Covid shakes financial confidence of millennials

New research reveals Kiwis are increasingly worried about their financial health, with millennials feeling most concerned.

The latest Financial Resilience Index shows 77 per cent of New Zealanders under 37 years of age now worry about money daily, weekly or monthly.

But research shows that financial worry is growing across the board after a relatively stable period through the peak of the pandemic last year.

Produced by the Financial Services Council with research by CoreData, the index was launched in March last year, with snapshots taken in April 2020 and August 2020.

The Index surveys 2000 Kiwis’ views on five financial resilience indicators: confidence; literacy; preparedness; job security; and wellbeing.

“The impacts of Covid continue to be felt as New Zealanders adapt to a new reality. We survived Covid but it has come at a cost, especially for younger Kiwis,” says FSC CEO Richard Klipin.

That trend result were alarming and concerning, said Richard Klipin chief executive officer Financial Services Council of New Zealand.

New Zealand had shown strong economic resilience in New Zealand through the pandemic, but there was a disproportionate price being paid by younger New Zealanders, he said.

The reasons were varied, but they likely to included concern over the ability to
purchase a first home and the stress of taking on a significant mortgage debt in order to get on the property ladder, Klipin said.

“A lot financial security comes from having a roof over your head and when prices are pumped 20-30 per cent in year that goal gets further away and that creates a stress.”

While money worries were most apparent in younger generations, Gen X and Baby Boomers weren’t spared, and were worrying about money more now than they did a year ago,” he said.

Broadly the trend across the past year had shown financial confidence had risen through the pandemic to August before declining in this latest survey.

The one area that was demonstrating resilience was job security, which is higher now than it was last year.

“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 said.

That was great news, he said.

Feelings of preparedness for retirement had remained stable however, with only 44 per cent of New Zealanders feeling they were financially prepared for retirement.

“In addition, financial confidence has decreased, overall financial literacy has dropped and the impact of financial issues on our physical and mental health, and on our relationships, is on the rise,” Klipin said.

More than 55 per cent of respondents said that financial issues have adversely affected their overall wellbeing.

Another worrying trend was that Kiwis’ confidence in their own financial literacy seemed to be waning, having peaked during the pandemic, he said.

“It’s about making decisions,” Klipin said. “When it’s all uncertain, you freeze and you don’t make any decisions.”

We had seen that last year with the flight to cash at the peak of the Covid crisis, which was the wrong call, he said.

“I think that anxiety is playing through.”

For this research a total of 2035 valid complete responses were collected by Core Databetween April 15 and 26, 2021. The sample is representative of the New Zealand consumer population in terms of age, gender and income based on the latest Stats NZ data.

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