According to the results of MLC’s Wealth Sentiment Survey – which comprised responses from 2,100 Australians in the final quarter of 2015 – Australians adopted a “conservative” approach to their investments during this period.
In fact, only eight per cent said they had added to their super, while seven per cent purchased shares and just three per cent purchased an investment property.
“Overall, Australians invested less in most asset classes in Q4, except when it came to paying down their debts,” MLC said.
“While the majority of Australians said they increased the amount they held in savings/deposits accounts in Q4, around -4 per cent (net) also said they added less than in the three months prior.
“In contrast, almost five per cent of Australians (net) said they allocated more to paying down debt, while the amount invested in shares was broadly unchanged,” the report said.
The survey also found that that one in five Australians expects to invest less overall in the next three months.
"Specifically, more than one in 10 plan to invest 'a lot less' while nine per cent plan to invest 'a little less'," the report said.
“In contrast, one in 10 Australians plan to invest 'a little more' and only two per cent expect to invest 'a lot more'. Around 54 per cent expect to invest about the same.
“More high-income earners expect to increase the amount they invest in the next three months when compared to low-income earners, while more low-income earners are planning to invest less,” it continued.
The report also found that not having enough money to invest after taking out living expenses remains the biggest barrier to saving for retirement.
The survey found that expectations for having more than enough to retire on were very low, with only seven per cent of men and four per cent of women expecting to reach this goal.
It also indicated that 40 per cent of Australian women do not expect to have enough money to retire on, compared with around 31 per cent of men.
One in four women, based on the results, believe they will have ‘far from enough’ to retire on.
On average the survey showed that on average, Australian expects to retire with $500,000 but nearly one in five expect to have less than $100,000 and one and five don’t know.
The survey also showed that 40 per cent of Australians don’t know how much they have in super.
MLC general manager of corporate super Lara Bourguignon said it is concerning that half the population still does not use a financial planner or even has a financial plan.
“A financial plan can not only help you to achieve your immediate goals, it can also help make sure you’re putting enough away for a comfortable retirement,” she said.
“If you find yourself living pay check to pay check, finding the time to make a financial plan can help you find savings opportunities.”