SPINNING THE PLATES

How are low and moderate income households coping with financial uncertainty?


Spinning the Plates is a Brotherhood of St Laurence study into understanding how low and moderate income Australian households are coping with financial uncertainty.

Many Australians today working casually or on contract have to cope with the fact that their wage one week may be higher or lower than their wage the next week. Some may also have to deal with problems to their Centrelink payments due to their work or a range of other issues.

International research shows that people with volatile incomes face increased financial risks making ends meet. Yet little is known in Australia about how much household incomes vary from payday to payday, how many households are affected, what types of financial 'juggling' households do, or how they find coping with this problem.

A major aim of this important study is to provide evidence for organisations like the Brotherhood of St Laurence to better advocate on behalf of people with low and fluctuating incomes.


What is the project about?

The aims of the project are to:

  • better understand how household incomes may change from one pay period to the next, and
  • find out how households manage their finances to cope with changes in their fortnightly income or an unexpected expense (for example, through relying on savings, borrowing from a family member or taking out a small loan).

An area of special interest is understanding why people with variable incomes do or do not take out insurance.


REPORT

Marcus Banks and Dina Bowman 2017, Juggling risks: insurance in households struggling with financial insecurity (PDF, 1.1 MB)


ARTICLE

Dina Bowman and Marcus Banks 2017, 'People on low incomes are sacrificing basic goods to take out insurance' in The Conversation, 21 December.


Research team

Dr Marcus Banks
Senior Research Fellow

Dr Dina Bowman
Principal Research Fellow
(03) 9483 1373
DBowman(at)bsl.org.au

The Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) acknowledges and understands its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and recognises that all children and young people have the right to be treated with respect and care, and to be safe from all forms of abuse. BSL has a zero tolerance towards child abuse.
Read the official statement signed by the Executive Director.

The Brotherhood recognises the harm that family violence causes and that freedom from violence is a basic human right.
We will support our staff, volunteers, clients and the community if they experience violence.

Find out more about the work of the Brotherhood

The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.