Habits of the affluent are worth taking note of
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.
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.