Surge In Visits To Sorted Reveals New Zealanders’ Money Worries
A sharp increase in use of the government’s money guidance service Sorted has revealed which topics are worrying New Zealanders the most during COVID-19.
The most frequently asked questions through the website sorted.org.nz concern the type of financial help available, the Government’s wage subsidy, debt repayment problems, falling KiwiSaver balances and KiwiSaver hardship applications.
Sorted editor Tom Hartmann said the service received about 80 emails a week over the past month, four times more than the same time last year, and new users of the Sorted website were up 18%. The service’s social media channels also saw a sharp rise in engagement.
The most read story on its website was a guide titled ‘COVID-19 and your money: 7 things to do right now’. A piece on KiwiSaver hardship applications was also popular, and views of a standing guide on how KiwiSaver works were up 164% on this time last year. The site’s mortgage calculator and budgeting tool also experienced high use.
Sorted had also fielded questions on what help was available for renters, small business owners and the self-employed.
The service was government-funded through the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC) to provide free, independent financial guidance through tips, guides and tools on its website, blog and social media channels. It could also be accessed through the Government’s covid19.govt.nz website.
Hartmann said it was encouraging that New Zealanders knew they could turn to Sorted for impartial financial information during this stressful time. The service was making an effort to be accessible through as many digital locations as possible, including TV, news websites and social media.
“For some, there’s an immediate impact on their finances – we can point them in the right direction for Government support and get them started on making things better for themselves and their family,” says Hartmann. “For others, it’s a time to take a breath to assess what they could do right now to protect their money from future financial shocks.”
Hartmann said New Zealanders needed access to trustworthy guidance to help them navigate this difficult period.
“We understand this is a time of great uncertainty, but people might regret rushing into decisions based on fear. We urge them to visit us at Sorted first – they can have confidence that we’re independent and have their best interests at heart. We’ll help them find a way forward that’s right for them and their family.”