The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

High earning Kiwis spend more than 70 per cent of their monthly income

High earning Kiwis spend more than 70 per cent of their monthly income

A regional survey of the spending habits of affluent New Zealand households has revealed Kiwis with higher incomes are among the largest spenders in Asia Pacific.

The 2014 Visa Affluent Study showed affluent New Zealanders spend more than 70 per cent of their household income every month, the highest proportion of the 11 countries surveyed in Asia Pacific, Russia and the UAE. For the purposes of the research, ‘affluent’ was defined as a household income of greater than $120,000.

That spending extended to charity, with 73 per cent surveyed choosing to donate to charitable organisations, making New Zealand one of the most generous Asia Pacific nations.

The 2014 Visa Affluent Study also examined the attitudes the affluent have to their money. The results show that 90 per cent of those surveyed consider saving money to be important, with 82 per cent placing importance on planning for their retirement.

”While the findings reveal New Zealanders spend a large proportion of their monthly earnings, it’s clear from the research that Kiwis place priority on their financial goals with 90 per cent considering saving to be important,” says Caroline Ada, Visa Country Manager for New Zealand and South Pacific.

The 2014 Visa Affluent Study sheds some light into where affluent Kiwis spend their money. Groceries (28%), utilities (18%) and local transportation (10%) occupy more than half of the total monthly expenditure, leaving the remainder to be spent on shopping (13%), food (10%), entertainment (7%), travel (6%) and other expenses (7%).

While New Zealanders had the second highest spend on utilities, transport and groceries as a proportion of total monthly expenditure relative to other countries, their spend on luxury items, such as shopping, entertainment and eating out, was the lowest of the countries surveyed.

Looking ahead, the research indicates New Zealanders have a positive outlook on their financial future. “The majority of affluent Kiwis expect incomes to increase in tandem with improvements to the economy. However, many believe the anticipated increase in the inflation rate in the year ahead may have an impact on discretionary spending,” says Ada.

Only a third of New Zealanders anticipate increased discretionary spend in the coming year. This proportion was similar to Australian respondents.

“We know credit cards are the payment method of choice for affluent New Zealanders, followed by debit cards and direct bank transfers. This demographic understands the benefits of using credit cards in a smart way by paying off their balance every month and leveraging their spend to earn points and rewards. The results show credit cards have nearly half the share of wallet, compared to cash at less than 15 per cent,” says Ada.