For International Women’s Day, we chatted to Ana Tu’inukuafe about some of the money insights she’s learned along the way. As a relationship specialist in the education space, Ana coordinates and supports Sorted financial capability programmes for community groups and organisations, with a focus on Māori and Pasifika partnerships. These programmes help to build stronger families and communities – a kaupapa (principle) that Ana lives and breathes.

Which women in your life inspire you most?

­It takes a village to raise a child – my mum and other motherly figures in my life have shown me that nothing is impossible.

Strong work ethic, intelligence, unwavering love, advocating for equity and leadership are just a few values I have been raised with. I am indebted to these women.

I truly stand on the shoulders of giants – now it’s our time to carry the torch and challenge systems that are not inclusive. I feel proud to be a woman!

What has been your proudest money moment so far?

When I was younger and first started making money, something I was so proud of was being able to pay for my family to go out for dinner. Being able to say ‘I got this’.

Another thing is being able to buy my own things without going into debt. I worked at the movies when I was a teenager and remember saving up for my first pair of chucks. I rolled so many ice creams to buy those shoes.

I’m grateful and proud to be in a position to be able to support people around me. I know that if I couldn’t help, the next option might not be a good one – it could be a loan shark or payday lender. Having the ability to give is rewarding and humbling. I build it into my plan.

Also, buying our house!

How do you set your money goals?

I set my big goal, then my medium goals, then my little baby steps to get me there.

I think it’s really important to celebrate the wins along the way and to be flexible too.

Goals are important, but things come up all the time, so sometimes you need to change the goal posts a bit and learn not to get disheartened if you need more time to get there.

At the end of the day, this is what it comes down to: is this something that you really want?

What helps you stay on track?

Knowing that when I get ahead, so do my loved ones.

We all benefit together. My parents and family won’t be here forever so it’s important to me to be prepared to take opportunities when they come up.

It’s like ‘getting all the ducks in a row’. It doesn’t just happen by chance.

The pure enjoyment of being able to provide the extras when and where possible is a big motivator for me.

An emergency savings account also helps!

What is the best advice about money you've ever received?

If you can’t pay with cash, you can’t have it. Thanks dad!

What do you wish you'd known sooner?

I wish Sorted in Schools existed when I was in school.

I wish I had been able to talk about money with other people from a young age. I always had questions about money, but I didn’t feel like money was a topic we could just talk about. I think normalising conversations about money would make things easier, like talking about how a credit card can be useful but it’s also important to understand the traps.

I am a pretty conscious spender, but I still could have saved myself a lot of grief and definitely could have had much more saved up by now!

 Ana Tu’inukuafe is the Relationship Specialist – Community at Te Ara Ahunga Ora, the Commission for Financial Capability.

Comments (3)

Gravatar for Yasmin Dawoojee

Yasmin Dawoojee

1:11pm | 12 Mar 2021

Kia Ora, I loved your blog and I wish also Sorted tools were in schools when I was at primary and secondary school in 1980s and 1990s. I learned to save from my Mum and Dad and retired New Zealanders. He also pays in cash and saves up for large purchased and my Mum and I also do the same. You feel you have achieved something when you saved up for it. Also my Dad was excellent at emergency savings, he had everything covered. I really respect his generation of hard work, long hours to provide for my education. I was grateful my parents saved for my education, no student loans, no credit card and learning to survive as a student when I was young back in 2001-2005 and then living at home to save money. When my Mum passed away I inherited the house and live with my Dad. I could not survive without my Dad. He loves buying second hand antique plates at the salvation army store that's how he and Mum started out once they were married back in 1970s. For a large purchase such as a car my Mum and Dad saved for it and keep going. They saved for their first house and I just owe them so much. I often regret not listening to my parents they know how to save and invest and pass that onto me. I tend to be a spender so I have been learning to save with a financial coach and I could not live without her. I think everyone needs to learn how to save it's also with financial literacy can help someone feel more confident and in control of their goals and more determined to do well. My Mum was my best teacher and she always saved she never spent and she sadly passed away in January 2016 at 65, she is my motivation each day to do well.
I am also enrolled to study the Te Wananga O Aotearoa Financial Capability Course in April this year and the will do Level 3 after that. We all need to learn the most essential skill how to budget and save and spend to have a good life and achieve our goals.

Gravatar for George Hill

George Hill

9:10am | 9 Mar 2021

Good story.
'If you can’t pay with cash, you can’t have it' still rings true.
'STOP before you spend' is another great saying.

Gravatar for Toni Kerr

Toni Kerr

6:26am | 9 Mar 2021

He kōrero ataahua Ana