Wealthy in spirit but not in the bank

Top of the south locals don't think their personal success should be measured by what's in their wallets, but they need to work on their savings, a survey has found.

The national survey by online banking company RaboDirect found that Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman residents aren't too concerned with money's role in image and personal success compared with the average Kiwi.

Only 37 per cent said they felt money was relevant to their image and personal success, compared to the national average of 47 per cent.

The survey looked at participants' attitudes and behaviours towards saving and spending. It found that New Zealanders had little formal knowledge of money matters, and their scrimping and splurging habits had left them cash-poor.

Nationally, the research revealed that despite almost three-quarters of the population claiming to make some effort to put money aside, New Zealanders are not regular savers, with only 23 per cent of the survey respondents following a savings regime. Most of those who saved were irregular or opportunistic.

RaboDirect New Zealand general manager Mel Templeton said she saw this trend as a problem area for New Zealanders and the economy.

"While Kiwis generally have the best intentions with their money, and almost a third (28 per cent) of the population has made budget plans for the new year, many New Zealanders are not able to take control of their money and achieve their savings goals.

"Of more concern is that a third of those surveyed couldn't survive on their savings for more than two weeks without assistance."

Almost half the respondents said they typically had no spare cash at the end of the month, so were living from one payday to the next.

Twenty-two per cent said they were broke after covering their expenses, and an additional 22 per cent would spend any remaining cash they did have.

Among those who did make an effort to set aside money, unexpected expenses and general living costs were the most frequently cited barriers to saving, often in combination with a low income.

Those aged between 18 and 29 were more likely to focus on saving, although they were also more likely to spend, while those in the mid-life years were working towards reducing debt.

RaboDirect commissioned the survey as part of the launch of Commoncents.co.nz, a website designed to provide New Zealanders with practical tips on saving and spending. A total of 1367 people responded.

The Nelson Mail