New Zealand: More than four in five women deem their financial well-being as very low to moderate

| 11 Jan 2022

Over 80% of female respondents to a survey on finances consider their financial well-being as moderate to very low and over 65% consider the same about their overall wellbeing, according to a study by the Financial Services Council (FSC).

Just under 64% of female respondents worry about money at least monthly and over 70% feel that financial wellbeing influences their overall well-being, said the report on the study, titled "Money and You – Women and Financial Wellbeing" in New Zealand.

The FSC found that more than 60% of female respondents said they worry about money daily, weekly or monthly, and a similar proportion (62%) of female respondents said they did not feel prepared for retirement. The study noted that money worries tended to decrease with age.

“This report is the first time we’ve shone a light on gender and financial wellbeing in New Zealand, following the recent launch of the FSC’s diversity and inclusion initiative with the campaign #itstartswithaction and our commitment to support Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission's National Strategy for Financial Capability,” said the report.

The field research was undertaken in April 2021 with just over 2,000 New Zealand respondents and the subsequent report reveals four key areas of discovery:

  • Firstly, despite female respondents rating their financial confidence and wellbeing lower than male respondents, research in the sector shows women are engaged with budgeting, saving and investing, pointing to a potential gap between their perception of their financial confidence and the reality.
  • Secondly, women tend to be more risk-averse when it comes to money. This research indicates a comparative cautiousness in their likelihood to invest through newer digital platforms and riskier investments such as cryptocurrency.
  • The third area highlights issues around the suitability of KiwiSaver and other financial products for those with interrupted, part-time or self-employed work. Women tend to have more interrupted working lives, with many taking the role of primary carer for children and extended family. This begs the question: are savings products geared up to enable a level playing field for all?
  • The final area of discovery is the ongoing and often reported issue of the gender pay (and savings) gap. This research highlights that the gap can be driven because of several reasons including lower salaries and the structure of household finances. Reduced retirement savings result from interrupted work patterns leading to lower employer and employee contributions, and impact women's preparedness for retirement – especially if widowed or separated from a partner.