CFFC helps Defence Force get fighting fit financially

The armoury of tools provided to New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel now include financial capability courses aimed at enhancing their financial security and preparing them better for their retirement.

Liz Huckerby, Chief People Officer of the NZDF, said the courses developed by the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC) provided key skills for personnel who were looking to make significant financial decisions, including buying a home and saving for retirement. New military recruits also received introductory financial capability training as part of their initial training.

“We have a large number of personnel under 30, and a significant number of people residing in Auckland who are looking at purchasing a first home,” Mrs Huckerby said. “After attending one of the CFFC’s courses, the feedback is they feel better prepared to make often the biggest purchase of their lives. We’ve seen lots of success stories where our young people have been able to get into their own home.

“The Defence Force recently ran an internal campaign aimed at getting people to think about how much money they will need in retirement. Almost 2500 personnel responded to a survey, showing us there is a high level of interest in preparing financially for retirement.

“We will be using this survey data to tailor the courses the CFFC provides and to develop other initiatives aimed at enhancing the financial security of our personnel and their families. ”

Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell, who heads the CFFC, said people often underestimated the amount of money they needed to save for their retirement. The earlier they could start planning and contributing to a fund, the better their outcome was likely to be when they were ready to retire.

“The Defence Force is one of a number of organisations we’ve partnered with to deliver our Sorted Workplace programmes,” Ms Maxwell said. “The courses are tailored to the organisation and participants, with the goal of giving people the tools to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.

“Feeling financially secure is part of wellbeing. We know from our research that if people are not stressed about money they can be more focussed on other aspects of their lives, including their job.”

Mrs Huckerby said this was particularly important for Defence personnel, who could be away from home on long deployments.

“This year we are looking forward to partnering with the CFFC to run a further 52 programmes specifically for Defence Force personnel,” she said.