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 There was a time when the New Zealanders had a very simple life and were relatively financially secure. Their biggest worry was paying the mortgage on time. Today things have changed and life is not as easy as it once was, with changes in people's expectations, they now have to work more just to pay for the cost of living. The Kiwis donít earn a lot, with more then 80% off the population earning around NZD 30,000 per year, much less than its neighbour Australia. Even so the quality of life in New Zealand remains one of the best in the world.

Most Kiwis dress informally, they buy good clothes, although clothes are not their greatest priority when it comes to spending. Their priority is paying for the mortgage, the car, and food. These 3 things alone consume more than 70% of the wages, with the remaining 30% being used for other things such as buying new clothes, telephone and electricity bills, insurance, and for having fun such as a holiday. From the age of 16, a great part of the population have started to be responsible for their own finances, many working part time while they are studying, they have to earn their money to pay for their own bills, such as mobile phone bills, car payments and fuel etc. 

If we take into account that of a salary of 35,000 per year, 32,000 will be used to pay bills and for the normal cost of life, it leaves only around NZD 300 per month for any saving. It is not much but it is enough for a family to take a holiday once a year. If two people in the household work, which is mostly the case, and then they are able to put away that little bit extra. For this reason many think that the people in NZ are rich, but the reality is that although most do live well, they live with the basics and are always searching for ways to save money. Although there are those people who are poorer and those who are richer, most people fit into the same social class. However to maintain at least the same standard of living, the Kiwi has to work very hard. TV, DVD players, computers are present in almost all household. These items once showed status, but now with the drop in prices, they are easily affordable, even for those who add it to their credit card debt. In proportion to its population New Zealand, together with Australia, is one of the countries that have the greatest credit card debts. With a stable economy and reasonably low interest rates, credit card debts and taking out loans are becoming more and more common, to the point that itís hard to find someone who owes absolutely nothing. The government has campaigned trying to get people to think more about the long term and the future, giving more incentives for people to put more into their superannuation (retirement fund). They have realised that they faced an ever-aging population meaning they will need to support more people, while receiving less revenue. 

Money is tight, but the Kiwi is an expert in making them most of the money they do have. Most have cars, and sometimes the need to have more than one car (especially w/ families) becomes essential. From around NZD1000 you can pick up a running second hand car. Eating out is now left more for special occasions and celebrations. The Kiwi chooses very carefully where to spend their money, because if they spend it on a holiday, they wont be able to change to a newer car, or if they spend it eating out then they might not be able to afford to pay off some bills that month. Everyone in New Zealand has a shelter for when it rains, but one thing you can be certain is that in NZ it will never rain money.

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