New Zealand's economy has been booming for the last 10 years but new research shows some groups have disproportionately missed out on many of the gains.

Many renters, younger people and those in the regions have been left struggling to make ends meet as house price rises and share market records have passed them by.

Kiwi Wealth's State of the Investor Nation report has found a third are struggling to make ends meet or are only just managing to get by.

But, among renters, that jumped to 59 per cent.


One in four Kiwis surveyed said they felt worse off than a year ago with those over 55, earning less than $70k and with no investments more likely to be feeling that way.

Joe Bishop, Kiwi Wealth's general manager customer, product and innovation, said it decided to carry out the research because the economic indicators - low unemployment, low interest rates, a rising property and share market didn't match up with what it was seeing from its KiwiSaver members.

"What concerned me was that it was not fully in line with what we were hearing from a lot our members."

Bishop said KiwiSaver financial hardship claims were continuing to rise and when it talked to members it was apparent many were doing it tough.

The research found that 79 per cent of those surveyed had investments or savings, renters and low-income earners were less likely to have investments/savings with almost half (47 per cent) saying they don't feel they have the capacity to save on top of covering expenses.

It also found Kiwis have a strong belief that residential property investment is the best way to fund their retirement followed by money in a savings account or term deposit.

"We're a risk-averse nation. Some 40 per cent of New Zealanders sit on the risk averse side and, outside of property assets; 80 per cent are building their wealth through traditional investment vehicles such as KiwiSaver, savings accounts and term deposits."

Bishop said confidence in New Zealand's economy, financial and property markets was quite strong, but wealth wasn't evenly distributed.


"The gap between the haves and have-nots is widening fast, and our young people, renters and those living in the regions are missing out most.

"Despite 10 years of our so-called 'rockstar economy', these are the Kiwis who didn't get tickets to the concert."

Bishop said it hoped the report would stimulate debate both from the industry and the Government on how to help these groups of people.