Weekend Herald

Matt Heath: Accounting beats early retirement and pina colada in sun

- Liam Dann

He’s lived the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle and been so dirt poor that he still owes his former band manager (Finance Minister Grant Robertson) $200, but these days broadcaste­r Matt Heath loves nothing more than doing his accounts and balancing his books.

It’s a shocking revelation from the Radio Hauraki DJ whose other career highlights include being a founding member of the Alternativ­e Commentary Collective, infamous stunt TV phenomenon Back of the Y, lead singer for comedy metal band Deja Voodoo and, more recently, animated kids’ TV show Welcome to Cardboard City.

He admits money was never a motivation in a career that has tended to focus on having fun as the primary driver.

But since having children he’s been more careful with money and more diligent in managing business interests such as his production company Vinewood Motion Graphics.

That’s led to a surprising sense of enjoyment in paying debt, balancing his books and squaring away the accounts.

“I love that feeling of it all being sorted out, all the tax paid. Also I’m a big believer in paying off debt.

“I actually quite enjoy coding my taxes for the accountant. I find that quite satisfying.”

From an academic family, Heath doesn’t recall being taught a lot about finance growing up.

But at 13 his parents put him in charge of all his annual finances, advancing him his budget for clothing, school uniforms, stationery and other essentials. Heath says he ate well at the tuck shop for the first month, bought all the CDs he wanted and then spent the rest of the time having nothing and borrowing from friends.

“They were never going to let me starve,” he says. “But It taught me to save money, because I went through some hard periods, even at 13.”

Heath says his increasing interest in money comes from the realisatio­n of how much it influences and shape society.

He is more financiall­y diligent these days but his primary motivation remains the sense of satisfacti­on he gets from making and doing stuff and he couldn’t imagine retiring early even if he could afford to.

“There’s this idea that people have that they’ll finish, retire, sit on the beach and order a pina colada,” he says. “They will be bored by the end of the pina colada.

“We need to achieve things. When you work and you take a break. That’s when the break feels good. You can’t take a break from a break.”

Money Talks is a new podcast series in which well-known Kiwis talk about the impact money has had on their lives and how it has shaped them

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