Improve your financial health by talking more about money

MONEY talk is becoming mainstream, helping to prompt more Australians to improve their financial health.

A greater willingness to share money experiences, an explosion of public forums, and more employers offering financial wellness programs are underpinning change, says MyBudget founder and director Tammy Barton.

She likens the trend to what has happened with health and fitness over the past two decades.

“Twenty years ago no one knew what you should be eating and drinking. Now every second person is talking about it,” Ms Barton said.

“It used to be taboo to talk about money at barbecues but we are hearing that that’s changing. More people are talking about it more publicly and on social media channels and forums.”

Ms Barton said employers were recognising that a financially healthy workforce was more motivated and productive. “Once a month we are getting a large employer contact us about helping them out with their wellness programs.”

Sarah Markwick at home sorting her shopping. Picture: Tait Schmaal

Sarah Markwick at home sorting her shopping. Picture: Tait SchmaalSource:News Limite

“Society has reached a unique point in history where we have more material things than ever before but are still feeling stressed. People are literally getting sick and tired worrying about it.”

Sarah Markwick discovered that her previous health and financial downfalls revolved around grocery shopping and lack of a structured budget.

“I found myself eating out or just unhealthy quick and easy options,” she said.

“Having my budget and my weekly living expenses has encouraged me to stick to one main shop weekly. This eliminates the quick trip to the shops, which adds up both financially and creates poor food choices.”

MyBudget’s Ms Barton said the keys to reducing stress included having a budget, setting financial goals and using more cash and less plastic.

Sort My Money founder David Rankin is also a big believer in cash to regain control of your finances. “In an age where most transactions are invisible, making all of your day-to-day purchases on food drink and fuel using good old-fashioned cash is the way to go,” he said.

“Withdraw the same amount from the ATM on the same day every week. Park all forms of plastic — including debit cards — and count down the notes and coins until your next ATM day.”

Mr Rankin said people spoke about money much more than they used to. “Money used to be an even bigger taboo than sex, but these days, in our more open society, polite conversation can include either topic,” he said.

“We live in an age of continuous progress. We are constantly acquiring knowledge … amassing know-how about money is no exception.”

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