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New Zealanders’ physical and financial wellness suffering

For immediate release

Wednesday 19 April 2017

New Zealanders’ physical and financial wellness suffering

Now in its third year, Cigna’s annual 360 Wellbeing Survey findings are out for 2016, and things are not as rosy as some may hope. New Zealand ranked slightly lower than the average of the 13 countries surveyed, with its overall index dropping to 61.0 against the international average of 62.3.

While not dropping to its 2014 ranking of 60.6, New Zealand’s overall position decreased year on year putting us between the UK (60.8) and Indonesia (62.8).

“What is sobering is that New Zealand’s two lowest pillars continue to be financial and physical, with those feeling the pressure the most aged 40-59,” says Suzanne de Geus, Cigna Chief Marketing Officer.

These findings have wide reaching ramifications – with New Zealanders’ feeling they have to stay focused on their current commitments, very little time is spent think or preparing for their future.

“The 2014 & 2015 surveys showed that those aged 40-49 were consistently finding things pretty tough. What is concerning is that in just 12 months this has stretched to include those aged 50-59.

It is now a much wider group that are dissatisfied with their current financial situation, with concerns about paying their mortgage, paying for their family’s education, and their financial security should they be unable to work.

And the results are interlinked, with financial pressures seeing sacrifices made that impact both family and physical pillars.

“This is reinforced in the family results, which experienced the biggest drop year on year. Sadly, concern about being able to take care of family’s financial needs means that 52 per cent don’t think they spend enough time with their family – up from 45 per cent last year.

“The impact of this on our physical wellbeing is huge. Again those aged 40-59 fare the worst, feeling the most dissatisfied with the amount and quality of sleep they get, their weight, their diet and their ability to exercise regularly. They are also concerned about their ability to take care of the children’s health and wellbeing – with 45 per cent saying they didn’t think they performed well enough.”

One of the most positive findings is that Kiwis have an exceptionally high perception of ‘old age’, which at 72 is the highest amongst the international markets surveyed.

With ‘oldness’ commonly associated with reduced physical ability, many Kiwis want to keep working because they want to feel young and active. While 68 per cent said they work because they need the money, a further 62 per cent work to stay mentally and physically active.

“Unfortunately, the result of feeling perpetually young is that we don’t prepare for retirement. Alarmingly, the survey found that less than 1 in 5 have sufficient money to retire.

“While just under half are making some form of a plan for the future, 28 per cent of those surveyed have no plan in place. Of this group, those closest to retirement are the least prepared – 30 per cent are aged 40-49 and 24 per cent aged 50-59, and 25 per cent aged over 60.”

“The survey shows us that across all ages, Kiwis think they will have time to think about the future later – however, that future is fast approaching a growing number of them.

For those over 60 things seems to be more positive. “New Zealander’s state of health rebounds after 60 with their overall score ranking higher than those aged 25-29, with their scores out-ranking all other age groups across the five pillars - physical, social, family, financial and work.

“With an aging population and an increase in the retirement age, there has never been a better time to look carefully at how we can address some of the issues raised in the survey. I hope these insights motivate New Zealanders to continue to try to prioritise their health and get the necessary plans and protection in place to give them greater peace of mind.”


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