Australia is a prosperous country. Yet many Australian households face formidable financial challenges, which include over-indebtedness, underfunding of retirement, under-insurance and financial exclusion.
About twothirds of Australians face some level of financial vulnerability and stress. At the same time, seismic shifts in society – including cultural, economic, and technological and environmental changes – may exacerbate these financial challenges and add new ones. Financial challenges are prominent in people’s minds. In Australia, financial concerns are the number one concern among young people and are the second biggest concern after climate change among older Australians. In this white paper, we propose an alternative approach for the Australian personal finance sector. We argue that in order to improve outcomes for Australians, the sector needs to rediscover its purpose—serving the community. Its core objective as it relates to personal finances ought to be the improvement of individual financial wellbeing, which in turn should be the guiding principle in government policy, regulation and technology. In order to fulfil its purpose, the financial sector needs to be effective, sustainable, inclusive, safe and ethical.
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