Money Week - Koina te Korero

As both money week and te wiki o te reo Māori week wind down, it’s good to remember these awareness weeks are about taking the conversations, knowledge and practices beyond their allotted times in the calendar because koinā te kōrero, now we’re talking. Keep the ball rolling, because conversations about money can be difficult, especially in Pasifika and Māori homes, but these are some of the most important conversations to have. LAUMATA LAUANO ponders how different her financial life would be if money was a more open topic for discussion in her home.

 

 

According to research by the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC), three in 10 people don’t talk to their children about money.

 

And almost half of adult children don’t even raise the topic with their parents … hey, that’s me.

 

What’s the bet that in Pasifika and Māori households that number is even smaller?

 

I wrote about this in an article published in issue 73 of SPASIFIK Magazine, Young Pacific People in debt.

 

The long term objective is to normalise financial education across the curriculum at all ages, because those earlier age-groups that are learning - and the resulting behaviours - are embedded for life.

 

But it starts at home, much like keeping our indigenous languages alive.

 

The theme for this year’s Money Week is ‘Now We’re Talking’, which aims to encourage New Zealanders to open up and start those tricky conversations.

 

I’m currently in the middle of trying to sort out my mother’s bank accounts and finances. It’s quite a minefield.

 

My mother suffers from progressive dementia, so each new loan I’m made aware of, which she would have taken out when she was well, I hope, is as much a surprise to her as it is to me.

 

Clearly, money was not a topic up for discussion in our household beyond ‘we need to give money for this fa’alavelave (large occasions which require money donations) or to send to Samoa’.

 

I’m not pointing fingers at my parents, or our culture, as the topic is somewhat taboo in our Pacific and Māori families, but I do wish I had some sort of confidence back then to spark up the conversation.

 

And I’ve written about what ramifications a lack of financial literacy can have and how a lack of open discourse and education on money can lead one down a rabbit hole of debt.

 

According to Peter Cordtz, Manager of Community Education at the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC), stats show the 16-24 bracket is when people start to make important financial decisions which follow them.

 

Which is also around the same time that young people start to get part time or full time employment. I started earning money with little to no knowledge about its impact. Not that it mattered as my money went directly to my mum every pay day.

 

This lack of knowledge, however, meant I had little idea what credit, loans and interest rates were. Terms that would become increasingly important to me over the years as I learned the hard way of the importance of knowing what you’re getting into when borrowing money. Whether the money is for your own benefit or not.

 

This Money Week, however, I want to have a positive approach, because the hope is to improve long term outcomes for entire communities and bring about a generational change in how we approach money in our homes and families.

 

It starts with destigmatising the idea of money and opening up conversations at home- often a multigenerational environment from children all the way through to our grandparents in a Pasifika and Māori household. Intergenerational learning can ensure change happens and that knowledge implemented today creates a better future with more options for following generations.

 

The sooner conversations about money starts in the household, the better.

 

For more information about:

 

Money Week: https://moneyweek.org.nz/

 

Commission for Financial Capability: https://www.cffc.org.nz