Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], September 1 (ANI/NewsVoir): BankBazaar.com, India's leading free credit score provider and online financial product marketplace, has launched the fourth edition of the award-winning study - the BankBazaar Aspiration Index (bit.ly/BAI21).
As per the latest study, the National Aspiration Index for 2021 stands at 84.4, up from last year's dismal 79.9.
Even as the Aspiration Index rose, it did on the back of non-material aspirations. Relationship (89.6) emerged as India's top-most aspirations, unseating last year's topper, Health (88.5). Bangalore (85.8) emerged as the most aspirational city, closely followed by last year's topper, Mumbai (85.7).
Need for Community Increases
The impact of the turning tides of the pandemic can be clearly seen in the way the Aspiration Index has moved. Highest number of people (31.7%) picked Health as their most important aspiration. However, as people deal with losses from the pandemic, emotional helplessness is at the forefront and more importance has been given to Relationship goals. The top two goals are Relationship goals: To save & invest money for children's education (91.8) and to have long-lasting friendship (89.7). While Wealth is a less important aspiration, housing (88.2) remains the third more important goal.
Adhil Shetty, Co-founder & CEO, BankBazaar.com, puts these trends into perspective, "This year's Aspiration Index lays bare the physical, emotional, and financial impact of the pandemic on young India in the last one year. To say that the pandemic has been tough on everyone would be an understatement. Even those who have not been directly affected have felt the strain of living through these times. This is clearly reflected in the way people prioritised their goals for this year and the next. While Health continues to be the most important aspiration, the individual goals point towards a wish to secure the future for themselves and their loved ones. While the scars of the pandemic are many and will take time to heal, there is optimism mingled with caution, as well as hard-found financial focus, as Indians prioritise retirement planning and healthy eating for the future over big fat weddings and splurging on premium products."
Attaining Aspirations Becomes Tougher
The pandemic has also widened the gap between the importance attributed to a goal and the chances of its attainment. The highest gaps are in the Wealth aspiration (6.7), followed by Health (5.4). While some of the gaps are intuitive, such as the 8-point gap for travel goals, the 7.9-point gap for early retirement goals and 6.3-point gap for housing point to the devastating impact of pandemic on finances.
The BAI 2021 shows that aspirations of close to 82% of working men and women between the ages of 22 and 45 were derailed due to pandemic, and that it would take anywhere from 6 months to over 2 years to recover from this setback. Non-metros (85%) were a little more affected compared to metros (81%). However, there was little to no difference between metros and non-metros about what ailed them most: High medical expenses (43%), loss of savings and investments (42%), and loss of income (33%) were the biggest stressors.
Mental Health A Top Priority For Youth
According to historical data, aspirations and preparedness to fulfil them varied with age, resulting in categorisation of respondents into three distinct cohorts. BankBazaar classifies these as Early Jobbers (ages 22 to 27), Moneymooners (28-34), and Wealth Warriors (35-45). Previous studies saw a clear distinction of aspirations changing with age.
This year the top aspirations for Moneymooners and Wealth Warriors remained the same - Relationships followed by Health. However, Early Jobbers flipped the priority, putting Health before Relationship. Early Jobbers are also most conscious of their mental health, and 39% are considering going in for counselling in the coming year.
Goals Delayed, Not Cancelled
Despite the losses, the mood continues to be optimistic for the coming year. People are looking forward to make up for the lost time as well as provision for the future. Deferred goals from last year such as buying a house, travelling, and starting a business of their own are among the top goals. Future-proofing goals such as boosting retirement funds and buying additional insurance are also high on the list, as are personal care goals like an increased focus on nutrition and fitness. However, the biggest goal for the coming year puts the entire pandemic in perspective: spending time with a loved one.
Prince Thomas, Head of Marketing, BankBazaar.com, explains, "Historically, investing for their children's education and buying a home of their own has always been among the most important aspirations, and they gain an unexpected urgency this year due to the uncertainty. Some of the most important goals for the next year are to increase the retirement fund and buy more insurance. This indicates people are cautious about the future and are focusing on being better prepared to deal with any further calamities."
The study used quantitative research covering salaried men and women across top Indian cities in an attempt to understand their life goals from a personal finance perspective (download the full report here: www.bankbazaar.com/aspiration-index-2021.html) and was executed by 64Inspired Consulting. The study includes the core salaried population between the ages of 22 and 45. The life goals were arranged in five categories - Wealth, Fame, Relationships, Personal Growth, and Health.
BankBazaar.com is India's first neutral online marketplace that gives instant customized offers on loans and credit cards. It also provides customers free consumer credit score on its portal. Over 50+ of India's leading financial institutions have chosen to integrate themselves with the platform. BankBazaar has so far raised USD 116M in funding from investors such as Experian, Eight Roads, Sequoia India, Walden International, WSV, and Amazon.
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