Habits of the af­flu­ent are worth tak­ing note of

Central Leader - - OPINION -

I’m a pro­fes­sional voyeur, who has the weekly priv­i­lege to be able to take peeks into people’s money lives.

This week, the peek I en­joyed most was into the money lives of New Zealan­ders who would qual­ify for those exclusive plat­inum credit cards cour­tesy of a sur­vey by Visa of its card­hold­ers with house­hold in­comes of $120,000 or more.

That’s a pretty good house­hold in­come, as the na­tional aver­age at the end of June last year was $85,588, though av­er­ages do get dragged up by the very well­paid so they can feel a bit mis­lead­ing.

Cer­tainly, it is an eye­wa­ter­ingly large sum of money for a cou­ple get­ting by on New Zealand Su­per at $33,200 be­fore tax.

Now I’ve never been a big be­liever that the kind of plas­tic you dip into a pay­ment ter­mi­nal says any­thing about you but I am in­ter­ested in the spend­ing habits of the in­come-rich.

And I won­der if there is any­thing to be learnt from their be­hav­iours and tudes.

The Visa sur­vey cer­tainly shows fairly keen fo­cus and drive.

Three-quar­ters (76 per cent) were fo­cused on in­creas­ing their per­sonal in­come and six in 10 said they ex­pected to in the com­ing year.

And the vast ma­jor­ity (90 per cent) were fo­cused on sav­ing, with 82 per cent ac­tively fo­cused on plan­ning for their re­tire­ment and half plan­ning on lift­ing their sav­ings lev­els this year.

These re­sults show a fo­cus on con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment and these are people who bring that fo­cus to other ar­eas of their lives.

Nine in 10 (92 per cent) said they were fo­cused on cre­at­ing a bet­ter work-life

atti- bal­ance and the same pro­por­tion were fo­cused on stay­ing fit and healthy.

These are people who want it all and they want to look and feel good.

They are very fo­cused on build­ing re­spect among their pro­fes­sional peers (72 per cent) but many don’t put much stock in what any­one else thinks.

Just 28 per cent said im­prov­ing their stand­ing in the com­mu­nity was im­por­tant to them.

Whether that is a healthy thing, or a sign of a so­ci­ety lack­ing so­cial co­he­sion, I’ll leave for you to judge.

Sur­veys on at­ti­tudes al­ways feel a bit sus­pect.

Ask people about whether they are bet­ter than aver­age driv­ers and most say they are, but we’ll be char­i­ta­ble, and say their drive and fo­cus are en­vi­able and worth em­u­lat­ing.

Visa found there was no sin­gle fixed life­style among the mass af­flu­ent.

In fact, many were rel­a­tive home-bod­ies com­pared to sim­i­larly wealthy people over­seas.

But they do like to spend a bit on liv­ing the good life.

A year for the af­flu­ent may in­clude one to two lux­ury weekend get­aways, and most get away on a fam­ily hol­i­day with a spend of up to $4500, the ma­jor­ity over­seas.

There may be one new de­signer hand­bag, a cou­ple of pairs of de­signer shoes and some jew­ellery.

A quar­ter treated them­selves in the past year to a new car.

Roughly

one

in

eight bought them­selves a new de­signer watch.

Three in 10 of them say they’ll be treat­ing them­selves a lit­tle more in the com­ing year. Though they are rel­a­tively big spenders, some of their money sticks. They spend just over $70 per $100 they took home.

And they read about fi­nan­cial and wealth man­age­ment. Roughly one in five do that ev­ery week. But on aver­age the mass af­flu­ent do so just un­der three times a month. They are keen to con­tinue learn­ing, and thriv­ing. We can all learn from that.

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