By David Hargreaves
They are young, footloose, fancy-free...and broke.
The latest credit figures from illion (formerly Dun & Bradstreet) have shown a sharp rise in the number of people under 25 in this country filing for bankruptcy.
And it's a rise that is occurring at a time when the overall bankruptcy figures are falling.
According to illion, in the 12 months to June 30 there were 207 people aged between 18 and 24 that filed for bankruptcy in New Zealand.
That was an increase of 66.9% on the figure for a year earlier.
As recently as 2014 there were less than 20 people in that age group who filed for bankruptcy.
This means that the figure has increased 10-fold in just four years.
illion CEO Simon Bligh said while it was good to see an annual drop, the rise among young people was concerning.
“While the overall drop in bankruptcies is a good sign, no one takes this decision lightly, so to see young people increasingly turning to bankruptcy or insolvency agreements is cause for concern,” he said.
“It’s important to remember the numbers are still very low among the under 25s compared to other age brackets.
"But if they continue their current trend it won’t be long before that changes,” he said
The release of the information by illion didn't offer any explanation for what might be behind this sudden surge in youth bankruptcy in New Zealand - or whether it is a part of a global trend.
illion's analysis showed that overall, just slightly more than 3,300 people declared bankruptcy in New Zealand in the year to June 2018.
That's a drop of 5.1% compared with a year ago and is also well down on the 3,800 bankruptcies declared in 2016.
In regional terms, Auckland, again had the highest number of bankruptcies this year, up to June 2018, with 679 personal insolvencies. That was, however, down 11.4% on last year's figures.
Christchurch fell 1% to 303, while Hamilton rounded out the top three at 102 (-23.9%) during the 12 months ended 30 June 2018.
illion’s analysis shows the gap between male and female bankruptcies has closed during the year, with 45.3 years being the average age for a male bankrupt, compared to 41.6 years for a female.
Men remain marginally more likely to suffer personal insolvency, accounting for 50.4% of bankruptcies in FY2018.