COVID-19 has taken its toll on young Indians’ aspirations, besides fortifying the position of health and pushing wealth creation down the order of priorities in 2020, a BankBazaar study has found.
India’s National Aspiration Index for 2020, as computed by the financial products aggregator, stands at 79.9, a decline of seven points compared to 86.9 in 2019. “Mumbai (82.2) 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,” the report notes. It polled 650 respondents in India in the age-group of 22-45 on their aspirations around health, wealth, personal growth, relationship and so on.
Health, the top concern
While computing the index, respondents were asked to assign scores to questions on the importance, likelihood and level of preparedness for achieving these goals. Since questions around health received the highest scores, it ranked as the top-most aspiration.
Health ranked ahead of other goals, with COVID-19 forcing people to sharpen focus on healthier lifestyles. “Health remains India’s top-most aspirations 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,” the study noted.
Women turned out to be more aspirational than men this year, notching up a score of 81.5 compared to 79.2 for men. In 2019, men were marginally ahead, with a score of 87 compared to 86.3 for women. The new COVID-19-induced work-from-routine had a role to play in their relatively upbeat outlook. “Women’s aspirations seem to have withstood the trying times better than men. When you consider this in the context of the changes happening at the workplace, such as the normalisation of working from home and flexible work hours, it becomes obvious that women are looking forward to leverage these changes and making the best of them,” said Aparna Mahesh, Chief Marketing Officer, BankBazaar.
Personal growth climbed four spots in the index, at par with relationships. In 2019, wealth was amongst the top three in the pecking order of life goals. Unlike previous years, owning a home is no longer the single most important goal and ranks pretty low in the list of priorities, the survey found. Early retirement emerged as the most important wealth goal in this year’s survey. “The lower importance and a higher level of preparedness in the Wealth category indicates that people are putting aside major asset acquisition and discretionary spending for the future even if they are financially prepared,” Aparna Mahesh added.