Australians think they need to be earning almost five times more than the typical salary to feel wealthy as rising consumer prices stretch household budgets thin.
The average person would not consider themselves “rich” unless they were earning more than $345,000 a year – almost five times more than the typical income of more like $70,000 based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data.
The survey of 1032 people by comparison site Finder found millennials thought they needed more than other age groups – $418,325 a year to feel rich.
Finder money expert Rebecca Pike said the high cost of living in part explained the wide gap between what people actually earn and what they think they need to make to be affluent.
“With everything from soaring property prices to expensive energy bills, the average person now feels they need to earn a whole lot more to be wealthy,” she said.
Annually, inflation grew 5.4 per cent through to the September quarter – down from six per cent in the June quarter and well below the peak of 7.8 per cent through to the December quarter.
Extra assistance could be incoming for those struggling with still-high consumer price growth, with the federal government considering its options for more cost of living relief ahead of the May budget.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed on Wednesday Treasury and the Department of Finance had been tasked with coming up with a fresh set of policy ideas for consideration before the May budget.
“Our priority will be to provide cost of living relief whilst taking pressure off inflation,” Mr Albanese said on Wednesday.
Shadow treasurer Angus Taylor said the prime minister had been “asleep at the wheel” on inflation.
“We’ve had the sharpest drop in disposable income, in actual standard of living, of any advanced country in the world,” Mr Taylor told 2GB radio on Thursday.
“We are absolutely at the back of the pack.”
Turbocharging the nation’s manufacturing base will also be a focal point for the federal government in 2024.
Outlining his priorities for the year ahead, Mr Albanese said he wanted “to make more things here, which is about Australian jobs here”.
“We want a future made in Australia,” he told reporters in Sydney.
The net zero transition has opened opportunities to ignite local industries further up supply chains, the prime minister said.
Some promising industries have already been singled out, including refining and processing critical minerals, battery manufacturing, renewable hydrogen and ammonia and green metals.
While the prime minister is committed to strengthening domestic manufacturing capability, he said global trade relationships remained critical.
In 2024, the plan is to keep strengthening the nation’s position with southeast Asian and Pacific nations, as well as removing trade impediments with China.
“We know those impediments led to some $20 billion reduction in our trade, and we’ve seen that step up and we’ll see further advances in that this year,” Mr Albanese said.
High inflation and increases to interest rates continue to slow the domestic economy but purchasing managers indices suggest Australia is still heading for a soft landing.
The Judo Bank index that track trends in the services sectors recorded a further decline in activity in December – the third monthly contraction in a row – and mainly due to weaker demand.
But Judo Bank economist Matthew De Pasquale said the slowdown in services activity was stabilising and at a level consistent with the economy weakening enough to bring inflation back to target without triggering a recession.
“Given that price indicators continue to soften into the new year, the economy is expected to remain on track for a soft landing in 2024, with high employment levels likely to prevent a more significant downturn,” he concluded.