Stop lying to yourself
Start learning to speak money Make your plans
excuses are letting us down with money came in an unusual document sent to MPs by the government-funded Commission for Financial Capability.
In it the commission compared the ways people characterised themselves with the state of their money lives.
It found those of us who are bad with money tended to say things like: ‘‘I live for today’’.
They also tend to describe their decision-making style as ‘‘spontaneous’’.
In addition, they admit to worrying about paying their normal living expenses, and do not see eye-to-eye with their partners in how money is spent and saved.
By contrast, people who are flying along in their money lives say pretty much the exact opposite.
They describe their decisionmaking style as ‘‘planned’’.
They describe themselves as having a ‘‘natural’’ tendency to save, or a saving ‘‘mindset’’.
And they aren’t prone to bickering with their other half about money.
There are lessons here.
The first is to stop giving ourselves excuses to make the wrong decisions.
Nobody is inherently ‘‘bad’’ with money. There are just people who for various reasons have their money lives in control, and others who haven’t.
As Diane Maxwell, who heads the commission, puts it, many of us have ‘‘sophisticated selfdefence and self-denial mechanisms’’.
Learning how to be better with money isn’t especially hard, but you have to try.
It really is a case of deciding to be better, and then taking it step by step.
If you’re not sure what you are doing with KiwiSaver, make April the month you learn about it. Watch Youtube videos on saving. Call up your KiwiSaver provider. Work out which kind of fund you should be in.
It isn’t hard.
If you haven’t got an emergency savings buffer, make May the month you set yourself a strategy to get one.
Years ago I spoke with British author Matthew Lanchester about his book ‘‘How to Speak Money’’.
He went from financial illiterate to speaking money fluently by doing just a little each week.
Any of us can do the same, but only if we choose to be the kind of person who does things like that.
You’re better off deciding to be a person who is good with money.