Way Forward research

Understanding the problem debt landscape

In recent years we have initiated an annual survey and research report. Exploring a different theme each year, these reports provide an essential window into Australians’ lived experiences of debt. By conducting this research, we have established a greater understanding of the demographic profile of our clients, as well as their attitudes to spending, saving and debt.

Discover our research reports

Way Forward: Quantifying the mental toll of debt stress explores the first-hand experiences of Australians who are in financial hardship and committed to a debt repayment plan with Way Forward. The research indicates that there is a correlation between financial wellbeing and mental wellbeing, but that having a financial buffer can provide a reprieve in an otherwise stressful situation.

Under Pressure: How people prioritise spending in a cost-of-living crisis investigated how people prioritise their limited financial resources in the face of a cost-of-living crisis, and what knowledge and experience they draw upon when making decisions about money. We’ve found that when money is in short supply, housing comes first (at the expense of everything else).

Balancing act: How financially vulnerable people are using BNPL to “dig their way out of debt” was one of the first studies to examine the attitudes and behaviours surrounding BNPL products among people experiencing financial hardship. In some cases, BNPL is used to buy essentials so that cash can be directed to paying off existing loans, which can trap people in a debt cycle. Further, the ease of access to BNPL facilities can mean that financially vulnerable users quickly end up in overwhelming financial difficulty.