Matariki a time to plan whānau finances
As the star cluster Matariki rises in the sky on 28 June, it's time to celebrate the natural world, the togetherness of whānau, and new beginnings.
The appearance of Matariki (or Pleiades) marks the start of the Māori New Year and is an ideal time for our Māori and Pacific whānau to consider planning their finances.
Like the New Year in January, Matariki is customarily a time for Māori to reflect on the past year and set goals for the coming year. The Commission for Financial Capability hopes Māori and Pacific whānau will take the Matariki custom on board and begin financial planning or review their existing budget.
There's lots of information around to help whanau get financially sorted but it’s not always easy to understand or relate to.
The Commission is driven by a core belief that most Māori and Pacific whānau can make smart decisions about money – they just need the right tools and encouragement. We work to equip people with the skills and information to navigate through a lifetime of financial choices, have the confidence to ask the right questions and be on the winning side of their decisions. With the right skills and motivation, we can all make the best financial decisions for our whānau and communities, from kaumātua down through matua, rangatahi, tamariki and mokopuna.
The 2013 Financial Knowledge and Behaviour Survey shows that many New Zealanders do not know the basics about everyday financial matters and that Māori and Pacific people tend to be over-represented in these findings.
Setting financial goals is the first step and puts you in charge of your money and your life. Goals can be short or long term, small or large, but they all need to be achievable. The first step to getting sorted is to work out where you want to be financially and what the priorities are for you and your whānau.
We recognise that everyone’s wants and needs are different. Yet no matter what situation the financially vulnerable are in – whether the issue is financial planning, debt management or growing and protecting a lifetime of savings – everyone can take control of their money. There is a boost in confidence when we tackle money problems that gives us a sense of pride and achievement.
Research globally shows that if people are on top of their finances, they have more time to enjoy the really important things in life – such as spending quality time with whānau and friends.
Good financial decisions are deliberate steps towards a more financially secure future, and ultimately good planning and smart decisions throughout life will mean our whānau are more likely to reach retirement in good financial shape.
Matariki has always been a time to prepare. By setting your goals and doing a budget, you and your whānau can face the New Year with confidence.
Author: Zella Morrison is the Senior Maori Adviser at the Commission for Financial Capability (www.cflri.org.nz)
Handy tips for planning with your whānau
• Be specific, realistic, and write down your goals. Keep each goal simple and give it a timeframe and a dollar amount
• Write down your short, medium and long-term financial goals
• Set some big goals - like buying a home in the next five years or saving for your retirement (this could be your biggest goal of all)
• Set some smaller goals to help you get there – like saving for a new TV or paying off your credit cards
• Write down some steps to take to help you reach your goals – such as opening a savings account to help you save for a house deposit or talking to your employer about joining KiwiSaver
• Review your progress every six months or once a year, on a specific date written in your diary or calendar. When you achieve a goal, celebrate! Then set yourself a new goal
• If you write down your goals and review them regularly you’re more likely to achieve them
• Involve your partner and your family. Shared goals are easier to achieve
• www.Sorted.org.nz has a bunch of calculators and handy tips to help you with your planning.