Financial literacy an ongoing journey

Hinerangi Pere is learning about money and how best to use it. But it wasn’t always this way. She remembers growing up when it seemed buying her own home one day wasn’t an achievable goal.

For Hinerangi Pere (Paaraawera, Te Taumata Marae and Te-Papa-O-Rotu Marae), money is a constant learning journey. From buying her first home to managing the financial split and rebudgeting of her divorce and now planning for the future so she can help her wider whaanau too.

It’s something she spends a huge amount of time thinking, talking and learning about, but it wasn’t always this way. Hinerangi clearly remembers growing up when home ownership wasn’t an attainable goal she saw modelled.

“My relationship with money is not something I learnt as a kid. Money is definitely something that wasn’t spoken about. For me as I got older, I realised how important it was to actually know about money,” she says.

“I wasn’t raised in a home-owning whaanau, but that doesn’t mean it has to be our pattern for all our generations to come. We can branch out of that.”

“I wasn’t raised in a home-owning whaanau, but that doesn’t mean it has to be our pattern for all our generations to come. We can branch out of that.”

Hinerangi bought her first home in Hamilton with her then spouse.

Now, the avid learner is always up to know more about money, how it works and how it can work for her.

“It’s an ongoing relationship. There’s always something new to learn about, whether that's learning how to put my money into a high-yielding interest account, or how to put a savings plan together for myself.”

To stay on track Hinerangi carefully plots financial goals, both short and long term, so she can work towards things like taking a holiday and long term security.

But she hasn’t always followed such a meticulous approach and clearly remembers times in her earlier years where she racked up debt on unnecessary purchases and credit card bills.

“I think we can all relate to this, especially if you haven't been raised talking about money. If you come from humble surroundings, you might see money as something that you have at the beginning of the week and it’s gone by the end,” says Hinerangi.

There are things that I did in my 20s and I would've changed that behaviour instead of coming off the back end now and thinking, ‘Crap, I feel like I'm behind!’ It’s from making those really bad purchases and getting in debt that has made me reflect that I want to have more for myself.”

Another huge learning curve was her divorce and the financial changes it triggered as Hinerangi bought her ex out of the home and restructured her life.

“I had to readjust and understand there are not two incomes anymore, so the lifestyle has changed and it has to change. It doesn't mean I have to go without – I just need to be very specific about where my money goes. That was the catalyst for change for me, and it happens for a lot of us,” says Hinerangi.

It’s this measured approach and dedication to constantly learning more which has seen Hinerangi grow to a point she’s planning to use her knowledge and experiences in the future to help whaanau own property too.

“When I retire, I want to be able to have a certain lifestyle, and not just that, I want to be able to look after my wider whaanau, to help leverage what I have so that they can have opportunities to get into the property market as well,” says Hinerangi who sees her position as a blessing and a stepping stone to manaaki whaanau.

“Those are my goals but I had to surround myself with people who know about money. I’m always like, ‘What kind of bank are you with? What’s your interest rate for your mortgage? What do you know about a high-yielding savings account? Where are you putting your shares?’ I feel like they’re all things that we should learn about, we shouldn’t be scared to learn about those things.”

While the practical wahine isn’t afraid to tackle the tricky kaupapa of money she believes it would be much easier for others to do the same if they were taught about it from a young age.

“We’re probably not having these conversations about it a lot earlier with our tamariki and giving them opportunities to learn how to manage money themselves. I really do think it has to start really young so they understand the importance of it.”

While it seems Hinerangi has it all figured out she’s also acutely aware of the barriers that stop people and made it harder for her to get ahead.

“There’s a lot of shame around money, a lot of shame around what we’ve spent our money on or wasting money. People can feel whakamaa about being really honest about where they are but you have to start somewhere and when you start you have to be real about your situation. Once you are, that’s your first stepping stone to be able to empower yourself to achieve your own financial goals.”

And she maintains even the smallest amount helps when you're planning and forecasting what you want your life to look like as you get older.

“If it’s only a dollar that you’re saving, then just save a dollar a week. Whatever it is, you’re preparing yourself to live a particular habit and behaviour and setting yourself up for that,” says Hinerangi.

“We’ve all got to start somewhere; we’ve all made those stupid decisions financially. Kia kaha, just go hard, start somewhere, get real about where you’re at and then build your plan to achieve whatever it is you want financially.”