Need help with your finances? Here's where to go

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Help with your finances New Zealand Financial Services Council

Money matters aren’t something we’re born knowing how to deal with.  

Basic skills about money are learned from our parents, friends and whānau, from our teachers and from the media we consume online. 

Kiwi kids these days are lucky to have a much better financial education that those of us who left school fending for ourselves. So where do we go to pick up these skills, or for help navigating tough times?  

Whether you’re navigating crises like global pandemics, buying a house, considering investing or simply want to learn how to better manage your money, financial know-how is incredibly useful.  

Here’s some information on where you can go, and the different kinds of financial support available to us in New Zealand.  

Before getting help with your finances 

Consider the following things before deciding what kind of help you choose:  

  • Is the support you require urgent?  

  • Are you after general tips or advice that’s personalised to your situation?  

  • Do you need a one-off session or are you after ongoing support? 

  • Do you want to pay for the support? 

These questions are a good starting point that will help you navigate the different options and determine the kind of support that best meets your needs.   

Free financial support 

Personal finance resources 

There are a tonne of great (and free) resources out there, from online tools and calculators to podcasts and books. Free resources like these are a great way to get general help and inspiration about how to manage your money. Listening to a podcast on your morning commute or watching a video about KiwiSaver can help you wrap your head around some tricky financial concepts and make them easier to understand.  

Take a look at this list of New Zealand-specific personal finance resources

What these resources cannot do is offer you personalised advice or support specific to your situation. Bear this in mind if you’re really struggling with money; these kinds of resources can be enormously helpful, but if you’re struggling to meet your rent or mortgage repayments and need urgent assistance, you may want to consider them in conjunction with other options that will be more helpful to you.   

MoneyTalks 

MoneyTalks is a free, confidential financial helpline. Initial support is offered over the phone, but MoneyTalks can also put you in touch with a local service for face-to-face help from a Financial Mentor. A financial mentor can help you set goals and make a financial plan. They can also connect you with local foodbanks, as well as help you navigate Work and Income processes and entitlements. 

If you’re struggling with debt this service is one option that will equip you with some basic knowledge around how to improve your situation. A Financial Mentor can not only address your current situation but set you up with good savings habits for the future.  

Call 0800 345 123 or visit moneytalks.co.nz

Citizens Advice Bureau 

Citizens Advice Bureau is a locally-based community organisation. Volunteers in more than 80 locations around New Zealand offer assistance with money matters by offering advice about steps you can take. Some also offer budgeting clinics to help you improve your knowledge in this area.  

The advice the volunteers provide is free, confidential and independent and it’s available to anyone.  If they can’t help you themselves, they’ll make you aware of how to access the services you do need. 

Find your local Citizens Advice Bureau for more information on how it can help. Call 0800 367 222 or visit cab.org.nz/find-a-cab.  

Your bank or financial services provider 

Another place to improve your financial know-how is your bank or another financial services provider. If you visit your local branch or give them a call, they should be able to put you in touch with someone who can help. Banking, mortgage, insurance or investment specialists can help you with specific questions you might have around your everyday banking, home loan, insurance policies or investment portfolio.  

These services are usually free and can be a good way of picking up some extra knowledge through a provider you already use and trust.  

Many also offer services such as financial hardship support and domestic violence support if you need financial help as a result of a tough situation.  

Financial advice

You could also consider enlisting the services of a financial adviser.  

Here are several possible reasons you may consider using a financial adviser:  

  • you are about to hit a milestone such as starting a family or buying your first property and would like professional guidance to navigate this exciting time;

  • you want an ongoing relationship when it comes to your financial matters;

  • you want advice on a specific area, such as insurance, investing or retirement;

  • you are able to afford the cost of financial advice. 

What you pay for professional financial advice will depend on the services you require and the individual adviser you use. An adviser has an obligation to tell you how they're paid and tell you all the fees you'll be up for - you can read more about paying for financial advice on the FMA website.

If you’re after general financial advice across a spectrum of different things (insurance, investments, KiwiSaver, and so on), then a financial adviser might do the trick. But if you’re wanting advice on a specific product, you may want to go to a specialist such as a mortgage broker (for assistance with buying property) or an insurance broker (for support navigating insurance policies) instead. 

Before seeking financial advice

  1. Many advisers offer an initial consultation that is free of charge. Ask yours if they offer this service so you can gauge if they will be the right fit for you and your needs.   

  1. As of 15 March 2021, the laws governing financial advice in New Zealand changed and there are some new requirements. Check the Financial Service Providers Register (FSPR) to check that your adviser (or the company whose licence they are operating under) is registered under the new regime. 

Again, it’s important to acknowledge that the support you need will differ from the support another person needs. It all depends on your individual situation. Knowing what options are out there is a great starting point, so you can begin your journey towards financial wellbeing. 


*Disclaimer: 
This information is general information only. It is not intended to constitute financial advice and does not take your individual circumstances and financial situation into account. We encourage you to seek assistance from a trusted financial adviser or other professional advice. The links that are provided are additional resources that you access at your own risk and the FSC takes no responsibility for any third party content. The FSC and its employees make no express or implied representations or give any warranties regarding this information and we accept no responsibility for any loss, damage, cost, or expense (whether direct or indirect) incurred by you as a result of any error, omission, or misrepresentation in this information. 17 Mar 2021.

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