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Kiwis urged to sort their money this spring

Kiwis urged to sort their money this spring

MEDIA RELEASE 31 August 2012

We would all be better off if – along with our gardens and homes - we gave our finances a spring clean once a year, according to Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan.

New Zealand’s inaugural Money Week, from 2 – 8 September, an initiative from the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income, is designed to encourage all New Zealanders to take steps to manage their everyday money better.

Ms Crossan says taking charge of your financial situation is empowering and can have positive effects on other aspects of life apart from your wallet.

“Worries about money can put major strain on relationships, within families and even affect the workplace. The key to getting on top of your finances is to take control and make sound decisions.

“Money Week is about encouraging all Kiwis to give their finances an annual check-up and make adjustments if necessary,” says Ms Crossan.

“A lot of Kiwis don’t like talking about money but this week we should all be thinking about it. We hope that spring-cleaning your finances in the first week of September will become as normal as making New Year’s resolutions in January.

“I urge all Kiwis to set some money goals this week and make a plan to reach them. Making plans to pay off your credit card each month can be a great place to start,” she says.

Reserve Bank figures from May this year showed Kiwis owed roughly $3.6 billion in interest-bearing credit card balances. At an average rate of 17.7%, that means we’re paying on average around $639 million each year in interest alone.

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The Retirement Commissioner recommends that a Money Week spring clean should include:

· Setting short, medium and long-term goals
· Making a money plan so you can be sure you’re living within your income and can save towards your goals
· Putting any surplus towards paying off your debts faster – a top priority
· If you’re debt-free except for a mortgage, increasing your repayments
· Checking if your insurances suit your needs and are up-to-date
· Considering KiwiSaver or another form of retirement savings

Ms Crossan says the Sorted website provides free information, tools and calculators to help Kiwis sort their finances.

During Money Week free financial education activities are being undertaken by many different organisations around New Zealand, including money management, investment seminars and competitions for school children.

To find out more about Money Week events visit moneyweek.org.nz

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