A survey of 1,000 Australians undertaken by spare change investment app Acorns found that financial stress was a major cause of depression and anxiety.
“These findings should act as a wake-up call for individuals, our political leaders and mental health organisations to consider the potential health issues associated with a lack of financial know-how,” Mr Lucas said.
“Mental health issues and their causes are often a taboo topic, even in an open country such as Australia. To navigate this challenge, we need to ensure we have the necessary frameworks in place to help those facing financial difficulties to access support and advice to get their finances under control.”
Nearly a third of those aged between 25 and 44 reported having abused alcohol due to financial stress, while one in five had turned to drugs and other illicit substances.
Around half the respondents said financial stress negatively affected their work and home lives, with 52 per cent citing it as a major cause of relationship problems and 49 per cent saying it impacted their work performance.
Mr Lucas said the results highlighted the urgent need for Australians to get on top of their finances.
“The research suggests that many of the pressures and health issues Australians face can be avoided if we can encourage people to honestly assess their financial situation,” he said.
“Taking control of your finances can seem intimidating, but even small steps taken now can reap financial and health benefits in the long term.”
Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.