The road to financial wellbeing starts young, something ANZ business development manager Matt Maynard knows too well. Having had good financial lessons instilled in him by his own parents, he's now trying to do the same for his two daughters.
That's not to say every decision he's made has been perfect - we all make our fair share of money mistakes!
However, as a result of lessons he's learned along the way, Matt's got plenty of suggestions for other parents out there who want to help their kids make good decisions.
Matt's been in the financial services industry for a while, having started out doing mortgages. He then got into managing branches, coaching frontline staff on KiwiSaver and insurance, and then ending up in his current Business Development Manager role at ANZ.
Although he's now got a tonne of knowledge and experience behind him, this wasn't always the case. One of the biggest lessons he learned early on was about KiwiSaver.
"I think my worst financial decision was a savings suspension or contributions holiday. At one period, I put my KiwiSaver into a savings suspension," he admits.
"I wasn't educated and I thought I knew better. But I didn't take the advice and didn't talk. To me that stands out."
"I thought, 'I've still got a student loan to knock off, I want to just get that out and then I'll jump back on to doing KiwiSaver.' I didn't get the government contribution over that period, because I didn't fully understand KiwiSaver at the time. That's something I look back on and go 'well, I missed out on free money from the government.'"
But Matt's learned from that experience and has since made plenty of good financial decisions, which he puts down to having parents who knew a thing or two about managing money.
He says his parents, particularly his mum, played a big role in helping him stay on track and making good financial decisions.
"The big one that stands out to me was joining KiwiSaver on day one. I was living probably as frugally as I’ve ever lived as a student at the time. My mum was an accountant and she basically made me join KiwiSaver."
"I said, 'I'm earning $150 a week - I can't give away 3% of that!' That's how skinny you are that that sort of stage of your life. But she said no, it's a non option – you’re in."
"I was lucky in that I had a steer in the right direction."
"Looking back, that's been a really good decision, because it was able to help me get into a first home when I probably otherwise wouldn't have got in."
Now that Matt has a family of his own, he's trying to pass on those same lessons to his children.
"We're talking about money a little bit at home. 'I could give you guys $50 this week, but it means you don't have any lunches for school. What is that like for you?' And they go, 'well, we need lunch for school, we don't want to go to school with no lunch.'"
"It's just getting them to think about what money actually does for them."
"My daughters are only young, but it's that thought of getting them not to be wasteful, because they look at $100 toys and go, 'I want that.' They open the book catalogue and they'll circle 15 books, and I'm like, 'well, that's $180.' And we have to talk through why we can't buy everything they want."
It's something that presents its challenges, especially in the relatively cashless society we now live in.
"I think it's a really hard generation because we're becoming more and more cashless," says Matt.
"My daughter lost a tooth last night actually and had the tooth fairy come. It's hard work trying to find $2 these days - and I work in a bank! Actually finding physical cash is not easy. So for them to get the concept of money is a lot different to when we were growing up."
"I guess it's about having a plan, having actually sat down and thought about road bumps that come up."
"It's about trying to be prepared for the unknown, feeling comfortable that even if you were to lose your job, you're not going to have to sell your house tomorrow. It's about understanding that stuff does happen in life."
"I've worked quite closely in the insurance and claims space and seen and heard the bad example stories that help you understand that life isn't always smooth sailing. You've got to make sure that you do have a reserve and feel comfortable in what you're doing."
1. Talk about money
"It's something we don't talk about, right? You never talk to our friends and say how much money you're earning. Or what sort of pay rise you got, or what size your mortgage is. We just don't talk about money. It's this sort of hidden thing that we kind of bury and are very reluctant to talk about.""I've seen it through having to sit down with people and talk about mortgages or personal loans. You need to go 'right, tell me exactly your financial position'. People are so reluctant to talk to you. It's really scary and daunting."
"I think there's a big fear of a financial adviser; that you might not have enough money or might not be able to afford the advice of an adviser," says Matt.
But he says just talking about things with someone could really help.
If you've never used a financial adviser before and want to find out more about how they work, check out our blog on financial advice. There are plenty of free services around too - you'll find some of those here.
Are you looking to start your own journey towards financial wellbeing?
Take a look at our money and personal finance resources
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