Paucity of funds affects students’ diet

Almost 35% of students studying in universities have been forced to change their diet or eating habits because of the high cost of food items.

The latest research by students of the Financial Education & Research Centre of Massey University, undertaken jointly with Westpac recorded about 40.8% of the respondents as saying that finance was a source of worry. However, only 11.5% said that they struggled to make ends meet.

More than three-quarters of the respondents said that they had some savings, with just over half having easily accessible funds in the event of an emergency. Only 17.5% thought that they would need to borrow money if faced with an unexpected emergency.

The Survey results were based in the financial health check conducted by the Centre, reported in our (Educationlink) June 1, 2013 edition. It was an initiative to encourage university students to consider their financial situation.

Interesting outcome

Westpac Managing Director of Wealth, Insurance and Private, Simon Power found the attitude of students towards KiwiSaver and retirement interesting.

“We know that young people are enthusiastic about KiwiSaver, with over 60% of eligible 18-24 year olds already enrolled in the Scheme. In many cases, the reason may be as simple as getting the incentive, for many others, it is a way of helping them save for a first home,” he said.

Senior Lecturer Dr Claire Matthews, who analysed the responses of 269 students, said that despite a few areas of concern, most university students have reasonably good attitude towards money.

“The respondents were aware of savings and retirement planning, and their attitudes were okay in the areas of money management, debt management and budgeting. Insurance was the only area where students consistently scored low, but that reflects their limited need,” she said.

Home-buyers

The Massey-Westpac Survey said that notwithstanding media comments about the unaffordable housing market, almost 82% of the students said that they had an increasing desire to own their homes in the next ten years.

Senior Finance Lecturer Dr Jeffrey Stangl designed the questionnaire to highlight potential problem areas.

“The objective was to raise awareness of managing money well, and give students feedback on how well they are planning for today and tomorrow,” he said.

Fin-Ed Centre director Dr Pushpa Wood said that the Centre plans to run financial health checks for the next few years and that the data collected would help in future projects and programmes.

“The Survey will provide us with a better understanding of the knowledge levels of our student population, and will make an interesting comparison to the Fin-Ed Centre’s longitudinal study, which will survey a group of young Kiwis every five years for the next 20 years,” she said.

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