Editor’s note: This video segment was first broadcast 8 April 2019.
Forget cheating dramas and red wine-induced cat fights, Nine’s hit reality TV show Married at First Sight has revealed the real problem facing many Australians today: horrible spending habits.
Sunday night’s episode saw mean girls Martha and Jess admitting they always wore the latest designer clothes, despite Martha being unemployed and Jess needing to rely on her father for funds.
“I’m wearing Prada, I mean, go out with a bang, why not,” 30-year-old Martha tells Jess, before adding, “I’m not working, like, my parents are supporting me.”
“I don’t know how I still keep getting money,” says Jess. “My dad’s like, ‘do you need five grand,’ and I’m like, ‘yes daddy’.”
While that embarrassing conversation may not reflect how everyone behaves, it does offer some insight into the need that many feel to portray a glamorous lifestyle, often at a high personal cost.
“It just shows, it might all look like glitz and glamour for some people…but sometimes when you pull it apart, often these people are living under pressure,” News Corp personal finance writer Sophie Elsworth told Your Money Live.
“Instagram, Facebook…Snapchat, everyone’s wanting to boast about their life.”
But while it can be easy to portray an image of luxury over social media, the reality is that many Australians are living week to week without anything saved.
According to a new survey by Mortgage Choice, 35 per cent of Australians feel pressured to keep up appearances, and that pressure is highest for Millennials.
Meanwhile, one in five people have saved nothing at the end of each month, 39 per cent forgo dental checks and 31 per cent don’t have health insurance.
Elsworth says the effort to present the appearance that we’re all doing better than we really are, ultimately makes the financial situation even worse.
“We’re feeling like we have to keep up with each other. If someone’s got something that [makes it] look like they’re doing well, like a Gucci handbag…We’re feeling like we have to keep up with them,” she explains.
However, purchases such as designer clothing, luxury holidays and the latest gadgets create short-term happiness at the expense of long-term planning.
“You get to your 30’s and 40’s and those people start falling behind,” says Elsworth. “As dull as it sounds you’ve got to start saving early.”
“We’ve got to step aside from that, we’ve got to stop trying to show off our lifestyles. Unless you can afford it, don’t do it. Think of paying with things with debit and try to steer clear of credit, because it just doesn’t pay off in the end.”
Watch the discussion in the video above.