Richard Klipin, CEO, Financial Services Council
Originally published on nzherald.co.nz
The festive season is upon us once again. No doubt all the mingling over the holidays will prompt a lot of discussion about the year that’s been.
And what a year it has been. We’ve dealt with a lot of uncertainty, realised what’s important to us, learned new skills, rediscovered our backyard and discovered how to use something called Tik Tok (well at least the kids have).
While you’re getting together with family over the holidays, I want to encourage you to check in on each other and ask how you’re doing. After the year we’ve had, a little kindness and support moving into the year ahead will go a long way.
I also want to encourage you to have some conversations about what’s important to you. Money may not be the first topic that springs to mind when you’re sitting down to eat Christmas lunch, but it’s one that’s so important to our health and wellbeing.
If you made mistakes this year – talk about them. Come up with a plan of action to get your finances on track next year. Many of us may have realised we aren’t prepared financially for things like global pandemics, that we panic when our KiwiSaver balances drop and that money impacts us more than we’d like to think it does.
Instead of dwelling on mistakes made, use the lessons learned this year to move forward. Making mistakes, after all, is how we learn. I’ve certainly made plenty of them, and I’m still learning. What will help you do this is if you’re in it together.
While you’re indulging in your nanna’s Christmas puddings this year, ask her for some tips. According to research we conducted, she’s far less likely to have worried about money this year than her children and grandchildren. She’s experienced enough cycles around the sun to have weathered her fair share of unexpected events, and she’s probably learned important lessons along the way.
Don’t underestimate the wisdom older New Zealanders have to share.
With the kids home for the school holidays it’s also a prime opportunity to talk to them about money. Encourage them to come up with creative ways to earn pocket money and initiate good savings habits.
The lessons you teach your kids about money now will last the rest of their lives.
Or perhaps talk to your partner about what you could do to be better prepared. Whether it's setting aside some of your pay check in to a joint rainy day fund each pay day, taking out that insurance policy you’ve been talking about for months, or coming up with a way to hold each other accountable. If one of you is a saver and the other a spender, having an open conversation could really help you get on the same page and ride out future crises.
Whatever it is that will make you feel more at ease, take some steps towards getting things in order for when the next big storm hits. Hopefully it’s a long way away, but when it does arrive, you and your loved ones will be prepared.
From deadly volcanic eruptions to terrorist attacks and now lockdowns, border closures and all the restrictions that came with Covid-19, we Kiwis are a resilient lot, and it’s no different when it comes to our finances.
Despite all the craziness of this year, our research shows we’ve been very resilient in our financial wellbeing, even as it was impacted quite heavily by the pandemic.
It would be easy now to simply say we’re past the worst of it and can just relax. But there will undoubtedly be future obstacles we need to face. Unexpected events can happen at the worst of times.
Talking openly with your family and friends about money is a starting point that can open a door to healthy conversations that can help us get on top of our money matters and start making it work for us.
These holidays, it’s time to have those chats you’ve been putting off for a while. And they don't have to be boring! In fact, sitting around the Christmas table with some good food and a drink in hand might just make a conversation about money more interesting that it’s ever been.
The FSC is a non-profit member organisation and the voice of the financial services sector in New Zealand. Our 89 members comprise 95% of the life insurance market in New Zealand and manage funds of more than $83bn, including $63.5bn in KiwiSaver funds. Members include the major insurers in life, disability and income insurance, fund managers, KiwiSaver and workplace savings schemes (including restricted schemes), professional service providers, and technology providers to the financial services sector.