If you’ve used our tools, signed up to our 6 steps or been reading the Sorted blog for a while, you’ll know that essentially we support you to steer your money to where you want and need it to go – as opposed to have it directed by someone else…

Whether it’s money for your whānau, your community, or just yourself as you start out earning, it needs to be flowing in ways that leave you better off.

Those who feel in control and on top of their finances tend to do certain things with money, so we recently surveyed Kiwis in order to find out what those are. Turns out there are 7 traits they show that we can all model our own financial lives after.

1. They save money regularly, even if it’s only a small amount

Everything with finance seems to come back to saving, doesn’t it. It just doesn’t work out well without it. Of those surveyed, 66% have a regular savings habit – and it didn’t need to be massive amounts, either. Because of what we know about how small sums can add up (especially if they are automatically transferred to a separate account) and grow exponentially (due to compound interest) saving can make such a difference over the long haul and help you stay in control. Our savings calculator shows how much.

2. They insure their belongings (car, house, contents)

Life’s unexpected disasters can really derail your financial life and set you back, so it’s not that surprising that 55% reported that they have insurance in place. And it’s not just in case something happens to the car, house or belongings – the financial protection part. Instead, it’s about the peace of mind it brings. That money on insurance premiums transfers the risk of things going pear-shaped to a company to handle for us. No wonder those surveyed report feeling in control. Here’s more on protecting what’s important.

3. They contribute to KiwiSaver

Contributions to KiwiSaver are a big deal, even more so when you consider the added money you get from your employer and the government when you put in your money. Of those surveyed, 50% are in KiwiSaver and contributing. That last part – contributing – is especially important, as there are loads of us who joined up but have been missing out on the benefits because we’ve paused our contributions. Without those, that matching money doesn’t flow into our accounts either. Here’s how to make the most of KiwiSaver and grow your balance.

4. They have an emergency fund or nest egg

Money set aside for a rainy day and the future gives you options and leaves you feeling more in control of your financial life, so 50% said they had an emergency fund or nest egg. This makes a huge difference! If you’re just getting started building your emergency fund, start with $1000 – the sooner you do it, the sooner you’ll reap the benefits, like not being forced to borrow. That’s a great feeling. Here’s more on starting your emergency fund.

5. They talk about money with their partner, and with whānau

Another common characteristic is being able to be open about money with a partner, and 60% said they did. Many completely aligned their financial goal setting with their partner. Admittedly, this is not always the easiest thing to do, as many of us grew up in households where money was a taboo subject to talk about. If you’re just getting to ‘the money talk’ with your life partner, here are some ways to start the conversation and what to do if it starts to shut down even.

Including the entire whānau in the conversation about money is another trait that those surveyed say they do. Giving the kids a financially secure home that is both calm about money matters and open to talk about issues and decisions made is worth striving for. Here are 5 easy ways to talk money with children, 10 strategies for super savvy kids, and even some thoughts around giving kids money.

6. They set financial goals or plans

If you’re more spontaneous with your money and a bit of a free spirit, planning ahead and setting goals doesn’t come naturally. Those feeling on top of their money say they set goals or make plans, so clearly there’s something to it. In fact, having goals help us set up our money lives to help us achieve cool things in life, many of which take money. Here’s where to start if you’re considering all the possibilities and setting some goals of your own.

7. They invest in the sharemarket

Investing in shares has been a great way for growing money over long periods for many generations, and these days many of us do that through our KiwiSaver or on DIY investing platforms like Sharesies, Kernel, Hatch or Stake. Our ‘in control’ group reported investing regularly in shares. If you’re wondering if now is a good time with all the ups and downs in the market these days, it turns out there’s no better time, especially if you are investing small amounts for the long run. Here’s more on share investing in our world of uncertainty.

Would adopting any of these 7 traits make your finances look better? They have for many and help them feel in control, so there’s definitely something to them.

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