Money: talking about it can be hard, yet your personal finances have a huge impact on your life. This week it’s Money Week and our people are talking money and more at financial fitness workshops that cover everything from setting goals to controlling debt to creating savings plans.
Post-workshop, we caught up with three of our Asteron Life team members. Here’s what they learned and a few things that surprised them.
Meet our team
Jonnie Cain leads experience design, Kate Hensman is a reinsurance analyst and Riley Gilbert-Burne is an actuarial analyst.
What made you decide to attend the financial fitness workshop?
Jonnie: Making savings goals and plans is something that I think about a lot, but it’s easy to leave these on the to-do list. The financial fitness workshop was a good opportunity to take stock and get some ideas for easy things I can start doing right away.
Kate: I recently transitioned from studying to starting my career. I’m now able to focus on saving and my finances and it’s been important to get out of old student habits like living in debt. The workshop sounded like a great place to get some tips to improve my current financial plan.
Riley: I wanted to gain a better understanding of what financial fitness is, as well as some ideas for how to plan for the future.
From left: Jonnie, Kate & Riley
What did you learn about financial fitness?
Kate: The importance of being on top of your KiwiSaver account. Setting the percentage you invest of your salary, knowing your risk appetite and making sure your prescribed investor rate is correct can be key to attaining long-term goals (in my case, the goal is buying my first home).
Riley: I learned the importance of seeking advice and doing your research on how to maximise your saving potential.
Has attending the workshop changed your approach to your finances?
Jonnie: It can be easy to feel like we’re supposed to be across this stuff. The workshop was a good reminder that no one knows it all and that we aren’t expected to. I think I’ll be more willing to talk about my finances generally and to talk about savings plans and goals with my bank.
Kate: It highlighted a few useful financial planning ideas, over and above putting money into a savings account and has encouraged me to think more about where I would like to place my money so I can achieve my personal financial goals.
If there was one step you’d recommend everyone takes to get financially fit, what would it be?
Jonnie: It sounds simple, but often people set up automatic payments and forget about them. Reviewing these, making sure you know what you’ve got coming out, and when, can help ensure you don’t get surprised and allow you to understand how much money you really have left over each month to save and to spend.
Riley: I’d recommend considering what your realistic financial goals could be and then seeking advice from a financial advisor to ensure you can meet them.
Did anything surprise you?
Kate: The drop in interest rates for savings accounts surprised me. I hadn’t realised the extent to which the official cash rate decrease had affected interest for my savings account. It was a good reminder to be conscious of what’s happening in the market and how it might affect me.
Riley: I was quite surprised about the exponential growth potential of KiwiSaver and investment funds, I found that really interesting.
More about our financial fitness workshops
We’re committed to helping our people build their financial capability and resilience. Our financial fitness workshops were offered in partnership with ANZ. Learn more about financial fitness here.