It is commonly believed that home ownership is the best expression of living the Australian dream.

However, according to new research released by the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) and prepared in partnership with McCrindle, 57% of Australians now think having the lifestyle of their choice is more important.

The national survey of 2,635 working-age Australians also found that almost one in four Australians (23%) believe they are ‘definitely’ or ‘mostly’ living the dream. These enviably content people are nearly three times more likely to seek the advice of a financial planner than those who describe themselves as not yet living the dream (9%).

Living the lifestyle of their choice rated highest among the older generations (64% baby boomers and 58% Gen X), while a similar proportion (54%) believe living the dream means having financial freedom and independence, and 49% believe it’s about having safety and security.

Australians can be categorised into four main personality types based on their ability to dream and to act on their plans, according to the research. These ‘Financial Action Personalities’ are:

• The daydreamer – Around 32% of Australians are ‘daydreamers’, who are more likely to be female (55%) than male (45%). These people dream of a better life, with 79% earning a low income.

• The go-getter – Roughly 33% of Australians fit this profile. They are often university eduated (41%) and live in a capital city (68%), and almost half of this group (47%) are Gen Ys.

• The cruiser – Around 19% of Australians are ‘cruisers’. In this category, just 25% of people work full-time, and less than one-third (32%) have children.

• The builder – This profile fits 16% of Australians, largely comprising Gen Xs (38%) and baby boomers (35%). Almost one in five are retired, and almost one in four (23%) are high-income earners.

Interestingly, despite soaring housing prices, more than two in five Gen Ys (43%) still believe living the Australian dream means owning a home. Though home ownership feels out of reach for many Gen Ys, nearly half (47%) of this group also believe owning a home is still an indicator of a successful life.

Meanwhile, the Aussie ‘no worries’ attitude is being challenged as the survey found that 80% of working-age Australians are stressed about money and finances, with one in four indicating acute stress levels. Gens X and Y are most stressed about their finances, and women are much more likely than men to feel extremely or very stressed about their finances.

Not saving enough is the biggest life regret of Australians across all generations. Australians not ‘living the dream’ are nearly twice as likely to regret not saving enough (47% compared to only 24% of those who are living the dream).

One in five rate poor financial planning as one of their biggest financial regrets in life so far (21%). One in five (19%) regret not investing enough and one in 10 (10%) regret investing in the wrong things.

Kevin Turner from Real Estate Talk also spoke to Eliane about these results.

You can listen to that interview here:

With thanks to Real Estate Talk – the only place where you hear all Australasia’s leading property experts.

Eliane Miles

is a social researcher,

trends analyst and director

of research at McCrindle,

Australia’s social