The old saying goes: if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. The same goes for your finances.
In days gone by there were only two questions for bankers; “can I save my money with you?” or, “can I borrow some money?” But Westpac, the 2011 NZI Sustainable Business of the Year, and winner of the Trailblazer, Large and Corporate Business Award and the People’s Choice Award, is all ears for something a bit more challenging. The bank, which runs on an ethos of “help is what we do”, wants us to ask all the big questions about money we can think of and might have been too shy to ask anybody else.
Research has shown that Kiwis are quite reluctant to ask those big questions, and without talking to people about our finances we are unlikely to be able to make informed decisions about them and get the best out of life’s opportunities.
Callum Wilson, Westpac’s GM Strategy and Customer Experience explains: “In a recent survey* we asked 750 New Zealanders a bunch of questions about money and found we’re really quite reluctant to talk about the important money topics, like budgeting, saving, debt and retirement savings. We would prefer to stick to safer topics like food, sport…and the weather. We also found that 44% of people struggling with money feel too embarrassed to ask for assistance. Yet, the sooner we all start asking the important questions about money, the sooner we can help with the answers, and we think we’ve got a big role to play in encouraging that.”
So whether you walk into one of Westpac’s 200 plus branches nationwide or pick up the phone, you will get top quality information built on Westpac’s 151 years in New Zealand banking and the experience and expertise needed to serve around 1.3 million customers.
Wilson adds: “When it comes to something as important as money, there is no such thing as a silly question; the worst thing is to not be asking any questions at all.”
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If you want to learn more, the bank has been offering its free Managing Your Money financial education programme since 2006, and it’s now run by more than 131 Westpac facilitators across the country. There’s also an easy to use online tutorial to teach you the financial fundamentals, as well as informal workshops held either in-branch outside of business hours or with local community groups, workplaces or schools to help develop effective money management skills. So far more than 63,000 people have taken part.
Wilson said: “The success of the programme has led to us broadening its focus beyond just budgeting and reducing debt. Now it includes information on retirement saving, including KiwiSaver, which can so often seem daunting and complex to the uninitiated. You can really ask anything, and we will ensure we try to help you with the answers or refer you to someone who can assist.”
Hamish Kerr, senior business manager, Hastings, facilitating a
Managing your Money Workshop for small business owners.