DESPITE the short-term relief, courtesy of the SchoolKids Bonus in June for families with school-age children, the longer-term effect from government changes to parenting payments is a concern for those already struggling to make ends meet.
The financial stress on families with a mortgage is further impacted by the decision of the major banks to not pass on the full Reserve Bank interest rate cut.
A survey of Sydney households by Wesley Mission revealed some family budgets could not cope with an extra burden of $40, should it occur.
The result of balancing such a precarious budget is stress.
This stress can appear in different ways. It negatively impacts on relationships and health through marriage breakdown, alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence and gambling. Financial stress is not isolated to the low-income bracket. It occurs among high-income earners as well, due to increased borrowings and large mortgages.
Agencies that offer assistance to those experiencing financial issues suggest assistance from a health professional be sought if these indicators become apparent:
- excessive drinking, drug taking, smoking or over-eating
- no money for health care
- difficulty sleeping
- sense of hopelessness
- anger, frustration, blame and heated arguments.
To break the cycle that results in the above problems, Wesley Mission advises that financial counselling should be undertaken when the following situations occur:
- having to forgo family activities due to lack of money
- having to ask to borrow money from family or friends
- the inability to pay household bills on time
- the inability to pay minimum credit card payments.
Financial hardship is an issue understood by a large section of the community. Be encouraged to seek support.
Fact sheets can be accessed from wesleymission.org.au.
Financial counsellors are available on 1800 808 488.