Rangahau Āheinga Ahumoni Financial Capability Research
Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission's ongoing research and evaluation projects give us a deeper understanding of the level of financial capability in New Zealand, and how it compares to that of people around the world.
Our research is shared with the financial capability community through the National Strategy, enabling us to work across government and with other organisations to help enhance New Zealanders' financial capability.
Asset drawdown (decumulation) and paid work profile of Pre- and Post-Retirees
Much of the work conducted by Te Ara Ahunga Ora focuses on enabling New Zealanders to retire comfortably once they reach 65 years of age. Less well understood are the financial experiences of those nearing and past retirement age.
This research reveals more about the experiences of work, income, expenses, and financial advice among those close to retirement and those already retired. Of specific interest was how those aged 65 accessed and spent any savings and income (including Kiwisaver), referred to as ‘decumulation’.
New Zealanders' financial confidence and understanding barometer
Valuable insights on New Zealanders' financial confidence and access to financial advice is regularly gathered through surveying by TRA on behalf of Te Ara Ahunga Ora. Surveys are conducted with around 850 people a quarter and this report includes three waves of data starting in February 2021 and includes the early days of the 2021 Delta (COVID-19) situation in August.
A 'deep dive’ to analyse the current situation for Māori is also part of the report, revealing lower financial inclusion compared to non-Māori and deepening financial strain as Māori age. Across all age groups, Māori focus less on planning for retirement and more on debt management (compared to non-Māori), although Māori are more proactive than average seeking advice in older age.
Interviews with retirees on their spending habits
A series of interviews with New Zealand retirees have been conducted to provide a better understanding of what they are spending in retirement. Case studies have been developed exploring each person’s journey into retirement, including any planning they undertook prior to retirement, what day-to-day life looked like as a retired person, their current expenditure, impacts of unexpected expenses, and any advice they would give to those planning on retirement.
Findings show that many ‘sleepwalked’ into retirement, without giving financial or lifestyle planning much thought. Participants suggested that regular prompts to converse and consider retirement plans are necessary, as well as sharing sources of advice, support and case studies.
Housing experiences for New Zealand adults aged 65 years and older
This research by Massey provides insights to better understand the housing experiences of older people. The report considered the housing situation of 65–74-year-olds and the 75 years plus using data from the Health, Work and Retirement longitudinal study.
Both age groups were generally well-housed and happy in their homes. However, there was an association of poor housing conditions with poor mental health, lower quality of life, and increased falls. Poor housing conditions include lack of neighbourhood satisfaction, accessibility, and trust (in neighbours). Due to the clear pattern of relationships shown between wellbeing and housing in older age, more planning must be put into the provision of appropriate quality housing and neighbourhoods for an ageing population.
New Zealand Financial Capability Survey 2021
The latest financial capability study by Te Ara Ahunga Ora highlights the importance and power of Kiwis increasing their financial knowledge to achieve financial wellbeing. The study is a deep dive into 21 components of financial capability and looks closely at the behaviours, knowledge, and attitudes of over 3,000 New Zealanders, with a focus on Māori, Pacific, and female communities. Findings from the study will be used to inform New Zealand’s National Strategy for Financial Capability and will feed into several projects that aim to help Kiwis to manage money well.