Nearly one in three kiwis admits to letting their money take care of itself and the number has grown in the last year.
The bnz's latest financial futures research found 32 per cent of those surveyed had no financial plan, up from 27 per cent last year.
Donna nicolof, bnz head of wealth and private bank, says the drop is worrying and suggests more people are just living for today.
"In the last year, there has been a 5 per cent drop in the number of us who have a financial plan.
"This suggests people are losing sight of their long-term goals and are living life
The research also found just 34 per cent of those surveyed had worked out how much they would need in retirement and had a plan in place to ensure they would get there.
That was down from 40 per cent in last year's survey.
Unsurprisingly young people were the least prepared with just 17 per cent of under 30-year-olds having a plan and 26 per cent of 30- to 49-year-olds.
But even those approaching their so-called ''golden years'' were not ready with 59 per cent of 50- to 64-year-olds saying they did not know how much they would need in retirement.
Nicolof said people needed to do more.
She urged people to join kiwisaver and take more of an interest in their money.
"If you're not sure where to start or what to do then seek advice from a professional, their job is to help you make the best decisions for your financial future."
Despite not knowing how much to save the research found most people could put some money aside with 73 per cent saying they had the capacity to save.
Nicolof said every dollar saved today would yield more in the future due to the benefits of compounding interest.
"It may be daunting to think about saving more when you are just trying to manage day-to-day living costs, but interest earned on even $5 a week will accumulate over time and be worth a whole lot more in the future.
"Kiwisaver has been a great example of showing how quickly even a small amount can add up over time.
"People may have a 'she'll be right' attitude, but we are no longer in an environment where she will be right," nicolof said.
The online survey questioned 2000 adult new zealanders about their financial behaviour and attitudes.