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Money Does Matter

Money Does Matter

Young New Zealanders are increasingly feeling the pressure of managing their money while the general perception in New Zealand is that the gap between the rich and the poor is widening, according to a new TOWER/NFO NZ survey, What Worries New Zealanders?

The nationwide survey reveals that 53% of people aged between 25 and 34 years are more worried about money than five years ago while 80% of New Zealanders believe there is an increasing gap between the rich and the poor.

TOWER Insurance, Head of Sales and Marketing, Henry Lynch, said TOWER commissioned NFO New Zealand to undertake the survey in order to identify issues weighing on people’s minds, measure the extent of these concerns, and improve understanding about the impact of these issues on New Zealanders and their families.

Of the 500 people surveyed over the telephone during April 2003, 85% of those aged between 25 and 34 years sometimes or frequently worry about money compared with 5% who never worry. Of young adults aged between 18 to 24 years, the group most likely to contain tertiary education students, 75% sometimes or frequently worry about money, Mr Lynch said.

“In fact, young people frequently worry about money almost as much as older people while the research confirms that people with families worry about money more frequently than people without children. Around 45% of families frequently worry about money compared with 28% of older households with no children. The cost of sending children to school was a major concern expressed by 40% of families,” he said.

The survey, which covered adults aged 18 and over, asked if people had enough money to “buy things for themselves?” Around 30% responded that they were finding it hard to “make ends meet, financially” although another 40% said they were “comfortable”.

“While 43% of New Zealanders worry about paying their mortgage or rent, and bills, more than 70% [72%] rarely worry about losing their job.”

Mr Lynch said the TOWER/NFO NZ survey also revealed gender differences when it came to financial worries. Women generally worry more about money than men with almost a quarter of all women [22%] worrying about money all the time, compared with 11% of men. However, 16% of women never worry about money compared with 11% of men. On a regional basis, rural South Islanders worry more about money than other New Zealanders and rural dwellers are more likely to worry about money than those in urban areas. Explanations for this included that rural dwellers didn’t earn “enough money to pay the bills”, although people living in rural areas are less worried about work related issues such as job security, he said.

“Overall, a large number of people [56%] worry about making the best choices on how to use their money, suggesting that there is a big market for financial planners who are able to build respect through providing solid financial advice.

“On the other side of the coin, there is still a large number of optimists in New Zealand with 33% of men and 23% of women hardly ever or never worrying about money,” Mr Lynch said.

“This is a worry for the youth of today who will be the taxpayers of tomorrow because there is a possibility that these optimists will become a financial burden on the state during their twilight years,” he said.

“This fear was highlighted in the survey results which revealed that young people are more worried about their parents than their parents are about them and that reasons for this include money-related worries.

“Under the current superannuation regime that places an onus on individuals to save for old age, and in light of the trend for people to live longer, those with a carefree attitude towards financial planning cannot expect a high quality of life during their twilight years,” Mr Lynch said.

Apart from money, the survey also asked questions about family, health, work and time.

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