Kiwis’ Attitudes to Investing

Sharesies and Smartshares joined together to understand New Zealanders’ attitudes towards investing. With the help of Colmar Brunton, we interviewed 1000 people from around the country to learn more about how Kiwis spend, save, and invest their money. Download the full report, or check out the key insights below.

How do Kiwis feel about money?

Overall, Kiwis feel good about the basics; the majority said that they feel confident managing their money (69%), in control of their spending (71%), and plan for the future (73%). However, not everyone feels they have enough money to live the life they want (35%).

Where are Kiwis putting their money?

Among the Kiwis we interviewed, the most common form of savings was through a savings account at a bank (72%). The most common form of investments was Kiwisaver (65%) and owning your own home (59%). 

When it comes to investing in shares, our survey results suggest that New Zealand is lagging behind other countries. 2 in 5 Australians and half of all Americans own shares, but only 1 in 5 Kiwis own shares—in fact, 4% of Kiwis don’t have investments at all, and aren’t planning on getting any investments in the next 5 years! So what’s stopping people from investing?

Why aren’t Kiwis investing?

When asked about investing, the key areas of concern that people had were around knowledge, cost, and risk.

Only 35% said that they understand how investing works. 62% agreed that investing in shares is risky—and half said that investing in shares is riskier than investing in property! While 39% of people agreed that investing in shares is a good way to grow your money, only 22% said that it’s a good thing to do no matter how much money you have.

Looking specifically at non-investors, the main reasons for not investing in shares was not having the cash to spare (36%), not knowing how to invest (34%), and the belief that investing in shares is risky (31%).

Who currently owns shares?

The uptake of shares increases when Kiwis enter their late 20s, declines during their 30s, and continues on an upwards rise as Kiwis enter their 40s. Knowledge is power, with those who feel knowledgeable about the share market more likely to own shares. Based on our survey results, this group consists primarily of males, Aucklanders, and those over 60. 

What’s the future of investing in New Zealand?

Is the face of investing in New Zealand changing? We like to think so! In comparison to the male, 60+, Auckland-based investors that our survey identified, 80% of the investors on Sharesies are under the age of 40, and are evenly split between men and women. 

Only 1 in 5 Kiwis currently own shares, but 33% said that they would consider buying shares with their savings. So what can we do to reduce the barriers that are stopping more people from investing?

1. Remove the taboo around money

We still have a way to go to remove the taboo, with only half of Kiwis feeling comfortable talking to their friends and family about money. However, this increases to 63% for those who currently own shares! Building investor confidence comes from sharing knowledge, and we can’t share knowledge until we start talking more openly about money—the good and the bad.

2. Learn by doing

When we asked those who aren’t investors what kind of investors they think they’d be, the most common response was ‘a DIY investor who likes to select their own investments’ (32%), followed by ‘a discusser who likes to discuss investing with friends or family members’ (28%). Kiwis want to be more in control of their financial future—so what better way to start learning than by doing?

3. Invest amounts you can afford

The opportunity to start from as little as $5 seemed to mitigate some of the barriers to investing, with 59% of Kiwis saying that they could invest $5 a day without changing their spending habits. Even better, those who had identified a lack of money as a barrier to investing said that they would in fact be able to invest $5 a day without making any changes to their habits!

At Sharesies, we believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to grow their wealth—no matter how much money they have. Our goal is for all New Zealanders to know that investing is accessible to them, and to create a generation of motivated and confident investors.

If you’re keen to learn more about the survey, you can read the full report here. We’d love to hear what you think of the results—get in touch via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or email