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TikTok Teaches Kiwi Youth More About Money Than School

Young Kiwis are getting more information on personal finance from social media sites such as TikTok than they do from school.

New independent research from BetterSaver surveyed 16-24-year-olds to better understand their knowledge when it comes to financial literacy.

A whopping 90% of youth think that school should teach them more about personal finance and money management. Nearly 40% also want to learn more about money and finances, but don’t know where to start.

Joe Taylor, BetterSaver founder and CEO, says New Zealand schools need to do better.

“We cannot leave our young adults in the dark to figure out what financial advice is good or bad. We trust schools to set our children up for success, but our research findings show that’s not the case when it comes to financial matters.

“Financial education should be easy, and the foundations should be laid at school. The fact that we’ve got young people relying on TikTok, Instagram and other social media ahead of the schooling system shows we’ve got some serious leg work to do.”

The research also uncovers topics young Kiwis want to learn more about at school, with 90% wanting to learn more about budgeting and planning your money. Other topics they wish were covered includes making investment choices and understanding risk (52.5%), and how KiwiSaver works (66.2%).

Shockingly, when asked how to define compound interest, more than half young Kiwis couldn’t define it accurately. Three in five young Kiwis also don’t understand that diversification decreases investment risks, which has a huge impact on people’s ability to decide what KiwiSaver fund they want to be in.

“We’ve got to set young Kiwis up for financial success. It doesn’t happen by accident. Financial literacy is something we can teach, and it’s something we can simply step people through the basics.

“Our goal is to educate young adults about KiwiSaver by providing sound financial advice and empower them to make smart financial decisions beyond KiwiSaver once they understand the possibilities,” Joe concludes.


About BetterSaver

BetterSaver’s advice platform is designed to put Kiwis in the fund that best aligns with their ethics, risk portfolio, and life stage. It’s free to go through BetterSaver’s Fund Finder advice process, and the digital platform makes it easy for Kiwis to identify which best fund meets their needs, and then make the switch. Learn more at

About the research

Pure Profile conducted a representative survey of 204 young New Zealanders between the ages of 16-24. The survey was conducted from 30 July – 3 August 2021 to better understand how young adults think about personal finance and their financial literacy.

---------------------------------------------------The survey data ---------------------------------------------------


  • Financial Habits & Attitudes
  • KiwiSaver Uses & Knowledge
  • Financial Literacy Questions

Financial Habits & Attitudes

Where do you get your information on money and personal finance from?

Value Percent 
Parents 82.80%
Other family members, including your partner 30.90%
Friends 27.50%
School 19.10%
Mainstream media including online news, radio, and tv 27.50%
Social media including YouTube and TikTok 26.50%
Online resources including Podcasts 23.50%
Books including e-books 11.80%
Other (Please specify) 2.90%

How frequently do you seek information on money and personal finance?

Value Percent 
All the time 9.30%
On a regular basis / very often 27.50%
Not very often 39.70%
Only when I need to 20.60%
Never 2.90%

Why do you seek information on money and personal finance?

Value Percent 
To keep myself informed 55.10%
When I need financial advice to open an account, make a loan or investment etc 41.40%
To help with budgeting or saving 71.70%
When I hear others talk about finance and related topics 25.30%
Other (Please specify) 0.50%

Would you like to learn more about money and finances?

Value Percent 
No, it’s too complex (or boring) and I’m not interested 5.40%
No, I feel like I know enough about money for my current life stage 19.60%
No, someone else looks after my money for me 2.50%
Yes, but I don’t know where to start 39.70%
Yes, and I am actively talking to people and seeking advice 26.50%
I’m not sure 6.40%

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

Value Strongly agree Agree



DisagreeStrongly disagree 
If I need help managing my money, I know where to go to get it 7.4% 55.4% 22.1% 13.2% 2.0% 
I think New Zealand schools should teach more about personal finance and money management 45.6% 44.6% 8.3% 1.5% 0
I think the average Kiwi has to rely on their family money to buy their first home 25.0% 38.7% 27.9% 6.9% 1.5% 
Managing money well is something you can learn 30.4% 60.8% 8.3% 0.5% 0
Self-control is more important than knowledge when it comes to managing money 15.2% 48.0% 29.9% 6.9% 0
I feel confident talking about money 10.8% 42.2% 28.9% 16.7% 1.5% 
People should have an emergency saving fund 35.3% 53.9% 8.8% 2.0% 0
I can confidently make a budget to track what I spend 18.6% 43.1% 21.6% 14.2% 2.5% 
I don’t think about money much, I just take it as it comes 6.9% 24.5% 28.4% 29.9% 10.3% 
Better to live in the moment than worry about tomorrow 4.4% 19.1% 27.9% 38.7% 9.8% 
Things always work out in the end when it comes to money 5.9% 19.6% 35.3% 34.8% 4.4% 
I feel more confident navigating social media than I do filing my tax return 34.8% 35.8% 20.1% 5.9% 3.4%

Which of the following actions, if any, have you taken in the last 12 months?

