Supporting people making financial decisions during COVID-19

As the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to be felt across Australia, ASIC’s Financial Capability team are looking at ways we can support the Financial Wellbeing Network during this time.

In this article, we share information on how consumers are interacting with Moneysmart.gov.au and some general insights on how people are feeling about money during the pandemic.

We also want to take the opportunity to share key messages developed for Moneysmart, that can be shared within your own networks, or inform conversations you are having with customers or clients looking for a trusted and impartial source of money information.

Website analytics and COVID-19

To date, Moneysmart has had over 100,000 users view Moneysmart’s COVID-19 webpages over 150,000 times. Users are 54% female with over 30% aged between 25 and 34.

The top webpages relating to COVID-19 are:

Social media sentiment

Data from social listening (a public way of collecting sentiment across Twitter) has revealed that conversations in Australia around money and superannuation have been highly emotive – with sadness and anger being the dominant emotions identified in posts.

Moneysmart key messages

During challenging times, making money decisions can feel overwhelming and many organisations are looking for trusted and impartial sources of information to support people in need and share with their networks.

ASIC’s Moneysmart website is a great starting point to help connect people with support and the services available to help, designed to assist Australians take control of their money and build a better life with free tools, tips and guidance.

Talking to someone

Many Australians who are now facing financial difficulties might never had to call on support before and may not be aware of what free services are available to them.

A good place to start is to talk to a financial counsellor. Financial counsellors are qualified professionals who can provide information, advice and advocacy. The National Debt Helpline can be accessed by calling 1800 007 007 or find a financial counsellor by using Moneysmart’s Financial counsellor online search.

Early access to super

From 20 April, some people can apply to access up to $10,000 of super in 2019-20 and another $10,000 in 2020-21.

Before accessing super there are a number of things that need to be considered. Find out more about early access to super.

Urgent money support

The Government has announced a number of new measures to support affected workers, businesses and the broader community. Moneysmart’s COVID-19 financial assistance page, summarises what’s available and where to go to address specific individual circumstances.

Problems paying the mortgage

Many Australians may be concerned about being able to continue to cover ongoing mortgage payments. In this situation, it’s important to talk to the bank or loan provider and discuss the options that are available, including applying for a hardship variation. For more information on what options are available, take a look at Moneysmart’s information on problems paying your mortgage.

Problems paying bills or rent

If money is tight, it can be difficult to keep up with regular bills like electricity, rent and phones. The best way to deal with issues around electricity, gas, phone or water bills is to contact service providers straight way. For more information, take a look at problems paying bills and fines on Moneysmart. If you are having problems paying your rent, or need help sorting out rental problems, read our rental bonds and leases information.

Scams

It’s important to watch out for scammers who try to take advantage of COVID-19.

Scams can take many forms, so be wary of offers to assist you accessing your superannuation or high-return investment opportunities.

Find out how to spot common scams and protect yourself online.

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