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My Money Sorted: Manase

6 September 2021
Reading time: 4 minutes

Posted by Manase Lavulavu , 2 Comments

My Money Sorted is our series exploring people's experiences with money and how they get Sorted. For Tongan Language Week we chatted to Manase Lavulavu, a small business owner whose wife Natasha recently joined our team at Sorted.

Malo e lelei, fefehake, my name is Manase Lavulavu, and I am of Tongan descent, married to my wife Natasha, and we have one daughter. We are building our first home in Pukekohe this year. I am a small business owner and have been running my business for the past four years.

What is the best advice about money you’ve been given? 

I’ve learnt over time through bad habits and lack of self-control that you can often end up purchasing things that you don’t really need. You must be patient and weigh up the pros and cons of buying something now, waiting or not buying it at all.

In my personal life, I often think about:

Kuo pau ke ke mapuleʻi koe ʻi he founga ʻokú ke fakaʻaongaʻi ai e paʻanga ʻokú ke maʻú.

You must have self-discipline in how you spend the money you make.

When it comes to business:

Lao ʻe taha ʻo e motuʻa tuhu ʻaki hono fakalele ʻo ha kiʻi pisinisi siʻisiʻi ke totongi ʻaki kinautolu ʻoku moʻua kiate koe kimuʻa pea ke toki totongi koe!

One rule of thumb with running a small business – pay your creditors before you pay yourself! 

Are you a spender or a saver? 

I was a big spender in my younger days, when I had no real responsibilities or priorities. But since opening my own business and having a daughter, I’ve been inspired to learn more about money, the true value of it and prioritise how I use it. 

How do you save? 

Owning a business, I have had to learn how and what I will be using my income for, as I receive it monthly. I allocate 50% to business expenses and the remaining 50% towards cash flow, stock and savings. Choosing to follow this model has come with some risk, but it has also allowed me to indulge in the things that are important to me, such as spending time with my loved ones, being able to support my family, and taking family holidays. 

What makes you feel Sorted when it comes to your money? 

In the environment I was raised in, financial literacy wasn’t taught or something we easily had access to. I didn't know how to manage my money, how to budget or plan for the future (palani ki he kahaʻú). I barely ever considered the importance of saving for unforeseen costs such as funerals, insurances or medical bills.

I chose to take a course to learn the fundamentals of how to run a small business, where I learned the skills I needed to create a stable plan for 3, 5 and 10 years for my personal and business goals. This has helped me establish my financial goals and a plan to achieve them. Having these plans in place makes me feel Sorted. 

What were you taught about money?

I was taught that to have a stable life and support my family, I had to trade my time for money, and work as hard as possible to make sure I lived within my means. There was no option. Since choosing to learn more, I now know that it’s possible to make money work for you so you can earn more and work less.

My goal is to keep expanding on the knowledge I have so that one day I can pass it on to my daughter and the future generations to come. 

When you think about your retirement, what do you see? 

I haven’t thought much about retirement yet to be honest. However, now that my wife works for Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission, I believe it’s the best time to plan.

I intend to put more voluntary contributions towards my KiwiSaver and other investments. By doing this, I aspire to be able to retire before the standard retirement age and have the time and financial freedom I’m aiming for, so that I can travel the world and spend quality time with my family. 


Comments (2)


  • Gravatar for

    7 September 21

    Great to read your story toko. Malo 'aupito keep up the good work!

  • Gravatar for

    7 September 21

    Awesome to read a little about your story. Definitely inspiring. I need to do more learning around financial literacy for now and future generations. Thanks for sharing toko.

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