14 Aug 2017

Survey reveals New Zealanders' anxiety over debt

6:33 am on 14 August 2017

Debt weighs heavily on many New Zealanders' minds, a new survey says.

Retirement commissioner Diane Maxwell on TV3's AM show.

Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell Photo: screenshot

The survey of about 1000 people, conducted by the Commission for Financial Capability, found that more than half those questioned strongly disagreed with the statement: "I have debt but I don't really think about it that much."

Debt-to-income levels reached a new record high earlier this year, with the average household owing about 1.7 times what it earned before tax.

Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell said New Zealanders were used to being in debt, "but that doesn't mean we like it".

The survey also found that eight out of 10 people would lend money to a friend or family member, but only a quarter would be willing to lend more than $5000.

"Many people told us that lending and borrowing money can ruin relationships, so they'd only deal with small amounts, for a short time and often as a last resort," Ms Maxwell said.

"People also care how the money is going to be spent. They are happy to help family out, if they can, to avoid high interest rates, buy a house or household essentials or if they are sick."

Survey findings

  • Eight out of 10 people would lend to a friend or family member
  • Three quarters of them would only lend less than $5,000
  • One in 10 would lend $50,000+
  • Six out of 10 would borrow from a friend or family member
  • One in three strongly agree that they work hard so deserve to have the money to spend
  • Half strongly disagree with the statement "I have debt but I don't really think about it that much"