The magic number, revealed

The magic number, revealed

Vanessa Stoykov

A very interesting statistic came to light in the recent Australian Talks National survey, in which more than 50,000 Australians took part.

While there were many fascinating insights in the report, one of the most interesting ones to me was the magic number of $3000.

It seems that those people who earn $3000 a week or more worry less about pretty much everything. The worries that the rest of Australia listed they were grappling with included loneliness, crime, job security, getting older and cost of living.

In reverse, the only thing that the magic $3000 folk worried about more than other Australians was work-life balance. I read this with great interest. I have always wondered what the magic number is. The figure, financially, that people can hold up as the amount that could help their worries disappear.

Well, according to this survey, $3000 a week is it.

That seems like an awful lot. When 80% of Australia earns $80,000 or less, there can’t be too many Australians who are not particularly worried about the state of their world. And with 700 Australians retiring every day, we all march into the great unknown of an uncertain local economy and global environment.  It seems the worries of this aging nation are going to continue to grow.

Other big issues facing Australians, according to the survey, varied state by state – the survey showed that in NSW, water was the biggest issue of national concern. In Victoria it was cost of living, while Tasmanians cited drug and alcohol abuse as the biggest concern they have.

The other big issue which haunted over 45% of all the people in the survey was housing affordability. Most people believe they won’t be able to afford to own their own home one day, and it scares the hell out of them.

So Australia as a nation has a lot of changing to do – about the way we think about home ownership, how we regard our retirement plans (push them back is the logical way of thinking about it) and how we deal with an ever-increasing epidemic of drug and alcohol abuse.

This problem is surely about people trying to escape their worries and circumstances – and leaves a legacy that is hard to change when the next generation has grown up in that environment. We are, and have always been, the lucky country. But it cannot be just lucky for those earning $3000 or more a week.

It has to be a shared good fortune. How this unfolds will be a challenge for us all.

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