My Money Sorted is our series exploring people’s experiences with money and how they got Sorted. We spoke with Vaun, 27, originally from Hāwera, who now lives in Tāmaki Makaurau, working in IT. A proud member of the LGBTQI+ community, he’s an outgoing person who spends his spare time and money on sports, reading, cooking and being with friends and family.

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

Setting goals is key for me. If I don’t have anything to aim toward or achieve, it can be easy to spend more as I’m not motivated to save. Once I reach the goal, then I reassess what is next or if my motivations for saving have changed. Also, don’t compare yourself to others – everyone is on a different journey with money and no paths are the same.

Are you a spender or a saver?

I am a spender. I struggle to tell myself ‘no’ and find the differences between what I want versus what I need. I tend to go through peaks and valleys with saving. I can go a few months with consistent savings and then ‘boom’ – I’ll be in spending mode.

How do you save?

I save through automatic payments, and at the end of the pay cycle if I have any money left over I will transfer that into my savings. I also use this method of automatic payments for bills (rent, car payments) as this becomes somewhat untouchable when it comes to my spending account.

Up until recently I haven’t really had any motivation to save. I’ve always been the type to buy what I want and be quite short-sighted with my money, so I am thankful that I never got carried away and went beyond my means.

As I’m entering my late 20s, I’m starting to shift more focus onto other pathways to save rather than the one option.

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

I feel most Sorted when I’m able to cover unexpected costs that occur without using my credit card. Also, if my credit card is paid and I have a surplus in my accounts, that means I don’t need to rely on it for my weekly grocery shop or any other events for the week. Feeling sorted also means I don’t feel guilty when making a purchase – I know I have done the mahi and earned it.

Have you had any big ‘aha moments’ about money?

A big ‘aha moment’ for me was when I finished university and sat down to access the timeline of paying back my student loan. This really gave me a perspective on a) how much the total value was versus my typical weekly and monthly income, and b) why it is important to research and evaluate options when it comes to larger financial decisions.

What were you taught about money as a child?

I was taught that money isn’t everything, but it does help. When I was growing up my parents were different in their approach to money. Mum was more frugal on the basics and the one who taught me to save up rather than take on debt. On the other hand, Dad worked hard and was a spender. I do wish there had been more in-depth courses or resources as a student to learn about money, savings and the opportunities to use money wisely.

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

To be honest, I have not thought about that a lot. At the moment, I’m grateful that I started KiwiSaver as soon as I was working at around 17. Ten years on, I can see it will definitely help me later in life. This is a head start for me buying my first home and for my retirement. I feel it is important to speak to others and have conversations about what they have for their retirement goals, and talk with those in retirement who can provide guidance and inform us of any mistakes they have made.

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