Cost of living: 70 percent of Kiwis worry about money regularly, new research shows

A whopping 70 percent of New Zealanders worry about money regularly, new research shows.   

The Financial Services Council's (FSC) latest Financial Resilience Index tracker reveals the number of Kiwis stressed about money is the highest it has been in more than three years.   

It found 70 percent of Kiwis worry about money daily, weekly, or monthly - the highest since 2020.   

It also found 89.6 percent of New Zealanders are concerned about inflation and 75.6 percent are concerned about interest rates.   

It comes as Kiwis' confidence in their job security is waning, painting a grim economic picture  

The figures show 85 percent of people are confident in their job security, down from a high of 89 percent in 2023.   

Debt is also causing concern with the number of respondents with personal debt up 6 percent from last year.   

There has also been an increase in the number of people who have one month or less of savings to maintain their current lifestyle if they lose their job.   

Meanwhile, it's not just people with mortgages who are feeling the pressure, close to 60 percent of renters said meeting their living expenses is currently somewhat or very difficult.   

Retirees are also feeling the pinch with one fifth saying they only have enough savings to maintain their current lifestyle for less than a year.  

FSC CEO Richard Klipin said the research shows people are feeling increasing financial pressure as the cost-of-living crisis drags on.   

"This latest research shows many New Zealanders are increasingly under pressure, making dealing with the daily stresses and strains of the cost-of-living crisis extremely difficult," Kiplin said.   

He added job security dropping is also playing a part in Kiwis' increasing concern about finances.   

"Job security is key to financial security but with unemployment on the rise and job security declining, 70 percent of us are now worrying about money daily, weekly, or monthly, up from 60 percent in 2020."   

Kiplin said the research highlights most homeowners are keeping their head above water, but there is a real strain on renters who are finding it more difficult to pay their bills.  

"Whilst homeowners are under stress with mortgage rate increases, we are still seeing the younger generations and renters disproportionally bearing the burden of this economic cycle," he said.   

"Despite these challenges, it pays to remember that the markets fluctuate and undergo cycles. Whilst things might be challenging right now, eventually the pendulum will swing the other way.   

"The sector stands ready to help, and we urge anyone that is in difficulty to speak to their providers, a financial adviser or one of the many helplines available who will be able to help."  

The FSC's top tips for people struggling financially are:   

You are not alone:  

Pick up the phone to your providers or seek help from an adviser, things may be tough, but they can help to put a plan in place to ease the financial burden and plot a path for the coming months.  

Health check your outgoings:  

Many are finding it hard to put money aside, with things to pay for today at odds with putting savings away for the unexpected. Check your bank account, income, and outgoings to see if there is anything you are paying for you no longer use or need in the short-term.   

Talk to someone about debt, sooner rather than later:  

Speak to your whānau and friends or others that can help. For example, MoneyTalks (0800 345 123) offers a free service for those needing help with day-to-day money matters such as managing debt or budgeting, and DebtFix (0800 3328 101) offers free advice and provides options to help you manage debt.