Economic security and dignity: a financial wellbeing framework

Jeremiah Thomas Brown & Dina Bowman

Our new framework explores what is needed for all Australians to enjoy financial wellbeing.

At a glance

Even before COVID-19, there was increasing concern about economic insecurity in Australia, despite almost 30 years of uninterrupted growth. The impacts of the crisis are likely to be severe for people who were already doing it tough. Our framework can be used to shape programs that directly address financial hardship, and to advocate policies that enable financial wellbeing.

Dive deeper

As a concept, financial wellbeing has tended to focus on individual objective measures and self-assessments of ability to meet expenses (both day-to-day and future) and to meet unexpected expenses. These are important, but we argue the systemic and structural drivers of inequality and insecurity must also be taken into account.

Our framework identifies four interconnected elements:

  • financial logics
  • financial literacies
  • financial counselling
  • financial advocacy.

The central aim of the framework is economic security, underpinned by economic dignity.

The framework builds on BSL research into economic insecurity and financial stress. It was developed through workshops with BSL staff, and informed by the conceptual thinking undertaken as part of the inaugural ANZ Tony Nicholson Fellowship. This one-year fellowship is funded by ANZ in honour of former BSL Executive Director, Tony Nicholson.

The concept of economic dignity is explored in a companion paper, Economic dignity and financial capabilities: connecting principles and concepts.

Last updated on 1 July 2020