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BankBazaar, India’s leading online financial services marketplace, launched the third edition of the award-winning BankBazaar Aspiration Index. As per the latest study, the National Aspiration Index for 2020 stands at 79.9, a drop of 7 points compared to last year’s 86.9. 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. Women emerged more aspirational than men, with a score of 81.5 compared to 79.2 for men. The study used quantitative research covering salaried men and women across top Indian cities in an attempt to understand their life goals from a personal finance perspective (download the full report here: https://www.bankbazaar.com/aspiration-index-2020.html). The study includes the core salaried population between the ages of 22 and 45. The life goals were arranged in six categories—Wealth, Fame, Image, Relationships, Personal Growth, and Health.

Health (84) 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. Noteworthy is the fact that the ongoing health and economic crisis is encouraging people to re-evaluate their priorities. Personal Growth (77.3) climbed four spots overtaking Wealth (76.3) to be the second most important aspiration at par with Relationship (77.3). This is a marked change from previous years when Personal Growth was the last thing on people’s minds.

Individual goals also saw a fundamental shift in the recent survey. While people picked mental and physical health, nutrition, and children’s education as the most important goals, the big surprise was in the Wealth category. Unlike previous years, owning a home is no longer the single most important goal and actually ranks pretty low in the list of priorities. Early retirment emerged as the most important Wealth goal in this year’s survey.

Speaking on the occasion of the Index launch, Aparna Mahesh, Chief Marketing Officer, BankBazaar, said, “The BankBazaar Aspiration Index 2020 came with a wealth of insights. One key insight was that women’s aspirations seem to have withstood the trying times better than men, as they scored higher on Health, Wealth, and Personal Growth goals. When you consider this in the context of the changes happening at the workplace, such as the normalization of working from home and flexible work hours, it becomes obvious that women are looking forward to leverage these changes and make the best of them. The other insight was how young India is cautious about the future. 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.”

According to historical data, aspirations and preparedness to fulfil them varied with age, resulting in categorization of respondents into three distinct cohorts. BankBazaar classifies these as Early Jobbers (ages 22 to 27), Moneymooners (28-34), and Wealth Warriors (35-45). Previous studies saw a clear distinction of aspirations changing with age, but this year the top aspirations for age cohorts remained the same—Health. However, Early Jobbers have a di¬fferent second priority, Wealth, compared to Relationship for Moneymooners and Wealth Warriors. This can be attributed to the fact that Early Jobbers have smaller savings, likely to be diminished during loss of job and income, and their need for future financial security is greater. The relatively better-off¬ Moneymooners and Wealth Warriors are understandably more concerned about their families and relationships during these unprecedented times.

In a shift from last year, when the Aspiration Index of men (87) was marginally higher than women (86.3), this time round, women proved to be significantly more aspirational than men. They had a score of 81.5 compared to 79.2 for men, and were ahead in Health, Wealth, and Personal Growth goals. When it came to Relationship goals, men were ahead of women.