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18 October 2021

 Pay cheque to pay cheque – half a million New Zealanders have no savings

New findings from the Consumer NZ sentiment tracker found that 15% of New Zealanders had no savings, and a further 27% were anxious about their level of savings and would like to have more tucked away.  

“Stagnant wage growth and the rising cost of living means that many people are living pay cheque to pay cheque - they just can’t get ahead. Unsurprisingly when we asked New Zealanders what they consider to be the most concerning issues, the cost of living came second only to the state of our nation's housing,” Consumer NZ head of communications and campaigns Gemma Rasmussen said.  

"Many people are struggling to put money away, with only one in four satisfied with their level of savings. Many are doing it tough - over the past three months, half of New Zealanders had saved 5% or less of their income.  

"One in 10 respondents spent more than they saved, landing themselves in the red."  

The nationally representative survey found a fifth of those aged 50-59 had no savings at all, more than any other age group. While respondents in this age group are struggling to save, their looming retirements are weighing heavily on mind. Six out of 10 noted retirement as being one of their saving priorities (along with 71% of those aged 60-69 years old).  

The standard of living for those in their 50’s and 60’s isn’t getting much better either. For both groups, only one in 10 felt their standard of living had improved over the past year. 

Earlier this year, the Sentiment Tracker revealed that rising costs have rippled into the housing market. Three out of five property owners said they’d be unable to afford to buy the homes in which they currently live.   


Our survey: The Consumer NZ Sentiment Tracker is a nationally representative body of data that grows by more than 1000 respondents every three months. Tracking everything from environmental awareness and financial sentiment to general levels of trust for major industries – it looks to provide a holistic understanding of how New Zealanders feel about a range of issues.  

Notes on our numbers: 15% of New Zealanders over age 18 equates to 527,231 people, according to 2018 New Zealand census estimates.