Aussies Better Off Financially, But Are They Happy?

By : Subscribe to Vittorio's | May 2, 2012 8:01 AM IST

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A new report released on Wednesday said that despite the soaring cost of living, Australians today live better lives compared to the past 27 years.

According to the latest AMP NATSEM Income and Wealth Report, disposable income in Australia actually is up 20 per cent over the past 27 years. The average Aussie family has $224 more per week in real terms.

During the same period, electricity cost increased 253 per cent, petrol 208 per cent and public transportation 287 per cent.

For the same years, audio visual and computing prices went down to almost one tenth of the prices in 1984 and prices of clothing, footwear and major household appliances hardly changed or are even lower in 2012 compared to 27 years ago.

"Many Australians are leading busier lives and facing greater demands on their time, which means we're now paying for things we may not have previously, such as childcare, gardening and housekeeping," AMP Financial Services Managing Director Craig Meller was quoted

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"We've also seen a noticeable shift in spending habits with people spending more on education, holidays and eating out.... Essentially we seem to be leading bigger lifestyles, all of which can add to perceived cost of living pressures," Mr Meller added.

Across different household forms, incomes have outpaced cost of living. Income of couples with children grew 37 per cent, single parents 34 per cent and working families 22 per cent.

Expenses that went up substantially were higher private school fees which grew 264 per cent, medical cost 560 per cent, dental cost 356 per cent and insurance costs 346 per cent.

Although the cost of petrol significantly increased in Australia, the $1.40 per litre average is much lower compared to over $2 per litre in Europe.

By cities, the most expensive is in Sydney and the least expensive is Adelaide. The highest cost of standard of living is at Canberra which is 20 per cent more expensive compared to Sydney although the price difference is only about $400 a year between the two major Australian cities. Darwin and Perth had the second and third highest cost of living among Aussie cities, followed by Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. The lowest standard of living is in Hobart.

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