Paying bills is stressful for one in five Aussies


One in five Australians say they experience stress when it comes to paying bills and 40% of young adults have no effective system for making payments, according to a new study.

It is the second study in as many weeks to point to a lack of financial literacy in young Australians.

Results released last week from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's international financial literacy assessment showed 20% of Australian teens were ranked below average for their financial knowledge.

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And now new research commissioned by BPay Group shows millennials are struggling with everyday personal finance.

The survey of 1000 Australians aged 18 to 65, conducted by strategic research consultancy The Leading Edge, identified five bill-payer personalities.

The largest segment, with almost a third of Australians, are identified as having a big-picture approach to finances, remaining involved but not obsessive.

But one in five respondents, mostly younger age groups, cited a high level of stress around paying bills; 89% of those reported feeling financial stress, often paying bills late or at the last minute, and 80% said they hated managing bills.

John Banfield, CEO of BPay Group, says he is not surprised that some Australians fall into the trap of being disorganised when it comes to paying bills.

"Younger Australians in particular are clearly feeling like the options they currently use don't fit in with their lifestyle," he says.

"They need to get savvy to what their options are to turn this negative experience around, and stop it impacting their quality of life."

The study also revealed that 36% of Australians still receive paper bills.

The five bill payer personalities

Big picture organisers Experienced and capable with their finances - but not obsessive. They seek convenience alongside security.

Life jugglers Don't manage their finances proactively and many lack the confidence to do so. They are keen for simple processes with customer support and information.

Rigid record keepers Rigorous in managing their finances. Most have an effective system and keep a record of what they pay. They are less likely to report financial stress. They prioritise security and are less likely to want on-the-go functionality.

Mobile and evolving Often pay bills at the very last minute or after the due date, and see them themselves as disorganised. This group report financial stress and many log in to their banking app at least once a day.

Novice and emerging This group are aged 25 and under, and many still live with their parents. They are much less engaged with financial matters and less likely to be fully responsible for household bills. The bills they do get are less likely to come as paper bills or attached in an email.

Which bill paying personality are you? Let us know in the comments.


Sharyn McCowen is Money's digital editor. She has a degree in journalism from Charles Sturt University, and was a newspaper reporter before moving to magazines and finance.
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