Amid last year’s recession, loss of savings, job uncertainty, lockdowns, and the pandemic-related economic and social restrictions, India’s aspirations have been challenged this year.
Amid last year’s recession, loss of savings, job uncertainty, lockdowns, and the pandemic-related economic and social restrictions, India’s aspirations have been challenged this year. In fact, aspirations across all age groups have shrunk. The worst-hit among them is the Early Jobber – the twenty-something, whose aspirations have been dampened by the ongoing challenges and economic uncertainty, according to BankBazaar Aspiration Index 2020.
Noticeably, the reprioritization of life goals has taken place across the board. Health has unanimously taken top priority, and personal growth has seen a steep rise. Of all the life goals — Wealth, Fame, Image, Relationships, Personal Growth, and Health — Health (84) remains India’s top-most aspiration and is an unprecedented 6.7 points ahead of the next most important aspirations, clearly indicating how the pandemic and a change in social behaviour have increased the focus on health, both mental and physical. Women’s aspirations seem to have withstood the trying times better than men, with a score of 81.5 compared to 79.2 for men.
What’s not changed and continues to gather pace is the trend of people going online for their financial needs. There’s been an increase in the percentage of Indians checking their credit scores, with the most sizeable improvement—unsurprisingly—coming from the tech-savvy Early Jobbers, the study reveals.
As per the study, the pandemic has brought out a stark shift in focus across age groups to a single, most important priority this year: Health (84). What comes next is even more interesting. As the world grapples with one of the worst health and economic crisis, Image and Wealth are no longer the biggest aspirations and their places have been taken by Personal Growth and Relationship (77.3). This trend is seen across age cohorts.
This is also in stark contrast from the previous years when Personal Growth was the last thing on people’s minds. The health and economic crisis is encouraging people to re-evaluate their priorities, and apart from Health goals,
the need to reinvent themselves professionally and personally to stay relevant in the post-Covid world.
The prevailing Covid-19 crisis has started altering the top Wealth aspirations of people in a significant way. For the first time, people are now deprioritizing traditional top goals like buying a home, even if they feel financially prepared. They don’t want to take undue risks at a time of heightened uncertainties, and securing their financial future takes precedence.
Although Aspiration Index has dropped for all 3 cohorts — Early Jobbers (22-27 years), Moneymooners (28-34 years) and Wealth Warriors (35-45 years) — compared to last year, Early Jobbers have seen the greatest drop of 7.3. It could be attributed to this cohort bearing the gravest impact of the pandemic. Faced with widespread job uncertainty in the early stages of their careers, lacking opportunities to professionally establish themselves, and having little to no savings could have taken its toll on their aspirations.
Not surprisingly, the biggest priority in 2020 for all three cohorts is Health, given the current pandemic. However, Early Jobbers have a different second priority compared to Moneymooners and Wealth Warriors. It’s Wealth, while for Moneymooners and Wealth Warriors, it’s family under Relationship aspirations. Early Jobbers have smaller savings likely to be diminished during loss of employment or income and therefore their need for future financial security is greater. Relatively better off Moneymooners and Wealth Warriors are understandably more concerned about their families and relationships during these difficult times.
The survey reveals that Mumbai emerged as the most aspirational city. Surprisingly, Chennai, which was high on the Index in previous years, moved to the bottom of the list this year, though it polled the highest on Relationship aspirations, unlike all other cities that put Health first.