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Millennials Most Anxious About Post-Covid-19 Future As App Launched To Support NZers’ Wellbeing

 

As New Zealand works towards eliminating Covid-19, much of the talk so far has been about protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities. But the most vulnerable may not be who you think.

Leading New Zealand-owned life insurer Fidelity Life has partnered with global digital health company Sharecare to launch a local version of its wellbeing app, aimed at helping all New Zealanders live happier, healthier lives.

To gain a snapshot of national wellbeing, 1,000 people from around the country were surveyed by Fidelity Life and Sharecare as the lockdown came to a close. Results show no one size fits all when it comes to our experiences – and those in their 20s and 30s are most anxious about their future.

“New Zealanders have done a fantastic job banding together to fight Covid-19,” said Fidelity Life CEO Nadine Tereora. “However, the stress of an uncertain future, job losses, working from home with kids and other pressures are taking their toll. We wanted to see which parts of society will need the most help and support as we look to life post-lockdown.”

The research shows significant differences across generations when it comes to financial stress. Nearly a third of New Zealanders surveyed have money worries. The key issues are the impacts of Covid-19 on long-term job prospects, ability to pay bills and retirement savings.

However, it’s those in the Millennial age group (25 - 43 years old) who were more likely to be feeling vulnerable about their financial security (46% vs an average of 40%), stressed (53% vs an average of 39%) and more likely to say they’re unhappy (28% vs an average of 22%). Millennials are also the generation hit hardest by job losses, making up around half (49%) of those experiencing reduced hours or redundancies.

Understandably, Millennials are the most concerned about their retirement prospects, also making up half (49%) of those very worried about the prospect of an extended recession and its market impacts.

The impacts of alert level 4 on physical health were also significant, with exercise reducing during lockdown due to a “hunker down” mentality. Perhaps reasoning that everyday life was on hold during lockdown or that Covid-19 was enough to worry about, New Zealanders reported sleeping more, eating more, consuming more alcohol and smoking/vaping more - while exercising less.

Although older people are the ones most at risk from Covid-19, more than two-thirds of Baby Boomers got out for fresh air and exercise (67%), the highest of any generation.

As we come out of lockdown, Millennials (33%) and Gen X (32%) are also significantly more apprehensive about the lifting of the level 4 lockdown than Baby Boomers (26%).

“When you think about the life stage Millennials and Gen X are in, the numbers make sense. They’re the generations most likely to have young families, be in the early stages of building wealth and may not have insurance, investments or savings to fall back on.

“On the other hand, Baby Boomers, who are more likely to be empty nesters and have more wealth behind them, have not felt the same financial pressure but may have been missing their families,” said Tereora.

“Sharecare provides everyone, no matter what their situation is, with a tool that helps them live longer, healthier lives. Because we know everyone is different, they’ll get access to personalised features, content and programmes that incentivise healthy behaviours.”

Available in New Zealand for the first time, the Sharecare app has localised challenges and incentives tailored especially for New Zealanders to help monitor and improve their health. The app also includes content to help New Zealanders manage their health as they re-emerge from Covid-19 restrictions and leave lockdown habits behind.

“As we emerge from Covid-19, our relationships with our own wellbeing – from the physical to financial to social elements – are changing as we focus on recovery and resilience and move toward healthier futures.

“We are pleased that Sharecare is now available to all New Zealanders, providing them with the evidence-based tools and programmes needed to improve and manage their health, right in the palms of their hands,” said Riaan Rheeder, managing director, Sharecare Australia & New Zealand.

A key feature is the RealAge test, a clinically validated health assessment which determines biological age based on habits and lifestyle as opposed to calendar age. Customers using the app can lower their RealAge by using Sharecare content and programs to help them adhere to their medication, develop better eating habits, get more sleep and exercise or complete stress-busting activities. It’s a one-stop shop for monitoring wellbeing, and even chronic health conditions such as diabetes.

Although anyone in New Zealand can download the app for free, Fidelity Life customers, advisers and staff have access to extra features and functionality in a more personalised experience.

“Now’s a hugely important time in our history, as everyone looks to create the best possible future for themselves and for the whole community. That makes it even more exciting for us to be bringing Sharecare to New Zealand.

“Ultimately, if we can help our customers make positive changes to their health and wellbeing then that’s good for them, good for us, and good for our communities too,” Tereora said.

To download the Sharecare app Fidelity Life customers should first go to fidelitylife.sharecarenz.co.nz and follow the sign-up instructions.

Others should go to the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Key findings

Impacts on outlook

  • Millennials (33%) and Gen X (32%) are significantly more apprehensive about the lifting of the level 4 lockdown than Baby Boomers (26%). Fears include increased exposure to people, leaving lockdown too early and fear of the virus resurfacing.
  • Baby Boomers are less concerned about their future post lockdown. Just 25% ranked the Covid-19 disruption as having an impact on their future, compared to 37% of millennials.
  • Those who felt Covid-19 would adversely affect their bill payments were significantly more likely to be Millennials (41%). Those who felt they would likely have no trouble at all paying their bills were significantly more likely to be Boomers or the Silent Generation (42%).

Impacts on lifestyle

  • As would be expected, the majority of households with school-aged children are made up of Millennials (57%) and Gen X (37%), and these were also the households most likely to struggle to find a quiet and comfortable place to work.
  • Millennials were significantly more likely to have had positive experiences during lockdown (70%), in particular spending more time with their household (56%).
  • Millennials and Gen X are more likely to have increased their alcohol consumption (+19%) during lockdown.
  • More than half of all respondents said the lockdown would impact how they spend vs save.

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