In November of 2021, two of our Generate members began sharing their financial journey and personal goals through the Instagram account Whānau Whuture$. They share their story and learnings freely to inspire more whānau to plan and activate their own financial futures.
The husband-and-wife team behind Whānau Whuture$ come from very different financial backgrounds. With two distinct approaches to saving and spending, they realised they needed to take a closer look at how they managed money. ‘My Dad never used hire-purchase, never owned a credit card, and was a strong believer in two things: you always have money set aside for a rainy day, and if you can’t pay cash, then you can’t have it. But that meant that I grew up not knowing how to take calculated risks when it came to wealth... For my wife, on the other hand, life was somewhat different. Her parents separated, and growing up in a single-parent household meant money had to be managed carefully week to week.’
One half was very focused on the future and investing to build wealth, while the other half of this partnership was firmly focused on the now and making sure their children had the things she went without. With such different experiences and beliefs around money, they were steering in different directions, and making decisions from different reference points.
Finding a joint approach and language
Two years ago – after a friend recommended the book The Barefoot Investor by Australian Scott Pape – they started discussing a new, shared way forward. The book introduces ideas such as ‘buckets’ and ‘date nights’ – it was an objective third party who laid out the steps to manage money in a simple and logical way.
‘Tracking where your pūtea / money is going can be confronting, but it builds grit and momentum towards your financial goals. We were by no means broke, but we were not saving. When we got into reading this book, we realised just how out of sync we were in regards to our values around money and debt. And we knew there just had to be a better way.’
From here, the couple started having regular date nights to discuss everything from their KiwiSaver funds to their spending habits. The individual ‘splurge’ accounts have been one of their best moves. ‘We had such different opinions around what was valuable in regards to spending. A lot of our friendly arguments were over money! Setting up what the Barefoot Investor calls a ‘splurge’ account has resolved much of the friction around spending, because we both now have a personal budget to spend guilt free on the things we value as individuals.’
Generating better financial outcomes for their whānau
As they worked to better manage their KiwiSaver accounts and insurance, the couple sat down with a financial adviser, which is how they found Generate. ‘We became really mindful of net returns after fees, superannuation charges and insurance costs. The adviser helped us set up an emergency fund and we started knocking off our debts. This year, alone, we’ve gone from putting 60% of our fortnightly earnings into our daily expenses to just over 49%. And, for a year and a half now, we’ve been consumer-debt free.’
They have since set up KiwiSaver accounts with regular contributions for themselves and their children and continue to put away 15% of their income for investments, with 5% reserved for their emergency fund. They find Generate KiwiSaver very transparent and easy to use. ‘One of the things we like most about Generate is the monthly newsletters. Their online platform has graphs and details around how your investments are going and what they’re investing in at the moment. They also send out information about any big changes in the market. And we really like that they specialise in investment – unlike banks who have lots of different services – Generate are specifically interested in KiwiSaver and managing those funds for us.’
Normalise the kōrero
As their financial confidence has grown, so has their desire to share their journey to help other families. They setup an Instagram channel called Whānau Whuture$, essentially a financial diary where they could share their learnings, lessons and insights. By staying anonymous, they can share personal financial information freely. ‘The purpose of the page is to share our journey and help to normalise these discussions – particularly for Māori, but really for anybody. Māori particularly shy away from talking about investing. So we’re trying to draw a connection for our people that this is not just about the here and now. This is about our tamariki and our mokopuna, so we talk a lot about building intergenerational wealth.’
Whānau Whuture$ is excited to keep sharing their journey on Instagram and to promote what they call a ‘generation of givers’. ‘It’s all about the Māori concept of manaakitanga, where the key principles get passed on from generation to generation. We want to teach our children kaupapa Māori and how they can contribute to their community, not just be ‘consumers’. The Generosity Generation is about ensuring that we’re giving back something – either to people in need or to a cause, as well as looking after our own whānau and future.’