New umbrella group to boost money know-how

The CFFC has brought together more than 100 financial organisations to help New Zealanders learn how to make good decisions around money.

The National Strategy for Financial Capability was launched at Parliament on 15 April by the Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Dr David Clark. The Strategy is the result of six months of talks led by the CFFC with more than 300 people representing commercial, non-profit and government agencies, including all the major banks, insurance companies, the FinCap budgeting network, iwi, and financial advisers.

The head of the CFFC, Retirement Commissioner Jane Wrightson, said the strategy’s goals included the creation of consistent language to get rid of jargon, and replace it with clear, accessible messages that recognise New Zealanders’ varied cultural contexts.

“One of our first tasks will be to work together to develop a glossary for everyone in the financial capability sector to use to help make messages around money clear and motivating,” said Wrightson.

The strategy has a three year plan including this and other projects to enable the sector to work together and demystify money for the public. Women, Māori and Pacific Peoples will receive special attention with targeted initiatives to help them enhance their financial capability over time.

“Until now the many agencies across the financial capability sector each engaged in a variety of largely unconnected activities that have the same driver - to help people be better with money so they can achieve their goals,” said Wrightson. “By uniting under the umbrella of the National Strategy, the sector will be better able to work together, with a shared purpose and vision, and defined objectives. It will reduce duplication, and help us to help the people we serve."

Wrightson said the launch of the strategy came at a time when New Zealanders needed it most. COVID-19 had shown that building strong financial capability was essential not only to help people reach their life goals in a more difficult landscape, but for New Zealand’s economic recovery.

“Reduced incomes among households across all demographics and in every part of New Zealand has led to money becoming part of the national conversation. The sector has an opportunity to take hold of that conversation, pool our resources and know-how, and add positive messages so people learn how to make good decisions around money, how to plan, and know where to find information. Financial capability will enable people to provide for their families, live the life they want, and ultimately have the retirement they deserve.”