Ngā Take PūteaLearn more about money

Oct 5, 2014

nā Diana Clement

Your credit card is maxed out again. The tamariki need new shoes for school. And you know in your heart of hearts you should follow your KiwiSaver more.

Whatever level your knowledge is at, you can improve or even transform your financial wellbeing. It is much easier than most whānau imagine. Sometimes concepts such as knowing the difference between a ‘need’ and a ‘want’ or budgeting your money into different envelopes can be very powerful and surprisingly simple to put into practice.

You owe it to your babies to get sorted financially. Five minutes a day is all it takes to get started, and your efforts could pay off for generations to come.

Everyone is different in how they learn best. It might be through kōrero with friends and whānau, at a course, or one-on-one contact with an expert. Sometimes “just doing it” is the answer. The idea is that as your money grows, a light bulb turns on.

Here are more ideas:

Google: Start by Googling anything you want to know more about. Maybe it’s “interest”, “how debt works”, “KiwiSaver basics”, “how to make my money go further”, or “pocket money”. Google one term a day and you’ll pretty soon start to develop a good basic knowledge.

Read: Read the paperwork from KiwiSaver and Whāi Rawa. Read personal finance blogs, books, newspaper articles, and anything about your money that you can get your hands on. You’d be amazed at the effort that goes into making this stuff understandable.

Use budget advice and community services: Budget advice centres provide an awful lot of informal learning opportunities. Lisa Kahu’s budgeting clients at Te Tai o Marokura in Kaikōura can gain lifelong financial learning from their interaction with the service. Whānau are encouraged to do one-on-one training to help them control the cost of kai, which might be the only flexibility they have in their budget. Kahu, a MoneyMinded facilitator, also teaches The Incredible Years training programme to whānau, and helps them learn about financial concepts ranging from how debt is accrued through to simple money-saving tips such as alternatives to using baby wipes.

Sign up for Papa Whairawa: The NZQA Level 1 Papa Whairawa course from the Open Wānanga is home based and lets you learn at your own pace. The course covers key financial concepts such as budgeting and getting out of debt. You’ll learn about the choices you can make with your money and the consequences those choices will have. A kaitiaki (guardian) is assigned to all learners to help and support you and keep you motivated.

Go to a face-to-face course: If you prefer face-to-face learning you can attend a MoneyMinded, Money Smarts or CAP Money course. Check with your local budget advice centre to find out where your nearest course is. MoneyMinded is a course sponsored by the ANZ bank, Money Smarts courses are offered by Habitat for Humanity and other community groups, and CAP Money courses are run by Christians Against Poverty in local churches.

Take the Certificate in Money Manage-ment Level 3: If you’ve got a basic understanding how a budget works and the ins and outs of managing your day-to-day money, then the next step up is this certificate from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. It’s free, but you need to attend one class per week at a wānanga and a workshop every three weeks at one of 18 locations nationwide. You’ll learn about how to create wealth and protect it with insurances and/or trusts. It also covers property, share investment, and business.

Sign up for an online course: Massey University’s Financial Education and Research Centre, which is behind the Money Smarts courses, also offers other online personal finance management certificate courses, details of which can be found at

Attend a Money Week 2014 event: Great timing! Money Week 2014 starts on October 13 and runs for a week. You’ll find seminars and workshops around the country. Find out what’s on in your area here:

Finally, just do it. Choose one or more of these options today and get started. Your whānau will be richer as a result.

Diana Clement is a freelance journalist who writes on personal finance, and property investing. She has worked in the UK and New Zealand, writing for the top personal finance publications for over 20 years. In 2006 and 2007 she was the overall winner of the New Zealand Property Media Awards.