One in three New Zealanders have less than $1,000 saved and four out of 10 Kiwis don’t have any savings goals, according to a survey.

Key findings include:

  • 18% of New Zealanders are struggling to make ends meet and another 49% are less well off than they would like.
  • 48% of New Zealanders at least sometimes spend more than they earn.
  • 34% have less than $1,000 in savings and 60% have less than $5,000.
  • 11% don’t have any savings.
  • 42% have no savings goal.
  • 43% rate their financial knowledge as poor or only fair.
  • 72% believe it would be beneficial to improve their financial knowledge.
  • 75% of people prefer to get financial information and education online.
  • 48% of people are in KiwiSaver.
  • 22% of people have cash saved at home.

Westpac General Manager Consumer Banking and Wealth Simon Power says the survey findings are revealing.

“These findings are fairly stark - some New Zealanders are saving really well, but a lot of us could be doing better.

“We’re keen to front foot that conversation with New Zealanders. It’s critical that people set a budget, pay off debt and set some savings goals.

“A good place to start is our website where we’ve got a range of information on budgeting and saving, including a new series of digital video tutorials.”

Power says the fact that around three quarters of New Zealanders wanted to improve their financial knowledge was very positive, as was the high take up of KiwiSaver, which had multiple benefits.

“KiwiSaver helps people save for retirement, it teaches the power of compounding interest and it exposes them to shares and other assets they may not normally invest in.

“It also gives people a stake in New Zealand. By investing through KiwiSaver they are helping build an investment pool that will strongly support the New Zealand economy for the future.”

One of the surprise findings of the survey was that over one in five New Zealanders save cash at home.

“I’d encourage them to put their money in a bank, so it is secure and they can gain the benefit of compounding interest,” Power says.

The Westpac video tutorials released this week cover budgeting and saving, buying a house and money basics for kids.

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