Historically, the Great Australian Dream was the belief that home ownership led to a better life and was seen a symbol of both prosperity and success.
Over time, our understanding of happiness and ‘living the dream’ has changed. A report by the Financial Planning Association (FPA) of Australia (‘Live the Dream’, 2017) found that currently, only 41% of Australians see home ownership as ‘living the dream’. To most of us, living the dream now means having the lifestyle of our choice (57%) and having financial freedom and independence (54%).
Rather than objects such as a house, we are now placing more value on experiences and the freedom to forge our own path. However, even with these changes, only 1 in 4 Australians describe themselves as ‘mostly’ or ‘definitely’ living the dream.
But why is this the case?
48% of us admit that having a low bank balance is holding us back from living the dream. On top of this, many of us admit to having regrets about not saving enough and making poor decisions (with 37% and 30%, respectively). 73% of Australians find it hard to plan their lives, with 36% of us attributing this to not knowing what we want. From this, it’s clear that both money and the self-awareness to see we want from life play a huge role in living the dream.
So, with so many of us confused about our goals, how do we realise what exactly it is that we want out of life? We believe that the answer lies in financial wellbeing.
The best part about improving our financial wellness is that it’s unique to everyone, meaning that financial wellbeing is attainable to all – regardless of your bank balance. There are two key aspects to financial wellbeing that come into play when thinking about living the dream: self-awareness and planning.
Becoming self-aware by recognising your relationship with money is a crucial part of financial wellness. It is through this relationship that you begin to understand your life goals and what truly motivates you. Once you have realised what your goals are, the next step is to create a plan to help you reach your Good Life.
With 29% of Australians too time poor to map out a plan for their future, many have turned to using financial advisors. In fact, those who reported themselves to be living the dream are three times less stressed about money and three times more likely to see a financial advisor compared to those who do not see themselves as living the dream. Of those that received financial advice, 79% claimed that their financial wellbeing had improved since seeing an advisor.
The ability to plan for and reach our goals is undeniably linked to our happiness – making financial wellbeing a major determinant in whether we’ll ever see ourselves ‘living the dream’.