Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


COVID-19 May Be Helping Kiwis Become Better With Money

The financial impact of COVID-19 may have a silver lining in helping some New Zealanders become better with money.

One group, however, is bucking the trend and showing signs of becoming worse.

Research undertaken by the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC) between January and June showed an upswing in most people’s knowledge and attitudes around their personal finances.

Respondents were more informed about their KiwiSaver funds, were able to save more, and more were in agreement with their partner on how to spend or save money.

Interestingly, more felt better about their financial situation, and were more confident they would have a financially comfortable retirement.

This was true for all age groups except those aged 18-34. Younger people exhibited the opposite behaviour, with the percentage agreeing that they kept a close eye on their financial affairs dropping from 78% in March-April to 70% in May-June, compared to 80% across the total population. Those who considered money was there to be spent shot up from 29% to 42%, compared to 27% of the total, and by May-June 37% agreed they tended to live for today and let tomorrow take care of itself compared to 25% of the total.

The research has been released to mark the CFFC’s annual Sorted Money Week; its theme this year is encouraging people to ask questions about money and turn to its government-backed Sorted site for independent information and tools.

Head of the CFFC, Retirement Commissioner Jane Wrightson, says the research also showed fewer people were embarrassed about talking about their finances, reflected in the flood of money questions received by Sorted since the start of lockdown.

“Many New Zealanders are feeling in the same boat due to the rise in redundancies and income loss,” says Wrightson. “Feeling comfortable talking about money and asking questions is a good thing; it’s the first step on the road to gaining the knowledge and skills to improve your financial situation long term. We’re using Money Week this year to encourage New Zealanders to keep reaching out, and providing a safe place at Sorted where they can receive answers they can trust.”

The CFFC’s financial capability Barometer survey interviewed 500 people a month over six months, then aggregated the 3000 responses into two-month blocks to detect if attitudes and knowledge around money were changing. It found the percentage of people who didn’t know which KiwiSaver fund they were in decreased from 30% in January-February to 23% in May-June.

Wrightson says the steep drop in KiwiSaver balances as the pandemic took hold globally in March may have shocked many account holders into paying attention to their fund for the first time.

“New Zealanders realised their KiwiSaver was not just a savings account, but also an investment fund, and had a crash course in how investments can ride a roller coaster depending on world events.”

The survey also found the percentage of people able to save each month rose from 49% in January-February to 54% in May-June, and more people reported having between one and three months’ worth of income to access in an emergency.

“Forced saving during lockdown allowed many of us to see how much we could save when we were spending only on essentials,” says Wrightson. “Talk of redundancies and recession probably encouraged more people to keep saving once lockdown was over.”

Getting through lockdown by spending less was probably behind the increased percentage of people who were confident they would have a financially comfortable retirement.

The percentage of people who thought NZ Super would not be enough to retire on dropped from 50% to 42%.

Wrightson said the forced saving during lockdown may also be behind the surprisingly high number of people who reported feeling better off – those who subjectively placed themselves in the highest financial wellbeing category increased to levels not seen since the Barometer survey started in 2017, rising from 46% in January-February to 52% in May-June.

“Perhaps we realised how little we could live on and still be content. Some might be in a tight financial situation, but when they compared themselves to others, and to people in countries that have not contained the pandemic, they felt better off.”

A greater percentage also felt in control of their financial situation most or all of the time. Wrightson said having a sense of financial control contributed to wellbeing.

It was concerning, however, that young people reported their spending and financial behaviour had deteriorated after lockdown in contrast to the rest of the population.

“This may be a reflection of younger workers bearing the brunt of job losses and income reduction. Their ‘live for today’ attitude is likely coming from the current uncertainty. It’s important we recognise this and help younger New Zealanders imagine a better future for themselves.”

She hoped this year’s Money Week theme would encourage people to continue asking questions about money, take a long-term view and talk with their partners and wider family about topics such as KiwiSaver, spending plans and tackling debt.

Impartial information, guides and tools could be found at

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Contact: Business Drops, New Generation On Hold

New Zealand’s second-largest energy company Contact Energy (‘Contact’) released its full year financial results for the 12 months to 30 June 2020 (‘FY20’) this morning. More>>

Mining: OceanaGold Announces Receipt Of WKP Mining Permit

MELBOURNE, Australia, Aug. 6, 2020 /CNW/ - OceanaGold Corporation (TSX: OGC) (ASX: OGC) (the 'Company') is pleased to announce it has received the mining permit for Wharekirauponga ('WKP') on the North Island of New Zealand. ... More>>


Economy: COVID-19 Lockdown Has Widespread Effects On Labour Market

In the June 2020 quarter, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.0 percent, down from 4.2 percent last quarter, while underutilisation rose, Stats NZ said today. More>>


NZ Post: New Research By NZ Post Shows Online Shopping Grew 105% In Alert Level 3

New research by NZ Post into how the COVID-19 response has impacted the way Kiwis shop online, shows online shopping increased 105%* when the country moved into Alert Level 3, and may have changed the way Kiwis shop permanently. Online spend peaked ... More>>


Banking: Westpac NZ Lowers Merchant Fees For Small Businesses

Westpac NZ is rolling out a new merchant fee pricing structure that will lead to cost savings for more than 10,000 small and medium Kiwi businesses, and could make contactless transactions more widely available for customers. On 1 September, most ... More>>

REINZ: Million Dollar Plus Property Sales Increase 11.7% Nationally

The number of properties sold around the country for one million dollars or more during the first half (H1) of 2020 increased by 11.7% compared to H1 2019, with 5,426 million-dollar plus properties sold (up from 4,858 in H1 2019) according to the Real ... More>>

Antarctica NZ: Ice-Olation

Antarctica New Zealand is gearing up for a much reduced season on the ice this year and a very different deployment to normal! Before they head to one of the remotest places on the planet, all personnel flying south with the New Zealand programme will ... More>>


QV Valuations: July House Price Index Illustrates Market Resilience

According to the July 2020 QV House Price Index (HPI) results out today , property values recorded a marginal increase, up 0.2% over the month. This is somewhat of a turnaround from June, after the national index edged 0.2% lower. More>>


Property: Queenstown Rents Experience Biggest Drop In Seven Years

Rental prices in the Queenstown-Lakes district saw the biggest annual percentage drop in seven years after falling 28 per cent on June last year, according to the latest Trade Me Rental Price Index. Trade Me Property spokesperson Aaron Clancy said ... More>>

Seismology: The Quiet Earth

As many daily activities came to a halt during lockdown, the Earth itself became quiet, probably quieter than it has been since humans developed the technology to listen in. Seismologists have analysed datasets from more than 300 international ... More>>

RNZ: James Shaw Says Kiwibank, Not Ministers Should Decide On Investors

Climate Change Minister James Shaw says Kiwibank's decision to stop doing business with companies dealing in fossil fuels is the right one. More>>


FMA: Kiwis Confident Financial Markets Will Recover From COVID-19, Plan To Increase Investments

Despite the majority (60%) of investors experiencing losses as a result of COVID-19, the outlook on investing remains positive, according to a Financial Markets Authority (FMA) survey. Most Kiwis (71%) were optimistic that the pandemic will pass eventually ... More>>

FIRST Union: Warehouse Using Covid For Cover As Extensive Restructure Makes Everyone Worse Off

(FIRST Union comments on The Warehouse consultation and proposed restructure) 'Unfortunately the Warehouse have done the disappointing thing and used Covid-19 to justify a bunch of operational business decisions that will leave hundreds of workers without jobs ... More>>