The Heartbeat of Australia study shows the majority of Australians have positive sentiments about the next 12 months, with 76 per cent of the people surveyed saying they feel happy and 69 per cent feeling optimistic. But 50 per cent still say they feel anxious about the future, and the impact of cost of living - which 75 per cent of people say is the most pressing personal issue in their lives - shows in their plans for the year ahead. The top plans for the coming 12 months are: domestic travel (59 per cent); overseas travel (35 per cent); buying furniture for the home (31); buying new devices (28); investing in savings (25); buying a new or used car (20); and renovating a home or investment property (19). But with the exception of overseas travel (which, with Covid restrictions loosened worldwide, is up by 6 percentage points since 2022), all other planned activities are down since last year. Fewer people plan to travel in Australia (down 14 points), buy for their home (down 9 points) or renovate (down 6). People living in the regions intend to focus on their backyard while capital city residents are looking abroad, with regional Australians more likely than city dwellers to travel domestically (63 per cent versus 51 per cent) and renovate (24 per cent versus 10 per cent). Metropolitan Australians are more inclined than regional people (39 per cent versus 32 per cent) to travel overseas. International travel plans are also more likely among under-45s, with over-45s more likely to holiday in Australia.