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Emergency service workers are lacking confidence in their financial future
Only one in ten (13%) of the emergency service workers feel they have received support from their bank to help them save for their future, with almost half (47%) feeling that they need much more support.
Further, only two in five feel confident they are financially prepared for retirement, and only 76% are able to put money away into savings when they can.
Less than a quarter (22%) of emergency services workers say their bank has helped them to obtain their financial goals. Yet a much bigger group, 4 out of 10, stick with their bank because it’s who they’re most familiar with.
“Given the nature of their jobs, we are surprised at how under-serviced our emergency service workers are by their financial institutions. The message is clear - they need more support from their banks on their finances,” said Jim O’Connell, General Manager at Firefighters Mutual Bank.
Australia has approximately 30,000 emergency service workers, including firefighters and ambulance service workers and paramedics. Most are in first-responder roles, attending to unpredictable and dangerous situations across our cities and towns.
“These individuals play a vital role in not only the service they provide, but also within their communities. If you have an extraordinary job helping the community, you shouldn’t have to put up with an ordinary bank,” continued Mr O’Connell.
Questions about how best to organise and setup their long-term finances may be a reason why emergency service workers are focussing on short term savings goals.
The majority (76%) are saving for a holiday, half (52%) saving for a home, while just over a third (34%) are stashing money away for a rainy day.
Further, the majority have a home loan, or investment property loan. Those saving outside of superannuation invest heavily in cash and/ or term deposits, property, and Australian shares.
“We can see that emergency service workers favour certain investments when it comes to saving, utilising property, cash or term deposits, Aussie shares, and savings accounts amongst other things, to grow their wealth,” said Mr O’Connell.
“This may have been generational, particularly with those families with more than one emergency service worker, so we know that these values are important – owning a home, having a savings account, working towards that hard-earned holiday at the end of the year.”
More worryingly, the research highlighted that half of workers over 60 feel that they need more support from their bank regarding their long-term goals. And just under half (42%) of those aged 18-29 have no investments whatsoever.
“There is a big gap between the short-term saving mindset, and long-term financial focus for emergency service workers,” said Mr O’Connell.
“Emergency service workers face day to day unpredictable challenges, but their financial needs are long term and relatively predictable.”
“Financial service providers need to step up and support emergency service workers so they become more confident and comfortable in their long-term strategies. Making sure they have access to banking services 24/7, access to a personal service, will help support them.”
“A huge number of these workers join their respective service for one reason, and that’s because they want to help their community. They now need the support to provide for themselves and their families for their future,” added Mr O’Connell.
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