Bleats

A Cashless Society Is Closer Than You’d Think, And The Banks Are On Board

That's not very cash money of you.

We’ve been hearing for yonks about the pros and cons of the cashless society we’re supposedly hurtling towards, but now even the International Monetary Fund has seen the light. Honestly, those cash-only stores have no excuse at this point.

There is objectively no greater disappointment than getting to the till at a convenience store and seeing a big old ‘NO EFTPOS’ sign slapped across the register. You do that loose change jiggle as you search your wallet and pockets but it’s futile, and you leave hungry and dejected.

So wouldn’t it be marvelous if there was no cash at all? No reason for businesses to exclude you right at that last hurdle? There’s a decent rationale behind the shift – after all, you’re not alone in your frustration. According to research commissioned by the ATO, nearly half of us find cash-only to be “inconvenient”, and even more reckon it’s a sign of dishonesty.

Working in cash is what creates a black economy, where companies and employees can shield their transactions from prying eyes for tax-avoidance purposes. Without a paper trail, cash-in hand payments also leave employees more vulnerable to being ripped off.

Becoming a cashless society would make life look a little different, but maybe not by all that much. It’s all about the Australian consumer’s demand for convenience – in 2016, only about a third of payments were made in cash. Still, it’s not a flawless system, and there are some slightly shady reasons why banks and organisations like the IMF are pushing it so hard.

Getting rid of cash – which sets the ‘floor’ for the value of interest at zero – would allow banks to set negative interest rates. This is great if you’re planning on making a bunch of investments and taking out loans, because it would force the banks to pay you for it. Profit.

But if you’re a risk-adverse individual like me, who very much values being able to tuck away savings in an everyday account, the bank would be able to take some of your money for the privilege. It’s like a punishment for being sensible! But of course, the market is always right…

Great job, banks. You always know how to take care of people.

And I think we’re all forgetting the true victims of a cashless society – hip-hop artists and rappers. If video killed the radio star, then the cashless revolution killed the video star. Are we going to force Lil Wayne to start waving credit cards around while he spits sick bars?

It just wouldn’t be the same.

On the flip side, at least in the near future you’ll be able to get a takeaway without raiding an ATM first. It’s much easier to validate your choice to go into the red when there isn’t a giant screen there to confront you about it.

You’re Actually Spending Less On Luxuries Than Your Parents Did, So Don’t Let Them Lecture You

Take that, fam.

Friends, our time has come – the spending stats are finally on our side. You officially have evidence to use in your favour next time a baby boomer tries to prosecute you for enjoying a light brunch in the city, thanks to the Grattan Institute’s Generation Gap report.

As well as finding that “the wealth of households under 35 has barely moved since 2004”, the report also showed that under 25s are the only group spending less on non-essential goods now than they were back in the late 80s.

Generation Gap report 2019, The Grattan Institute.

Recreational activities who? We don’t know her!

Obviously the cost of living has rocketed for everyone, we already knew that and we’ve been feeling it for a while now. But Millennials are struggling with it the most, and we know now that it’s not because of the lattes, avocados, or wagyu beef.

More than half of households headed by an under-25-year-old have experienced at least one indicator of financial stress – not that the quarter of 75+ year-olds going through it is great either. Spending your paycheck on your mortgage repayment shouldn’t compromise your ability to have a hot meal. Call me a radical!

Some of the pearls of wisdom are so foreboding that it’s like hearing an omen from the Oracle of Delphi – if she was a very dry data analyst. “If low wage growth is the ‘new normal’”, the report says, “then Australia could have a generation emerge from young adulthood with lower incomes than the one before.”

And sure, it might be fear-mongering a little, but with a recession supposedly right around the corner, it’s not like there’s no cause for concern. Besides, I’m hardly a statistician – who am I to argue with the ABS?

Some of the luxuries we’re spending less on seem kind of obvious, I have to say. Less on household goods and furnishings? Duh, we’ve got Kmart. Clothes too? Nothing wrong with a bit of Target fashion here and there, and it seems like every store has a different sale on every day. Although maybe all the avocado toasts are included in the ‘food’ tally, so I guess that means we all have have guilty pleasures to account for. Yikes.

