India’s aspirations rebound strongly; mental health & happiness on top of everyone’s list: Survey | The Financial Express

India’s aspirations rebound strongly; mental health & happiness on top of everyone’s list: Survey

The All-India Aspiration Index is now at 87.3, climbing to its highest level since the start of this study in 2018 when it was 87.4.

India’s aspirations rebound strongly; mental health & happiness on top of everyone’s list: Survey
Metros continue to steal the march on non-metros on aspiration. At 2.6, the gap between metros and non-metros is at the highest ever.

India is slowly, but surely, recovering from the effects of the pandemic, and mental health and happiness are on top of everyone’s list, as per BankBazaar’s Aspiration Index 2022, which has bounced back to pre-Covid levels, wiping out the impact of Covid on the index.

The data this year points to the resurgence of aspirations despite hard inflation following the pandemic. The All-India Aspiration Index is now at 87.3, climbing to its highest level since the start of this study in 2018 when it was 87.4.

The Index is up sharply from 84.4 in 2021 and the all-time low of 79.9 in 2020. The bounce-back shows India is well and truly back at the task of chasing its dreams.

This year’s Index grew by 2.9 points from last year, albeit led by non-material aspirations such as Health (89.5) and Relationships (87.9). Interestingly, individual goals diverged sharply, indicating a clear split between what India wants and what it believes it needs.

BIG CITIES, BIG ASPIRATIONS

Metros continue to steal the march on non-metros on aspiration. At 2.6, the gap between metros and non-metros is at the highest ever.

East Leads

East regained its crown of the most aspirational region, closely followed by the West. A comparatively moderate impact of Covid during the last few years has helped the region hold on to aspirations despite the impact of inflation.

Also Read: How to spot errors in credit card bills

WOMEN HAVE BIGGER ASPIRATIONS

Women continue to be ahead of men when it comes to aspirations, leading by 3 whole points. Women of all ages are more aspirational than men, with Moneymooner women leading the pack — an indication of changing times and social mores. Early Jobber men are the least aspirational. Wealth is the most important aspiration for Moneymooner women but the least important for Wealth Warrior women who put Fame and Personal Growth before Wealth.

Mental wellbeing is top priority

Mental wellbeing is the top goal by sample size as well as aspiration. But there is a clear difference between what young Indians want and what they prioritise. The five most popular life goals highlight what Indians wanted the most: be happy and healthy (49.2%), see the world (44.1%), be their own bosses (34.1%), save for their children’s education (37.9%), and splurge a little on the finer things of life (31.3%).

However, the most aspirational goals are different and reveal the heart of young India. While mental health and saving and investing for children are among the top five, what else matters is living close to the family, eating well, and of course, a home of one’s own.

Adhil Shetty, CEO, BankBazaar.com, explains this divergence: “After more than two-and-a-half years of emotional and financial distress, people are keen to reclaim their earlier lives and fulfil aspirations that were pushed back due to Covid. However, the realities of the post-Covid world, and the rising inflation and global instability in its wake, are compelling people to take a more pragmatic and measured look at how they go about doing this. Consequently, we are seeing people prioritise their goals more than ever.”

ROADBLOCKS TO ASPIRATIONS

Limited savings post pandemic coupled with high cost of living are barriers to India’s aspirations. The pain-points of each age cohort emerge distinctly. Early Jobbers face serious job losses and depletion of savings during the Covid years; nearly half rue the lack of savings. Moneymooners are torn between family responsibilities and work pressures in a swiftly changing world. And Wealth Warriors are thrown off-track by high cost of living and depleted savings.

Impact of inflation

Households across India present a tough picture. Expenses have gone up for 77% respondents in the last one year. Wealth Warriors, with bigger liabilities and higher responsibilities, feel the heat the most. Metros (79%) feel the pinch more than the non-Metros (72%). Correspondingly, the reliance on credit to meet monthly expenses has increased for 62% respondents, and savings have plateaued or gone down for almost 80%.

“Despite inflation, people are still focused on their priorities. The study shows that 57% of people took a loan in the last year. Of these, almost half of them have taken a loan to invest in a house (49%) or vehicle (43%). Around 35% are to fund higher studies and 26% for home upgradation. When you read this along with the overall high Aspiration Index, it indicates India’s resolve to battle through challenges in pursuit of their goals,” explains Shetty.

Pandemic–induced reduction in savings

One of the more adverse effects of the pandemic has been a reduction in savings, largely due to job losses, medical expenses, and rising costs of living. 47% respondents reported a drop in their monthly savings while 32% said they were unable to increase their savings. While respondents across all age cohorts have seen a drop in savings, the reduction has not been the same for all. Among women, Early Jobber and Wealth Warriors saw a greater drop in their savings as compared to Moneymooners.

One of the notable trends highlighted in this index is a growing interest in non-traditional forms of investment, specifically cryptocurrency. 32% of the survey respondents invested in cryptocurrency, out of which a whopping 38% consisted of Early Jobber women.

Credit Awareness

Credit awareness among this cohort continued to be high. Close to 90% know what credit score is and 80% have checked their credit score. More than 73% have seen their scores remain steady or increase in the last one year.

Retirement Planning

Early retirement is one of the top five goals for 29% of respondents, making it the sixth most preferred goal. Retirement planning is the second most important reason to invest. Despite this, only 60% have a retirement corpus. Only 22.1% say they’re off-track.

Get live Share Market updates and latest India News and business news on Financial Express. Download Financial Express App for latest business news.