The shocking number of Aussies trying to gamble their way out of debt


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One third of Australians in debt are using lotteries and gambling to try to reduce their debt.

Sixty-one per cent of working Australians are in debt - outside of their home loans - according to a recent survey by ING. Over the recent Christmas period, Australians have added a further $18.1 billion or an average of $934 per person.

To pay off their debt, around 36% are taking on more work or getting another job while 33% say they are turning to gambling and lotteries to pay off debt.

aussies trying to gamble their way out of debt

While 65% of Australians are reducing their spending to pay off debt, some 35% of Australians in debt haven't considered cutting back on their spending. Instead 25% are taking a 'blissful ignorance' approach by ignoring their debt and not wanting to talk about it. Among millennials (born between 1981 and 1996), the number is double with 51% ignoring their debt.

But debt anxiety is rife with around 47% of Australians feeling anxious and 38% are embarrassed about their debt. Talking about their money woes is still taboo with 61% saying they would rather open up about anything else, including relationship troubles (58%) or mental health issues (58%) than money.

Forty-five per cent of millennials are worried that they will never get out of debt and are unclear of their total debt figure. Around 42% of millennials aren't sure how they will tackle their debt.

But the problem with taking a 'head in the sand' approach to debt is you won't find the lowest interest rate for your debt or the best sort of vehicle for your debt, says ING spokesperson David Breen.

At the same time more than half of millennials say money is more important than romance with 53% rating saving more among their top priorities for 2020 compared to just one in five who say that finding love is their biggest priority for this year. At the top of 2020 plans, 83% of Australians say they want to save more while 31% want to pay off debt.

Breen recommends that a good strategy is to consolidate debts into one low-interest loan to reduce the stress of multiple repayments and high interest rates.

"A personal loan debt has lower interest rates than credit cards," says Breen. "If you think about your debt and put it in the cheapest option, you are more likely to have a structured system to pay down your debt," says Breen who recommends a solid plan that will give you an end in sight.

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Susan has been a finance journalist for more than 30 years, beginning at the Australian Financial Review before moving to the Sydney Morning Herald. She edited a superannuation magazine, Superfunds, for the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, and writes regularly on superannuation and managed funds. She's also author of the best-selling book Women and Money.
February 10, 2020 10.50am

Can you please post links to sources.. can we get the link to the ING survey please

Money magazine
February 10, 2020 12.45pm

Hi Brett,

You can read more about the ING survey here:

- Money team

February 10, 2020 1.41pm

Hmm.. the "source" used for the article is from a summary of a two "polls" taken on GovYou with just over 1000 participants.. this is a long way from what I would consider "research".. once again no links the the "results" you just have to believe.. the "results" all come from people that have signed up for the site and have internet access .. is this a good representation of the entire population of Australia?.. what are the actually numbers? whats the split up by age group, gender, education, location, relationship status, employment status etc.. the entire "research" article on ING's page seems to be a very thinly disguised add for debt consolidation with none other than ING... (I searched YouGov and couldn't find any results of the "research"). The "general" outcome of this "research" should be there is a need for basic education about financial responsibility that will tackle the long term, underlying issue, rather that "consolidate your debt".. which teaches and fixes nothing

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