In­vest­ing in New Zealand’s fi­nan­cial knowl­edge

Element - - BUSINESS -

Last year West­pac also teamed up with Massey Univer­sity to launch the Fi­nan­cial Ed­u­ca­tion and Re­search Cen­tre (Fin-Ed) to take fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion to a wider au­di­ence.

The Cen­tre is work­ing on the first lon­gi­tu­di­nal study of fi­nan­cial habits fol­low­ing a group of around 300 New Zealan­ders aged 18-22 years over the next 20 years. The study will at­tempt to gauge the level of fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion in New Zealand, how money habits change through­out our life­times and at what stages of life we have the great­est ap­petite for fi­nan­cial knowl­edge. It is the first project of its kind in New Zealand to bench­mark knowl­edge, at­ti­tude and be­hav­iour to­wards money, with the first re­sults due out at the end of this year.

Fin-Ed is also work­ing on a Per­sonal Fi­nan­cial Educators’ Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Pro­gramme to en­sure the pro­fi­ciency of those teach­ing on fi­nan­cial mat­ters across the coun­try. The scheme con­sists of three lev­els of cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, and is in­tended to help im­prove qual­ity and ac­cess to per­sonal fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion na­tion­wide.

They’ve also launched re­search into New Zealan­ders in re­tire­ment, work which has al­ready un­cov­ered some sober­ing in­sights. The sur­vey found that nearly half (47 per cent) of re­tirees did not feel they had ad­e­quate fi­nan­cial re­sources to meet their needs dur­ing re­tire­ment and nearly the same pro­por­tion (46 per cent) said re­tire­ment was not meet­ing their ex­pec­ta­tions. Over­all, a third said they were dis­sat­is­fied with their re­tire­ment.*

“The con­nec­tion be­tween how well-pre­pared we feel fi­nan­cially for our re­tire­ment and the ex­tent to which we en­joy that stage of life seems ob­vi­ous,” said Wil­son. “That’s why we think it is so im­por­tant for ev­ery­body to get the help they need to pros­per in the years to come.

“Our aim is to help New Zealan­ders be­come fi­nan­cially em­pow­ered to achieve a bet­ter qual­ity of life, pro­mot­ing both fi­nan­cial con­fi­dence and ca­pa­bil­ity. And the part­ner­ship with Massey is an op­por­tu­nity to mean­ing­fully im­prove the fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion of New Zealan­ders for the long-term ben­e­fit of the coun­try.”

“As a bank, this is one of the most rel­e­vant con­tri­bu­tions to the com­mu­nity that we can make, and its devel­op­ment came about af­ter our front-line em­ploy­ees iden­ti­fied gaps in cus­tomers’ un­der­stand­ing of money man­age­ment and the es­ca­lat­ing debt cul­ture in New Zealand. It’s time to ask those dif­fi­cult ques­tions and work to­gether to find the best an­swers.”

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