The importance of savings, proper financial management and attitude of the younger generation towards money matters were a part of a survey conducted by students of Massey University at its three campuses last week.
Senior Finance Lecturer Dr Stangl designed the questionnaire for the students for the survey held under the initiative of the Financial Education and Research Centre, a joint venture between the University and Westpac.
He supervised the survey held at Massey’s Auckland (Albany) campus, while Dr Claire Matthews, Director of Planning at the Massey Centre for Financial Services and Markets and Dr Pushpa Wood, Director of Fin-Ed Centre supervised respectively Palmerstone North and Wellington Campuses of Massey University.
Dr Stangl said the objective of the survey was to raise student awareness on proper money management and enable students to understand how well or otherwise they were planning for their present and future.
“The survey looked at eight areas of financial literacy, including savings, investment, budgeting, debt management, insurance and retirement planning,” he said.
Master of Finance student Daniel Feller lead the team of students conducting the survey at the Albany campus. As president of Beta Alpha Psi, an honorary organisation for finance and accounting students, he is conscious of the need for financial planning.
“This was an important initiative for Beta Alpha Psi to support because students should get into the habit of planning and saving. Most students have the advantage of time; it is amazing how small amounts of money can grow,” he said.
According to Daniel, many students think that retirement is a long time away and that they have other priorities.
“But they do not always think about the things they need to save now –house, family, and overseas travel. It is important to realise that having some savings is just as important as all the other priorities they might have,” he said.
The Fin-Ed Centre will collate the data gathered from the three campuses to see if there are any geographic or demographic trends.
Financial Health checks
Fin-Ed Centre Director Dr Pushpa Wood said that the Centre plans to run financial health checks for the next few years and the data collected will help inform the centre’s future work.
“The financial health checks gave students the opportunity to evaluate their personal financial management skills in a fun way, but it will also provide us with a better understanding of the knowledge levels of our student population,” Dr Wood says.
“Student debt levels in this country are still very high and we need to find ways to reduce those levels and hence when they complete their studies and embark on their new lives, they would not have to spend years paying off debt and not being able to move forward financially,” she said.
Westpac Corporate Affairs Director Sue Foley said that financial health checks are a good way of raising awareness on saving and future spending goals.
“The results will also provide a good insight into the financial habits of the next generation and highlight areas where the centre can support them by providing sound financial information,” she said.