglected. A lot of people aren't budgeting - and when they do, they don't stick to it. Regular savings is haphazard at best, almost half of Australians don't have any insurance whatsoever and almost three quarters don't have a current will," Ms Morgan said.            

Saving
Faced with job loss and having to maintain all the usual expenses including mortgage, food and utility bills, 45% of Australians would last up to one month on their current savings.

Regular savers are in the minority - 50% save when they can, 22% rarely save anything and 28% save something from each pay.

Insurance
In the event of death, sickness or disability, 34% of people have enough insurance to ensure loved ones won't suffer financially. Eighteen percent only have life insurance and 48% don't have any insurance. More food for thought is the 45% of Australians with children who say they don't have any insurance.

Investing
Given an amount equal to six month's salary to invest, most Australians (53%) would have some idea what to do with it, 26% would know exactly what they would do with it but 22% would have no idea. More men (32%) than women (20%) would know exactly what to do with the money.

Optimism, satisfaction and confidence
At a basic level, the results showed that 19% of Australians are very satisfied with their current quality of life, 58% are satisfied and 23% aren't satisfied. Fifteen percent of Australians are very optimistic about their financial future, 56% are optimistic and 29% are worried. Men, 18-29 year olds and those without children are most confident about Australia's economic future with women, the over 40s and parents - the least confident. Fifty seven percent of women either disagree or strongly disagree with the statement 'I feel quite confident about my country's economic future', compared to 45% of men.

Links with financial education
Ms Morgan said that a lot of roads lead to an underlying gap in financial education. "When it comes down to it, low levels of financial literacy are a root cause of our financial ill-health. With a greater focus on financial education there is no doubt the average Fin-Q score would be higher.

"Citi is making the financial education of our people a priority by launching the Citi Financial Health Day. This gives our people up to eight hours of leave per year to review and take action on their finances. After all, we want a financially fit workforce, not an unhealthy one."

Closer look at Australia's Fin-Q score
As the table below shows, the areas in need of the most improvement are having a formal financial plan, having an up-to-date will and building a retirement nest egg to enable a comfortable retirement.

Fin-Q subject area    Maximum achievable    Average Fin-Q score
Satisfaction with overall quality of life    10 points    4.8
Optimism about financial future    10 points    4.3
Current approach to budgeting    10 points    4.9
Current approach to savings    10 points    5.3
Credit card payment patterns    10 points    6.2
Home ownership status                         10 points    3.8
Insurance status                         10 points    4.3
Retirement savings status                         10 points    3.1
Knowledge of investing                         10 points    5.2
Have a formal financial plan    5 points    0.8
Have an up-to-date will                         5 points    1.4
                                             100 points    44.1

Further results showed only 29% of women had a Fin-Q score above the 50 mark compared with 40% of men. At the same time, one in three women (37%) registered a score of 0-30 out of a possible 100 - a very poor result. Fifty percent of over 40s achieved a score above 50 compared with 23% of 18-29 year olds and 26% of 30-39 year olds. Looking at annual personal incomes, 44% of people on an income of less than $30,000 had a score of 0-30 compared with 19% of people on an income of $50,000 or more. Find out what your Citi Fin-Q score is by logging onto http://www.citibank.com.au.

Media enquiries
Leila Dean:     T: (02) 8225 1658 M: 0404 509 894    leila.dean@citi.com
Kristen Kaus: T: (02) 8225 1631 M: 0421 380 773    kristen.kaus@citi.com

Notes to editors:
About the Citi Fin-Q Survey
Most of us know that IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient. The Citi Fin-Q Survey was designed to measure the Financial Quotient (Fin-Q Score) or financial well-being of consumers. As part of this survey, Citi scored respondents on 11 different questions closely related to financial well-being with a maximum possible score of 100. The survey also incorporated separate attitudinal and lifestyle questions which altogether made a total of 22 questions carried out in this piece of research

The research was conducted by CXC Research amongst a representative sample of 400 Australian adults 18 years of age or older between 8-12 October 2007. Research was also conducted in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand - the sample size was 400 in each of these countries.

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Kristen Kaus
Citibank
02 8225 1631
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Kristen Kaus
Citibank
02 8225 1631
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