There's solidarity in shared worries
Money can be a source of stress when you’re faced with constant bad news. And hasn’t the news been relentless lately?
These past couple of months, with COVID-19’s outbreak reshaping our view of the world, we’ve all been tested. Along with new rules about how to live safely, our view of money and the economy has also been revised.
These things can feel very big and the changes around them aren’t always so easy to accept. And yet, if you have a plan, a few sage ideas scribbled on a post-it, some doubt can at least be alleviated.
I've actually found great comfort in learning about smart money strategies of late. I think many Aussies have been doing the same, sharing tips about how to best protect themselves financially - on top of everything else.
For example, we recently reported at Mozo that Australians have become more savings conscious, with more than one-third stashing away a larger sum than they did before this coronavirus.
This was an interesting piece of research, showing that perhaps savings accounts and term deposits will become more popular in the future than say, credit cards or taking out a big loan. In April, we saw some banks boost their term deposit rates in line with this. Meanwhile, a number of providers dropped their credit card rates. So, there's clearly been a shift away from that easy credit we’ve all been accustomed to.
Beyond absorbing more TV content than we ever imagined possible, how else are we adapting?
Well, we're less inclined to make cash withdrawals right now, with online banking having surged in popularity this past month. Westpac even took the step of linking up with Apple Pay to accommodate this, something that it perhaps hadn't pushed for prior to now.
We’ve even seen u-turns made on one way streets, like the idea of accessing super before retirement. Now, amid this crisis, many people needing immediate funds have withdrawn their super early. Who knows how this plays out down the road.
Both government and corporate leaders have been on the front foot, trying to relieve some of that aforementioned pressure on our bank accounts. These moves have included car insurers offering discounts, rental relief for both landlords and tenants, as well as mortgage deferrals for those unable to cope with their regular repayments. There were also much needed JobKeeper payments for struggling small businesses. All of it thoughtful and timely.
Then there’s our property market, the one arena where Australians have always been bullish. It's typically a good industry to monitor if you want the pulse of the economy. But like most of us, it’s in a holding pattern too.
On this front, we shared the Westpac stat that showed 27% fewer people think now is the time to buy a dwelling. And yet, I've also read on various news sites that some buyers think now is an opportune time to buy as prices slump.
Everyone's situation is different, which is why I enjoy the stories we produce each week at Mozo. There's no silver bullet to the problems caused by this virus, though there are plenty of ways for us to tap into the best info available to guide us all through them.
Read our full Banking Round-up for all of April's key numbers.