The lost generation – how young Kiwis are bearing the brunt of rising inflation

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The latest Financial Services Council’s (FSC) research report, ‘Money and You – The Lost Generation?’ shines a light on the profound impact the pandemic, rising living costs, inflation and wage stagnation are having on younger generations.

Among respondents in the 18-39 year old age bracket:

  • 68% reported being very or somewhat concerned of the effect of wage stagnation
  • 81% are very or somewhat concerned of the effect of inflation
  • 79% are very or somewhat concerned of the effect of rising house prices
  • 67% reported being very or somewhat concerned of the effect of interest rates

This age group is also more concerned about financial issues such as property prices, interest rates, and inflation than other generations, and are much more likely to worry about money.

Half of this age group report having received support to buy their first property, which is more than double that reported by older respondents.

Rainy day savings remain low, and only half of Generation Rent could find $5,000 within a week in an emergency.

“This data is a concern given the current economic environment,” says FSC CEO Richard Klipin.

“What this research reveals is that our younger people are not as prepared to weather financial shocks as they could be, and are worrying more about money than older New Zealanders.”

“Inflation and interest rates, while clearly a concern for all age groups, are more of a worry for the 18-39 age bracket. This demographic is also significantly more worried than older generations about house prices and wage stagnation, which is concerning,” says Klipin. 

The results come from a survey of 2,000-plus New Zealanders that was carried out in January 2022.

“‘Money and You – The Lost Generation’ continues our focus on the younger generation, which we dubbed ‘Generation Rent’ in a research report from 2021 that looked into this age group’s feelings about the housing market,” says Klipin.

“Young people are our future, and yet they are feeling the effects of the current economic climate more than any other age group. As borders open up and opportunities beckon overseas, there is a real concern that they will they be tempted to try their luck elsewhere.”

“This is the question we want to answer.”

Laurence Kubiak, Chair of research sponsor Trustees Executors and the former CEO of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER), is concerned for younger generations.

“History tells us that the cure for extended periods of inflation, such as a rapid increase in interest rates, can be blunt and ultimately harmful to employment and increases mortgage stress,” he says. 

“I am particularly concerned for Kiwis under the age of 50 who have yet to experience high inflationary environments.”

However, he also considers the silver lining.

“As challenging as this can be, this period is also just one stage of an investment cycle that can be managed and even taken advantage of.”

Read the full report here (2.3meg PDF).

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