Half of New Zealanders are deeply anxious about savings, or have nothing tucked away
Our latest Sentiment Tracker has found 65% of New Zealanders save less than 5% of their income or nothing at all, raising concerns about saving levels.
“Half the population is either anxious about their level of savings, or have none to speak of, which is the highest level of concern that we've seen in two years,” said Gemma Rasmussen, Consumer NZ Head of Research and Advocacy.
“It's expected this situation will worsen with more than four in 10 New Zealanders anticipating their savings will decline in the coming year.”
People’s standard of living is also impacted.
“About a third of New Zealanders said their standard of living had declined compared with a year ago,” said Rasmussen.
Ashley*, the mother of a 3-year-old boy, is struggling with the ongoing high cost of living. Although she earns over $120k, after leaving an unhealthy relationship, she is feeling financial strain.
“I earn good money but with mortgage, daycare, insurances, living expenses and so on, I’m struggling to save - let alone replace insulation and a dodgy shower. I don’t meet eligibility for any support - and I’m worried about having a slush fund for emergencies.
“Twelve months ago, I was financially privileged. I had thousands in savings. Now I can only dream of saving $200 a fortnight,” said Ashley.
Being unable to save is now the reality for many New Zealanders. This has coincided with an increase in the number of people using Buy Now Pay Later services.
“Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) is surging in popularity, with users of the service jumping from 23% to 29% of the population in a year.
“Our latest banking survey found more than 40% of BNPL users were using the service to pay for essentials, like groceries.
“Households with incomes less than $50k are more likely to use BNPL to cover the cost of essentials.
"Spending on essential items like bills, groceries and fuel is now taking a broader chunk of paychecks with many New Zealanders racking up debt just to get by,” said Rasmussen.
Our Sentiment Tracker findings illustrate how this cost-of-living crisis is hitting people right now.