New research from Kiwibank reveals the state of saving in Aotearoa


New research from Kiwibank reveals one in three New Zealanders would struggle to cover an unexpected bill of $500 without borrowing, selling something, or putting it on a credit card.

The largest New Zealand-owned bank today released its inaugural Kiwibank Annual State of Savings Index which reveals Kiwi attitudes to saving and our ability to cover expenses.

Chief Executive Steve Jurkovich said the findings highlighted just how squeezed people were feeling due to the high cost of living, but that there were also signs of resilience.

“We know many Kiwi are doing it tough right now but what we also learned is that they understand the power of budgeting and saving, which are key enablers to building financial security."

Our purpose is to make Kiwi better off, and while we know ‘better off’ will mean different things to different people, we’re committed to supporting all Kiwi to achieve their goals. Even small but regular savings can make a difference.
Steve Jurkovich, Kiwibank Chief Executive

The research found:

  • 59% of Kiwi have a monthly budget in place.
  • 41% of Kiwi regularly put money aside while 38% put money aside from time to time.
  • 39% of savers are managing to save $100 a month or less.
  • Almost two thirds of Kiwi (63%) are struggling to put money aside for saving with high cost of living cited as the main barrier (73%).
  • 30% of Kiwi would not have enough money in their accounts to cover an unexpected bill of $500 without borrowing, selling something, or putting it on a credit card.
  • 37% of Kiwi say they don’t have money set aside to cover any unexpected expenses.
  • 34% of Kiwi say they feel like they are hit with an unexpected expense at least once a month.

“These findings provide critical insight into the current state of savings in Aotearoa New Zealand in a high cost of living environment. While it’s encouraging to see that some New Zealanders are managing to save and set financial goals, the research shows that a large portion are vulnerable to financial shocks,” Mr Jurkovich said.

“Despite these challenges, some Kiwi are working towards specific financial goals. One in three savers (35%) have a defined savings target. Among these, the most common goals include emergency funds (44%), vacations (36%), retirement (31%), and homeownership (20%). These priorities reflect the diverse needs and aspirations of New Zealanders.

“Kiwibank is committed to supporting Kiwi to take action to secure their financial futures and there are many ways we enable this to happen. This includes Goal Tracker where people can visualise their savings goal, competitive savings rates, and access to our Kiwibank experts for those key moments like buying a home.

“A great place to start the journey is on our Thrive HQ Hub which has the tools, guides and resources to help people get on top of their money.

Mr Jurkovich said he hoped the release of today’s research would prompt people to think about the savings goals and ability to cover the unexpected, and to have those important money conversations with others.