Financial Resilience in Australia

This page includes all Financial Resilience research that was produced in partnership with NAB. For CSI's Financial Wellbeing research, also in partnership with NAB, go to

Indigenous Financial Resilience in Australia 2018

This report builds on previous work on financial resilience in Australia and represents the beginning of an exploration of the financial resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Overall, we found significant economic disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. This is not surprising, given the histories of land dispossession, stolen wages and the late entry of Indigenous Australians into free participation in the economy (it is only 50 years since the referendum to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as members of the Australian population).

Specifically, we found:

• Only one in ten Indigenous Australians are financially secure.

• Fewer than two in five Indigenous people can access $2,000 for an emergency, compared with four in five in the broader Australian population.

Severe financial stress is present for half the Indigenous population, compared with one in ten in the broader Australian population.

• Financial stress is occurring in urban, regional and remote locations.

• Indigenous people are using high-cost and unregulated forms of credit, rather than credit cards or other forms of mainstream credit.

• Indigenous people engage in a sharing economy, in which money has now entered as a commodity and shared money both helps and hurts financial resilience.


Financial Resilience in Australia 2018

Financial Resilience in Australia is an annual report produced by the Centre for Social Impact, in partnership with NAB.

Financial resilience is being able to bounce back from a financial shock. There are a number of things that help people's financial resilience including income, savings, a willingness to seek financial advice, connections with family and friends, support from community and government organisations and access to appropriate banking products like credit and insurance.

This report found that 2.1 million people in Australia are experiencing financial stress.

The Financial Resilience in Australia report also found:

  • Just one in two Australians are prepared for a rainy day, with three or more months’ worth of savings to provide a buffer for unexpected costs;
  • One in six Australians are finding it tough to meet the necessary costs of living;
  • Australians in financial hardship are also paying the most to access small amounts of credit, with one in five reporting they had used high cost credit such as payday lenders.

Financial resilience is defined as being able to ‘bounce back’ from a financial shock. This includes having savings and access to appropriate credit, as well as support from family, friends, and community and government organisations.


Financial Resilience in Australia 2017

In 2017, this was released as three separate reports:

  1. Why is financial stress on the rise? (September 2017)
  2. Financial resilience and access to financial products and services (December 2017)
  3. Financial resilience and employment (December 2017)

One in eight adults in Australia (12.6 per cent) experienced severe or high financial stress during the past year, up from 11.1 per cent. This means that they are less able to bounce back when things go wrong, such as a higher than expected utility bill or a broken washing machine.

More than half (56.3 per cent) felt some level of financial stress compared with 53.2 per cent a year earlier. This group had more resources to draw on than those in severe or high financial stress. However, they could still be exposed by major financial shocks like losing a job, having a baby or a relationship breakdown.

Less than one in three (31.2 per cent) were financially secure, down significantly from 35.7 per cent in 2015.

Now in its second year, the report reveals just how financially vulnerable many Australians are when they experience a bump in the road and need a helping hand.


  1. Why is financial stress on the rise? (1MB)
  2. Financial resilience and access to financial products and services (1.4MB)
  3. Financial resilience and employment (1MB)

Read the media release for part one here.

Read the media release for parts two and three here.

Updated 13/12/17 


Financial Resilience in Australia 2015

(Released: August 2016)

If you are experiencing feelings of distress, please scroll down for contact details of people who can help.



Financial counselling contact for feelings of distress


National Debt Helpline


1800 007 007

Web site

Financial counsellors: providing information, support and advocacy to people in financial difficultyThis link explains how a financial counsellor can help.


General contacts for feelings of distress


Beyond Blue


1300 22 4636

Web site





13 11 14

Web site



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