A survey of around 1000 New Zealanders over the age of 18 undertaken on behalf of the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income in May this year shows some interesting statistics about how people use their money. These surveys have been undertaken every six months since November 2011 and show fairly consistent results.
Spending and Debt
Only fifty six percent of people spend less than they earn. We are still great users of credit, with twenty one percent of people having a retail purchase agreement. However, we are reasonably responsible with debt given that ninety five percent of those who repaid their purchase agreements in the last year did so within the interest free period. Of those with credit cards, fifty eight percent pay them off each month.
More than two thirds of people say they have access to three months of income as an emergency fund, and seventy one percent of people have put money into savings within the last three months. However, the focus is on short term savings, with only twenty nine percent saving for long term goals. Only fifty one percent of people contributed to KiwiSaver in the last three months.
KiwiSaver is the most popular form of investment, with fifty three percent of people surveyed being members. Around two thirds of people have other investments, with thirty one percent having bank term deposits, eighteen percent having managed funds, eighteen percent investing in property, twenty percent investing in shares, sixteen percent investing in their own business, and eighteen percent investing in some other way.
These statistics are useful to compare your own financial behaviour with the rest of the population, however there is considerable room for improvement for everybody when it comes to saving, especially long term saving and membership of KiwiSaver.