The campaign tackles myths and assumptions about older workers – for example the view older professionals can’t adapt to new technology or don’t like working for a younger boss.
Benevolent Society advocacy campaigner Joel Pringle says these attitudes and beliefs tend to arise from peoples’ own fears and uncertainties around getting older.
“These drive our unconscious behaviour,” he says. “Unless we change [those] attitudes and beliefs they will feed ageism and aged-based discrimination.”
A cross-discipline team at University of South Australia is at work on a research project for over 65s funded by Financial Literacy Australia (FLA) and supported by ANZ. The research seeks to see if there is a gap between the actual financial capability of older people and the capability required to make important financial decisions.
One of the four research project leads, Dr Braam Lowies, has been involved in interviews and focus groups with older people, some of which are outlined in the MoneyMinded report.
For Lowies the gap itself is not around knowledge or how knowledgeable over 65s are. “It is behavioural”, he says.
There is knowledge and skills of different levels but “there is no motivation and no trust”, Lowies says.
He is frank about the need for banks to rebuild trust with customers amid current intense focus on the sector. Over 65 participants in the UniSA research expressed feelings the banking process has become depersonalised.
“The new environment is not an environment they are comfortable with,” Lowies says. “I don’t have a silver bullet but it comes down to communication and a better understanding of what the bank has to offer.”
Emily Ross is an author, journalist and editor
A more detailed report on this work will be released by UniSA with FLA in early 2019.
The report Financial Wellbeing: Older Australians and the 2018 MoneyMinded Impact Report will be launched on November 29.