5 Podcasts To Help You Pull Yourself Together In Your Twenties

You got this.

Look, it’s a troubling time for us young people, trying to live in a society run by Boomers who think we spend all our money on brunches and make all our life decisions based on horoscopes.

We’re considered fiscally irresponsible and socially inept because we’re not bosom buddies with our neighbour in the apartment across the way who inexplicably blasts dubstep at 3 in the morning.

Cough. Also, we always on them phones.

So what are you supposed to do when it feels like your life is in chaos? Your savings are abysmal, your energy and passion for life is dwindling, and let’s not even go near your romantic aspirations. But you can’t ask your parents for advice cause they’re breathing down your neck, and Facebook is a swamp of judgey assholes who can’t wait to scorn your life choices.

Thankfully, we have a line-up of podcasts ready to softly caress your face and tell you how okay it’s all going to be, and it’s all part of a five-step plan to be the better you.

Step 1 Is Admitting You’re A Mess

No shade, I swear! Everyone is a little messy from time to time, and I am yet to meet anyone who has it all together as much as their Instagram would suggest. Not only does Confessions Of A Twenty Something Train Wreck address pretty much every quarter-life crisis under the sun, but it’ll probably feel great just to hear how common all the trials and tribulations are.

Host Phoebe Parsons quickly reminds you how very not alone you are, and that ultimately once you overcome your obstacles, you’ll look back and find them hilarious. Her and her guests’ pearls of wisdom are unending – Dating woes? Check your compatibility by asking a potential partner what Instagram meme pages they follow. Frittering away your income? Feel your Europe trip in your heart and make those little sacrifices to get there.

Step 2 Is Getting Ready To Change

Much like the humble caterpillar must first make itself a cocoon before transforming into a butterfly, so too must you enter a state of being that will maximise your own transformation.

Best way to get into the right mindset is to listen to inspo from those who have gone before, like Annie and Bianka, who are not afraid to tackle the biggest of lifestyle choices in We Want To Be Better.

Hey, it might even expose you to things you didn’t even realise were a problem, like ‘common enemy intimacy’ (AKA bitching to your pals), or feeling less guilty for living away from your parents.

Step 3 Means Prioritising Your Health And Wellbeing

It’s going to be extra difficult to fix all your bad habits and do a total 180 without first focusing on your health, because your fitness and food choices make an enormous impact on your happiness and therefore your outlook on life.

Better For It is a podcast that educates and inspires, and addresses your whole health – not just your gym membership status. Katie Williams, an ex-sprinter, brings influential people onto the show who are well versed in nutrition, training, body image and other social barriers to good health.

Even if you’re not keen to jump in the deep end of the fitness world, this podcast is going to – at the very least – equip you to love your corporeal form more.

These questions answered – and more!

Step 4 Is A Total Relationship Audit

Love is hard. Especially when you’ve been loving for a very long time. But no matter where you are in your romantic journey – from the Tinder swipers to the married with kids crowd – you occasionally need the escape of a good news story regardless of how much you can empathise.

And that’s where Cameron and Alison come in. Far from being the ‘perfect couple’, their marriage has had its really bad low points (not improved by their high profile careers as a media personality and model respectively). Cameron Daddo even hosted a TV dating show, so you’d think he’d be an expert, right?! But in Separate Bathrooms, you’ll learn that an amateur’s take is exactly what you need to understand the realities of love, and you’ll probably take on a few life lessons along the way.

Step 5 Is Your Dream Home, Sorted.

And last but absolutely not least is by far the most ambitious step (if certain headlines are anything to go by) – home ownership. If you step back from all the dumb memes for a sec, you might actually learn a little about how to pull off your ambitions.

Not to get too inception-y here, but Frasers Property has put together their own five-step to your fantasy home, sharing some actual practical tips when it comes to location, design, and of course budget. In First Home How To, they even go into detail about how environmentally-friendly architecture and construction can save you money in the long run. It’s not as much of a long shot as you think it is!

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