Confidence shaky as people smarten up
Why do you think the economic state of Australia appears to be so robust on paper and yet many sectors are so apprehensive to spend their money?
A huge factor in how people make financial decisions has to do with their confidence. Generally, confidence is made up of a number of factors - how people feel about the value of their home, the stability of their jobs, the cost of living and confidence in the government.
Housing is now more affordable with the Reserve Bank's cash rate sitting quite low at 3.5 per cent. Overall, jobs look good - in fact the unemployment rate is close to its lowest level in 30 years at 5.14 per cent. But some sectors such as manufacturing and retail are under pressure. Inflation is low, below the RBA's "target" range of 2-3 per cent. So without going into the political sentiment, I'd say that on paper, you're right, things look good.
The GFC was a wake-up call for Australia. People saw what was happening in the US and Europe and they realised that rather than spend frivolously, now might be a good time to pull it in a bit. In my mind, people have smartened up. They know that anything is possible and they're doing what they can to protect themselves.
Mark Bouris is executive chairman of Yellow Brick Road, a wealth management company and small business adviser. His advice here is intended as guidance only.
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