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COVID-19 dents confidence in Kiwi’s financial well-being

New Zealanders are increasingly pessimistic about their financial position as a result of COVID-19 adding pressure to their ability to cover expenses including the mortgage, education and even the family holiday.

The findings are part of the Cigna COVID-19 Global Impact Study: Resilience and Well-Being through the Pandemic examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on peoples’ well-being (both financial and personal) around the world, including New Zealand.

Cigna New Zealand Chief Executive Gail Costa says: “It’s no surprise the pandemic has impacted the economy and knocked the financial confidence of thousands of New Zealanders, which was already low by international standards.”

“In times of economic uncertainty good advice is critical to growing financial confidence. We’ll be using this research to support our customers and the Adviser community as we work together to navigate this challenging environment and support New Zealanders with quality financial advice that will protect them now and into the future.”

The 2020 study includes data collected from May to June and July to August, and will continue to be updated as the pandemic and global response evolves. To date, over 20,000 people worldwide have been surveyed.

How New Zealanders are thinking:

  • On a scale of poor, fair, good, very good, or excellent, almost half believe their financial ability to cope in an emergency or being out of work would be fair or poor.
  • A third believe they’ll change the way they manage their finances once COVID-19 is contained.
  • People have become increasingly pessimistic about their financial situation, with 41% claiming to be in a fair or poor situation in August compared to 34% in January.
  • Almost half say they’re in a fair or poor financial position to manage the impacts of the current economic environment, increasing from 41% in January to 49% in August.
  • Significantly more New Zealanders are concerned about their job stability, with those agreeing they have job stability dropping from 73% in January to 64% in August.
  • Less than half believe they’re in an excellent or very good position to pay their mortgage. This dropped from 40% in January to 31% in June, before bouncing back in early August to 38%. The next wave of this study should reveal whether confidence is affected by the resurgence of COVID-19 in New Zealand.
  • Over a third believe their ability to pay for their families’ medical needs is fair or poor.
  • Confidence in the ability to pay for their families’ education dropped. The percentage of respondents who claimed they were in a fair or poor position to pay for education increased from 29% in January to 38% in August.
  • Those who believe they are in a fair to poor position to pay for discretionary items such as hobbies and holidays significantly increased from 34% in January to 45% in August.

How do we compare internationally?

The impacts of COVID-19 on New Zealanders financial well-being fall broadly into line when compared to other international markets. Across all markets surveyed 49% of respondents

continue to have the worst possible outlook on how the economic environment will impact their financial situation and their ability to maintain current standards of living.

You can download and read the full report here.


About the Cigna COVID-19 Global Impact Study: Resilience and Well-Being through the Pandemic

This is the first Cigna COVID-19 Global Impact Study, an extension of Cigna’s annual 360 Well-Being Survey. This new Global Impact Study aims to better understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on peoples’ well-being around the world.

The Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey has been running since 2014 and reflects how consumers feel about their personal health and well-being by looking into five indices: physical, family, social, financial and work. Each index ranges from 0 – 100, with higher scores representing respondents who consider their wellbeing to be excellent and lower scores representing respondents who consider their wellbeing to be poor.

Cigna conducted the COVID-19 Global Impact Study: Resilience and Well-Being through the Pandemic in partnership with Kantar Hong Kong, a leading data, insights and consulting company. In 2020 over 20,000 people were surveyed across China, Hong Kong, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States between January and August 2020. In New Zealand, three waves of the survey were completed. For the first, pre-COVID-19 wave, 1001 nationally representative respondents took part from 10 January - 24 February. The second wave of 312 respondents were captured between 28 May - 5 June. The third wave of 300 respondents were captured between 30 July – 10 August. The results are accurate to within +/- 5.67 percentage points at the midrange of the 95% confidence interval.