Research reveals 60 percent of Kiwis regularly worry about money

The majority of Kiwis believe that money affects wellbeing, but less than a quarter consider themselves financially healthy, a new survey shows.

Research commissioned by The Financial Services Council in March shows that among 2000 Kiwis surveyed, over 60 percent worry about money on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Over three quarters (78.5 percent) rate their financial wellbeing as "very low" to "moderate."

Over three quarters (76.6 percent) of respondents also rated finances as having a more than minor influence on their wellbeing.

The highest percentage of respondents (46 percent) said finances had adversely affected their mental health, 45.8 percent said they affected relationships and 35.8 percent said they affected their physical health.

Financial Services Council chief executive, Richard Kilpin said there's a strong link between financial and general wellbeing.  

"Given that just 21 percent of respondents described their financial wellbeing as better than moderate, this suggests that money has a major impact on health and wellbeing," Kilpin said.

The research also raises concerns about lack of savings if income stops with a quarter of respondents rating themselves as not financially stable.

"70 percent of us would not be able to meet basic financial commitments such as mortgage/rent and bills beyond a short period of time if we lost our jobs. Over a third of us would not be able to last beyond a month," Kilpin added.

Almost half (43.4 percent) of those surveyed said that preparing for retirement makes financial stress worse and 49.4 percent said they might not be able to afford where they want to live. Just over half (51.1 percent) felt they weren't financially on-track for the retirement they hope for.

On a positive note, feelings about money and wellbeing didn't affect financial decision-making. Almost 80 percent said they felt "reasonably" to "extremely confident" making financial decisions. This was a likely reason behind low take-up of financial advice services.

The research was undertaken by CoreData just before the COVID-19 lockdown period. It is part of a series which looks at Kiwi attitudes towards money and how it affects decisions and wellbeing.The full Financial Services Council report is available here.