New Zealanders’ financial resilience shines through tough times

The latest round from the Financial Services Council’s Financial Resilience Index shows that despite the last six months being one of the most challenging periods in recent history, New Zealanders have remained remarkably resilient and confident when it comes to financial matters.

The Financial Resilience Index is a major tracking survey of New Zealanders’ views on five key financial resilience indicators; financial confidence, literacy and preparedness, job security and wellbeing.

The final survey in the three-part series was undertaken between 6-7 August and compares to earlier data collected in March and April. It was launched on Thursday morning at the FSC’s Annual Conference.

“The responses in early August show that after initial uncertainty Kiwis remained resilient throughout this unprecedented period, from the introduction of Covid-19, to living in lockdown, right through to the return to Alert Level One,” says Richard Klipin, FSC Chief Executive.

“Despite these dramatic changes, New Zealanders continued to have incredible financial confidence, with around 72% of respondents still feeling reasonably, very or extremely confident when it came to their finances.

“It’s encouraging that most respondents also continue to feel secure in their jobs, with around 80% of respondents feeling some level of security in their current employment. This indicates that while some sectors have been hit hard, there is not a wholesale fear of job losses.

“However, overall wellbeing is getting worse, with just over 54% of respondents saying they have been adversely affected in the period between March to August, while 60% now worry about money regularly; either monthly, weekly or daily.

“On the positive though we’ve seen a slight increase of 6% in people who have household investments, suggesting that there has been a small but promising change in spending habits, and a shift to saving.

“The Financial Resilience Index has shown us that while the health of New Zealanders’ resilience remains intact, there is an underlying anxiety about money issues, that is in turn affecting our well-being.

“While we should lean on and be proud of our resilience, it’s crucial that we also continue to open up the conversation and focus on the issues that are affecting our overall wellbeing.

“Financial resilience in isolation is not of much use – it needs to go hand-in-hand with more general wellbeing and collectively we can do better in recognising this.

“As a nation we’ve done a great job over the last six months dealing with the health, economic, and social challenges of Covid-19 but there are clearly significant ongoing challenges.

“We hope that this research will help build a better understanding of these and how New Zealanders have felt during this time and how we can collectively work to help New Zealanders continue to improve their financial resilience and overall wellbeing in the future,” concluded Klipin.

The Financial Resilience Index can be found here.

The Financial Resilience Index is a tracking survey of New Zealanders’ views on five key financial resilience indicators carried out by CoreData. The first rounds of the Index looked at how these views changed from March 2020 to April 2020 and this third and final round was collected between 6-7 August 2020. A total of 1,000 valid complete responses were collected in the August round. The sample is representative of the New Zealand consumer population in terms of age, gender and income based on the latest Stats NZ data.