October 31 2023
Media Release

Young members’ mental health and aspirations suffering as a result of cost-of-living pressures: Rest

Rest, one of Australia’s largest profit-to-member superannuation funds, has found that cost-of-living pressures and financial stress are negatively impacting the mental health of its young members and leaving them more pessimistic about their future.

A survey commissioned by Rest about experiences and attitudes towards superannuation, has revealed nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of the fund’s young members who are experiencing financial stress say that it is negatively impacting their mental health.

Young Rest members are disproportionately experiencing high levels of stress, mental and physical health impacts and high levels of pessimism as a result of cost-of-living pressures, the research found.

In addition, most young Rest members (51 per cent) are already worried about having enough super to retire, despite being three or four decades away from retirement.

They’re also likely to be more pessimistic about the future than the average Australian superannuation member (27 per cent of young Rest members feel pessimistic about their future compared to 20 per cent of the average Australian superannuation member).

“This research paints a sobering picture of the experience of our young Rest members and the short- and long-term effects of biting cost of living pressures on young Australians,” said Rest CEO Vicki Doyle.

“We know superannuation is not always front of mind for young people and encouraging them to engage with their super is a perennial challenge.

“However, we do not want this current level of despondency to lead to many more young people disengaging entirely from their financial future which would make the challenge even more difficult. We want the superannuation system to give all members, including young members, the best-possible retirement outcome.”

The top drivers of financial stress for young Rest members are the rising cost of bills (81 per cent), the inability to save enough for a house deposit (70 per cent), the cost of rental accommodation (62 per cent), debt (54 per cent), and uncertainty of work (48 per cent).

However, superannuation is also driving some optimism, with the research revealing that 38% of young members who think about their super today feel more confident about the future.

“The experience and needs of young people should not be forgotten when it comes to considering the future of superannuation in Australia,” Doyle said.

“Super funds must be part of the solution here. Our research shows that, when they do engage with their superannuation, members can feel more confident about their future. Earlier and more regular engagement can lead to better retirement outcomes.

“This is why it’s so important that funds make it simple for members to access and understand their superannuation, and provide seamless experiences through digital advice, apps and online customer service.

“But funds can’t do it all. We should look for every opportunity to work to make the super system fairer and more equitable for our young members’ futures. We will continue to surface these perspectives to ensure issues of intergenerational equity are not overlooked by policy makers and other stakeholders.

“Recent changes to the super system have supported fairer outcomes, including the removal of the $450 monthly income threshold and the introduction of payday super.

“We need to build on this momentum and implement further reforms, such as superannuation contributions on paid parental leave.”

Rest’s research also found:

Nearly three quarters (70 per cent) of young Rest members are worried about keeping up with cost-of-living pressures.

More than half (55 per cent) of young Rest members say they are struggling to achieve the financial outcomes they want now.

Half (50 per cent) of young Rest members say they often feel stressed about meeting their day-to-day financial needs.

About the research

Research carried out by Instinct & Reason. Data was collected over a 22-day period from 5 September 2023 to 26 September 2023 using an online survey. Total sample was 1,596, including 516 Rest members aged 18 to 34.

About Rest

Established in 1988, Rest is one of Australia’s largest profit-to-member superannuation funds, with more than 1.96 million members and around $75 billion in funds under management as at 30 June 2023.

For further information please visit out media centre or contact:

Michael Mills
Senior Manager, Communications – Media Relations
m: 0428 499 722

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