Finance

At all income levels, paying off debt is still the most popular investment: MLC

Myriam Robin /

A survey of investment sentiment shows Australians are still concerned about their debt levels, with paying off such debts being the most common destination for left-over funds.

The MLC Quarterly Australian Wealth Sentiment Survey, however, did record an increased willingness to invest in property, shares and other risky asset classes, perhaps signalling a small improvement in consumer sentiment.

“[The] survey shows consumers balance sheets remain very conservative – with a heavy emphasis on deposits and paying off debt,” the report stated.

“That said there has been a marginal increase in risk appetite – with a growing desire to put more into property and slightly less aversion to direct shares.”

The survey, based on the responses of 2062 participants polled between August 9 and August 27, did find differences across different income levels.

Higher income earners favoured superannuation and property investment, while those on lower incomes were more likely to nominate keeping their money as cash.

Regardless of the wealth category, paying down debt was the most popular ‘investment’ choice over the next three months.

People in Western Australia were the most diversified across different asset classes. Men tended to hold more diversified assets than women.

Women were more likely to be concerned about the adequacy of their superannuation savings, with those over 50 being the most concerned.

“With people living longer, having extended retirements and being much more active in their retirement, the harsh reality is most people won’t have enough savings to fund their retirement,” MLC CEO Andrew Hagger said.

“For women this especially rings true, as women retire with 40 per cent less super than men because they take time out for children, are more likely to work part time and typically earn less than men.

“While it’s not surprising to us that women are worried about funding their retirement the survey is a timely reminder to women about how they can start to bridge the gap by adopting some key

Men tended to be most concerned about missing investment opportunities.

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Myriam Robin

Myriam Robin is a reporter for SmartCompany and its sister site LeadingCompany. She has degrees in economics, international studies and journalism. She likes writing about businesses taking risks and doing new things.

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