Over three-quarters of young Kiwis worry about money, survey shows

Research commissioned by the Financial Services Council in April shows a disproportionate number of young people worry about money regularly.
Research commissioned by the Financial Services Council in April shows a disproportionate number of young people worry about money regularly. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Over three-quarters of young Kiwis worry about money regularly, new survey figures show.

Research commissioned by The Financial Services Council in April shows that among 2035 Kiwis surveyed, 77 percent aged under 37 worry about money on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. 

Over half (54.6 percent) said financial concerns had affected their mental health, 51.2 percent said these concerns affected relationships with family and/or friends and 40.1 percent said their physical health had been affected. These measures were higher than in March, April and August, 2020.  

Generation Y (people aged up to 37) and Generation X (people aged 38-52) worried about money the most, with just over one-quarter of each age group (27.4 percent and 26.9 percent respectively) worrying on a daily basis.

Financial Services Council chief executive Richard Kilpin said although the overall results indicate Kiwis' strong financial resilience during COVID-19, the adverse impact on millennials, considered to be at the earlier stages of their professional and family lives, is higher than others.

"The reasons for this will be diverse, but are likely to include concern over the ability to purchase a first home, the stress of taking on a significant mortgage debt in order to get on the property ladder and general worry about providing for a family, job security and saving for the future," Kilpin said.

Baby Boomers (ages 53-72) worried more about money than a year ago, with 17.6 percent worrying daily, up from 10.8 percent in April 2020. This was also the case for Generation  X.

The survey found a strong link between money and wellbeing, with over half of respondents (55.6 percent) saying they'd been adversely affected by money worries. This flowed through to general wellbeing, feelings about the world and achievement of goals.

Across all age groups, job security was slightly higher than a year ago, with 34.9 percent of respondents feeling 'reasonably secure', up from 32.4 percent the same time last year. Those who 'worry always' about job security dropped from 8.8 percent the previous year, to 7.2 percent.

"Comparing data from April 2021 with April last year, we can see that job security is slowly rising, reflecting recent unemployment figures and economic growth forecasts," Klipin added.

Asked about retirement, 44 percent considered themselves prepared. Just under a quarter (23.6 percent) of respondents felt they were 'not prepared at all', almost equal with 23.2 percent in April 2020.

Kilpin said results underpin other data indicating expectations around lifestyle in retirement are disproportionate to savings. 

Latest quarterly KiwiSaver figures show the average member balance is $25,862. 

"There's a yawning gap between people saving for retirement compared to the kind of lifestyle they expect to have in retirement," Kilpin said.

The survey also found that compared to the same time last year, slightly fewer people (2.7 percent less) had household investments.

The Financial Resilience Index is an online survey commissioned by the Financial Services Council. The series, which started in March 2020, tracks Kiwis' views towards money and how decisions and wellbeing are affected.