Value Percent 
Checked your current account balance 88.20%
Checked your bank statement 62.30%
Put money into a savings account 81.90%
Withdrew money from a savings account 61.30%
Put money into a KiwiSaver account 53.40%
Spoken to a friend or family member about managing your money 53.40%
Made a budget to manage your spending 44.60%
Used an app to help you manage your money 17.20%
Searched online for information about managing your money 22.10%
Used an overdraft 6.90%
Used investment apps like hatch / Sharesies 20.10%
Purchased shares through brokers 3.40%
Invested in cryptocurrency. 5.40%
Used a credit card to pay for essentials 16.20%
Purchased land/property 2.50%
Sought advice from a financial adviser 2.90%
None of the above 2.00%

Which of the following topics, if any, do you think New Zealand schools should teach more about?

Value Percent 
Budgeting and planning your money 90.20%
Short-term savings 41.20%
Making investment choices and understanding risk 52.50%
Using credit such as credit cards and loans and Buy Now Pay Later 44.10%
Saving for a house deposit 63.70%
Saving for retirement 42.20%
Cryptocurrency 17.60%
How KiwiSaver works 66.20%
The best KiwiSaver fund for your lifestyle 42.20%
Other (Please specify) 0.50%
None of these/Not sure 3.40%

KiwiSaver Uses & Knowledge

Do you plan to purchase a house in the future?

Value Percent 
Yes, I am currently looking to purchase 7.40%
Yes, in the next 10 years 46.60%
Maybe, in 10 years or more 26.00%
No, I don’t think I’ll be able to purchase a house for myself 6.40%
I already own a house 3.40%
Not sure 10.30%

How do you think you will pay for a house deposit?

Value Percent 
With savings 74.20%
With KiwiSaver 72.40%
With help from family 41.70%
Inheritance 12.90%
Other 4.90%
Don’t know 8.60%

How do you plan to fund your retirement in the future?

Value Percent 
KiwiSaver 68.60%
Government money (superannuation/pension) 38.20%
Savings 51.50%
Investments 28.90%
Sell my house or other significant assets 9.80%
Other 2.50%
Don’t know 17.20%

Do you have KiwiSaver?

Value Percent 
Yes 77.90%
No 21.60%
Don’t know 0.50%

Have you ever switched KiwiSaver funds or providers?

Value Percent 
Yes 28.30%
No 71.70%

Why did you change KiwiSaver funds or providers?

Value Percent 
I changed my main bank 26.70%
My new provider provides better returns 40.00%
My new provider charges less in fees 35.60%
My new provider aligns better with my ethics 13.30%
Other 20.00%

How much money do you think you need to save for your retirement?

Value Percent 
Less than $50,000 4.90%
Between $50,000 - $99,999 9.80%
Between $100,000 - $249,000 9.30%
$250,000 - $499,000 10.80%
$500,000 - $749,000 12.70%
$750,000 - $999,999 7.80%
$1 million - $2 million 15.70%
More than $2 million 3.90%
Don’t know 25.00%

Financial Literacy Questions

Which of these statements do you think are true or false about KiwiSaver?

Value TrueFalse 
All employed Kiwis must contribute to KiwiSaver 36.8% 63.2% 
When you first join KiwiSaver, you are put in a default fund with your everyday bank 59.3% 40.7% 
You can change your KiwiSaver provider whenever you want 91.7% 8.3% 
I think KiwiSaver will be able to support me in retirement 63.7% 36.3% 
The Government contributes to your KiwiSaver every year 83.3% 16.7% 
Your employer contributes to your KiwiSaver alongside your own contributions 94.1% 5.9% 
You can take a break from regular KiwiSaver contributions 77.0% 23.0% 
You can make voluntary payments to KiwiSaver 90.7% 9.3% 
KiwiSaver balances always go up, never down 19.6% 80.4%

What is most important to you when considering making an investment or deciding on a KiwiSaver fund provider? Order the below from most to least important, where 1 is the most important and 3 is the least important:

What is your understanding of how compound interest works?

Value Percent 
Compound interest is calculated only on the principal amount or the principal amount that remains over time 11.80%
Compound interest is calculated on the total amount of principal and interest accumulated over time 44.60%
Don’t know 43.60%

Order the below types of KiwiSaver funds in terms of risk level, starting with lowest risk Where 1 is the lowest risk and 4 is the highest risk:

When money is invested across multiple assets such as stocks, managed funds and bonds, compared to just one type of asset type, do you think the risk portfolio…

Value Percent 
Increases 39.20%
Decreases 40.70%
Remains the same 20.10%

---------------------------------------------------Survey data Ends---------------------------------------------------

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