Tags: Money & finances Standard of living Future security

If you don't have at least a modest amount of financial security, financial confidence, economic empowerment in your life, you don't have overall wellbeing.” — Esther Kerr, CEO, Australian Unity Wealth & Capital Markets

Key points

  • Financial wellbeing is a key contributor to personal wellbeing. With Australian Unity Wellbeing Index research showing that standard of living (financial control) makes up part of the “golden triangle of happiness”.

  • Life trigger points like marriage, childbirth, divorce or family loss are key times to review your financial plans.

  • Having a conversation with loved ones in their 20s is a good time to start them on a journey of lifetime financial wellbeing.

Financial wellbeing, it’s certainly taken a battering over the past three years. Australians are a resilient bunch, but with ongoing economic challenges including rising inflation and interest rates and a housing crisis, the financial pressure on families is very real.

Research shows that when it comes to maximising personal wellbeing, you are more likely to receive a boost if you focus on three core areas—strong personal relationships, standard of living (financial control) and achieving in life (sense of purpose)—this is known as the golden triangle of happiness.

Interestingly, a recent survey of Australian Unity’s 10Invest customers found that they are using the tax-effective, long-term saving tool to help with the sense of financial control. Many are also using 10Invest to help ease the pressure when it comes to saving for significant life expenses like a house deposit, a wedding, a major holiday, or to complement an existing retirement plan.

In this episode of Australian Unity’s Talking Financial Wellbeing, Esther Kerr, Australian Unity’s CEO of Wealth & Capital Markets, shares the personal finance essentials and budgeting practices that can help you boost your financial wellbeing and overall happiness.

Investing for my circumstances


Victoria Devine:

I'm Victoria Devine, millennial money expert and the host of the She's on the Money podcast, and this is Talking Financial Wellbeing with Australian Unity.

Today I'm talking to Esther Kerr, who is the CEO of Wealth and Capital Markets at Australian Unity.

Esther. I'm so excited to talk to you today about financial wellbeing. Can you tell me a little bit more about what to you financial wellbeing is and why it's so important?

Esther Kerr:

It's the misunderstood part of wellbeing. You know, I think we all intuitively understand physical health, or friendships and relationships, or a good home contributes to our wellbeing.

But when you talk finances, people switch off. If you don't have at least a modest amount of financial security, financial confidence, economic empowerment in your life, you don't have overall wellbeing.

So, it's not everything towards wellbeing, but it's a really important part of it that I think people are really scared to engage with.

Victoria Devine:

Yeah, I feel like we always bury our heads in the sand when it comes to money because it's overwhelming. Or our money story might mean that we feel like money is bad to talk about, or not something that we should be empowered by.

But from my perspective, as an ex-financial advisor, money is something that really guides all the other areas of wellness of your life. You can't be well in any other aspect of life if you don't have the underlying basics of finances sorted. So, what can we do to help that?

Esther Kerr:

That's right, and it's not about just being overly wealthy.

Beyond a certain level of absolute wealth really makes no difference to someone's overall wellbeing.

But from nothing to something, from being worried about how you're going to provide for your children, from being worried about where you're going to live, when you retire, from not having a safety net, a financial safety net under your day-to-day life, you can't be well.

So, what we need to do is we need to get rid of the bells and whistles, but we need to find a way to get a modicum of financial advice, the basics to people that don't even know to ask for it.

How are we getting that information to people? And at the right time in their lives?

I don’t think everybody needs to think about their finances every day, but there are points. There are, you know, inflection points and crossroads that we come to where if we just have someone we can go to and ask for a reference point, the outcomes for overall wellbeing are transformed.

Victoria Devine:

I love that and I think it's so important to kind of preface it like that.

I call them in my community “hygiene factors”. I just call them hygiene factors because I genuinely think that everybody as a base level needs to know what an emergency fund is, what to do with superannuation, what to do when it comes to investing, and why we should be investing, especially if we are women, because we are already behind.

I just think it's so special that you and Australian Unity are putting that first and actually going, ‘actually how do we connect with the community at the right stage in their life to have an impact?’ Because let's be honest, no one wants to talk about finance every single day. There's usually a trigger point.

What types of trigger points do you see coming up where people kind of get knocked into gear to think about money?

Esther Kerr:

Well, I'm going through a separation. I've got three school age children. I'm having to rethink.

I thought I had a good plan. But now is the right time where I'm thinking I need to check in on my will. I need to think about school fees. I'll be responsible for my mortgage by myself now.

Divorce is a time comes to mind. But if you start off with not much, what are your upfront investment strategies? What are your savings?

Just a conversation early when we're all just starting out in our career about how much do you live in your twenties versus stock away for the future and how do you think about that?

So, there are points.

I think marriage, separation, the employment job thing. I've been thinking about a lot more that point when your children are working out about investing in their education. When you try and buy property. I love what you're doing because as you have mentioned, advice is so important. I believe it's so important. But it goes to the people that almost don't need it.

So, how do we create communities who can learn from each other, who can be prompted by each other, who can demystify things?


10Invest is issued by Lifeplan Australia Friendly Society Limited ABN 78 087 649 492, AFSL 237989. Read the PDS, TMD and important information on our website. Information is general in nature and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.

Information provided in this article is of a general nature and does not consider the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Read the important information on our website. Readers should rely on their own advice and enquiries in making decisions affecting their own health, wellbeing or interest. Interviewee names and titles were accurate at the time of writing.