Financial wellbeing is an important contributor to overall health and wellbeing and has a major influence over the lives of every New Zealander. The ability to manage unexpected expenses, achieve our goals and have the freedom to make the choices we want in life all depend on our level of financial wellbeing.
Every one of us benefits in an environment that encourages and supports people’s financial wellbeing, whether this be on an individual, whānau, business, or societal level. As we move into a period of economic uncertainty in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that we have data capturing how New Zealanders are feeling about their finances.
The data captured in this report compares June 2019 with December 2019. The results show that going into the COVID-19 crisis, 56% of New Zealanders felt they had the financial resilience to cope with a significant expense or loss of income. COVID-19 will have an economic impact larger than most people would have anticipated when answering the question. The next set of data, which will be provided in late 2020, will show how well New Zealanders actually fared through this period and provide important information about our financial resilience.
Financial wellbeing is an area that we have long recognised we play an important role in, and one of the ways that we can demonstrate our commitment to this cause is through the introduction of the ANZ Financial Wellbeing Indicator (FWI).
We hope that the ANZ FWI will become an important, statistically robust six-monthly snapshot of the personal financial wellbeing of New Zealanders. The report is informed by data from the weekly Roy Morgan Single Source survey of 7,000 New Zealanders.
ANZ New Zealand has partnered with Roy Morgan to replicate key financial wellbeing questions from our 2017 ANZ Financial Wellbeing Survey. We have committed to further evolving our understanding of financial wellbeing through a full academic survey every three years, ensuring our approach is up-to-date and considering the latest international thinking on the subject of financial wellbeing.
We see the ANZ FWI playing a unique role in tracking financial wellbeing over time and highlighting potential areas where greater action could be taken to improve financial wellbeing. This indicator will provide time series data on a previously untracked dimension of how New Zealanders are faring. It will complement existing measures such as the ANZ Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Rating, and triangulate with other relevant data sources such as the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) and Stats NZ on lending and savings behaviour.
The Roy Morgan Single Source survey enables us to amplify the results of our 2017 survey and examine financial wellbeing at a much more granular level. This allows us access to important new insights across local geographies and for different population demographics.
Key summary insights from the ANZ FWI will continue to be published every six months. This initial report sets out the context of ANZ’s previous financial wellbeing research, the methodology for development of the ANZ FWI, and a range of key insights arising from the time-series data.
Future instalments will focus on emerging issues of interest to assist policy-makers, businesses, and civil society to closely monitor macro-economic impacts and develop appropriate actions to build the financial wellbeing of individuals and the nation.