Keeping the Economy in Perspective: Good News Focus

There’s a lot of chatter about the economy in the news right now… Unemployment, cost of living and interest rates are all on the rise. The media loves to stoke the crazy fire. Fear sells papers as they say. But, just like my irrational intolerance of the sound of people eating, it’s all a matter of perspective… And there is a good news focus, let me explain…

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First, more about my weird medical condition…

Okay, maybe it’s not a medical condition because Randall thinks that it is just one of my idiosyncrasies. And I haven’t had a doctor tell me it really is anything with a particularly clever name or spoken to my doctor about it so perhaps Randall is right.

Even still, I am holding out hope that there is somewhere on the internet that confirms I am not alone.

You see, the sound of anyone eating near me – it sends me slightly crazy.

And by anyone, I really mean Randall or one of our kids.

And by eating, I really mean any meal that they are eating when I am not eating at the same time.

It is like that is all I can hear – the relentless sound of their chewing.

Yes, I know it is irrational. Yes, I know that apparently nutrition is good for growing teenage bodies and middle-aged husbands.

But do they have to do it so loudly?

Randall says it is all in my perception.

He is probably right. It gets overblown.

So, I have learned to put some space between me and the family member’s bowl of breakfast cereal; to focus on something else. Or pour my own bowl and join them.

I have noticed something else getting a little overblown in the community right now.

And that is the sound of chatter when it comes to talking about Australia and our financial prospects.

Has it got into your ears too?

Cost of living: rising.

Interest rates: rising.

There is a little media crazy getting stirred up.

Gloom, gloom, gloom, and a little doom for good measure.

If you have been letting it get the better of your focus right now, here’s some facts worth focusing on.

1. Record Unemployment

Across Australia, we are at our lowest unemployment rate in over 50 years.

The latest data shows that last month (June 2022) with 494,000 people unemployed, there were 480,000 job vacancies. Employers are scrambling to fill positions and in order to stay competitive are increasing salary package offerings.

Good News Focus

And that is good news for talented, hard-working Australians looking to boost their income.

Yes, when it comes to managing our finances, we have two strategies to use:

  • Reduce unnecessary expenses
  • Bring in more income

If you want to earn more, reach for a new position with a better salary.

Employers want to hear from you.

The research for many years consistently shows us that qualifications are linked to higher incomes.

Even better then, using Recognition of Prior Learning to stay on top of your qualifications saves you time and money, costing much less than returning to the classroom for traditional study options.

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If you are looking for a new position or trying to fill a position at your workplace, feel free to message us the details of what you are looking for and we will share it with the Churchill community through our LinkedIn profile.

2. Cost of Living

There is no doubt that there have been some daily expenses that have gone up – fuel is an easy one to see. Some grocery items have gone up too – goes hand in hand with the rising cost of fuel, and in some instances, the cost of not having enough labour for agriculture while our immigration numbers are down.

Good News Focus

Our family has been long term Aldi shoppers and notice a big saving in our grocery costs – confirmed by research by PwC in 2021 –  saving families $2500 annually.

Woolworths announced a price freeze on around 300 of their staple products until the end of the year.

In our local community, like many local communities, Buy Nothing groups have sprung up on Facebook – sharing household items that are no longer being used. You can post a Give item or you can come on and Ask for something you need. No money is exchanged – just gratitude.

In our local group, while I was tapping away here, someone was giving away a fridge they no longer needed to another family.

Similarly, Edible Exchanges are popping up all around the country. Here in Samford, we have a little stall that lets neighbours share what they have in abundance from home gardens or their kitchens. It is an honesty system. One day fresh baking may appear, another day empty glass jars that someone else may use to make relish and the cycle of sharing continues.

The Economy: Good News Focus

Churchill’s own Marketing Manager, Leonie, has been running a Harvest Swap for some years on the Sunshine Coast based on similar principles.

Whilst in some areas the cost of living may be on the rise, in other more important ways the strength of community is also on the rise.

3. Interest Rates

Interest rates are going up for mortgages but let’s be honest: we all knew they would. Australians are a pragmatic lot and whilst none of us like digging into our pockets to pay the banks, it’s a fact of life.

Good News Focus

This week, the Reserve Bank’s Deputy Governor, Michele Bullock, shared that approximately a third of Australians are about two years ahead on their mortgage repayments because they kept stashing away those repayments when the interest rates were at the artificially induced low throughout COVID.

The banks knew the interest rates would rise too so for some time have used a higher interest rate to assess eligibility for mortgages. They already factored in a buffer for our budget.

As a nation, Australians stashed away record amounts of savings over COVID – $260 billion dollars’ worth.

Lean into those numbers for a little comfort next interest rate rise.

4. The Best Things in Life are Still Free

No matter what the media is spruiking today or will throw in the mix tomorrow, something that will never change is that the best and most important things in life are still free.

It is all a question of where we focus.

Tapping into help from a financial counsellor if we are worried: free.

Getting your RPL Preliminary Assessment so you know your best qualification options: free.

Find out what you are eligible for

A laugh with a colleague you enjoy working with: free.

A walk around the local bush trail with a friend: free.

Battling it out for bragging rights on the local park gym equipment against your teenage offspring: free.

Throwing your arm around someone you love: priceless.

Not going nuts when they are eating near you: well, that is a whole other matter.

Stay safe,

Tricia Velthuizen
Co-founder, Churchill Education

Tricia Velthuizen

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