Over time I’ve built up a toolbox of people that I can turn to if I have a question on any topic: car repairs, cooking tips, fitness, career advice and of course pūtea (money).

We all must have a couple of people that we can turn to and simply ask, “Can I ask you a question about money, please?” knowing that they will give a judgement-free, honest and practical answer.

We make better financial decisions when they are formed using the wisdom of a wider group and their collective experiences. But where can you find such people?

Hidden in plain sight

More often than you realise, these people are right in front of you daily. You just have to learn the knack of sorting the “Yip, we can chat about money” person from the “No, I absolutely won’t chat about money” person.

Here’s an important tip: the people you seek may not be in the friend groups that you go to a cafe or a bar with, but they might be in your wider group of acquaintances that you have regular contact with. Think colleagues, customers, family friends, neighbours etc. Just be open to meeting them.

Butcher, baker, candlestick maker

I’ve found it helpful to have more than just one person to talk to about money. Each of them is helpful for different areas of personal finance and allows me to get different perspectives. Here are a few of my ‘go-to people’.

  • A bank manager. I don’t bank with her, but met her at an event. We catch up for a coffee about every three months and just talk about personal finance.
  • The flautist who I met online that also happens to be an investor in shares. I can ask her anything.
  • The retired guy who I met at a family function once. He has decades of financial experience.
  • A couple who are millionaires. They’re early retirees who are willing to share how they did it.
  • That customer from work. He loves to chat about his business finances.
  • A close friend with similarly aged children. She shares budgeting tips willingly.
  • My husband. We can discuss anything money related.

Had you told me that these would be my financial guides, mentors and sounding board, I’d not have believed you, because if you take them at face value, none will necessarily stand out as finance professionals.

Yet in their own quiet way, each of them have a vast depth of personal knowledge and experience about money. None of them knows each other, but we have clicked on the topic of money. It is so refreshing to be able to openly discuss pūtea.

Gauge interest by dropping a money question into the conversation... gently does it!

The most interesting chats I’ve had are with people I’ve just met, because I’m curious about them. By asking them about themselves, I’ve met some really financially intelligent people.

  • I will ask the person packing my groceries if they enjoy their job. Is it a long-term career, or are they working to save for something?
  • The quietest person at a party often has the most interesting things to say.
  • Hitchhikers! Yes, I do pick them up, and the very fact they don’t buy a car means they have some financial goal in mind which they always readily chat about.
  • Customers at work discuss prices. This pretty quickly leads to a conversation about budgeting.

Here’s the thing I’ve found: people love talking about themselves, their interests, their accomplishments, the people they know and the money that makes their world go round. They are generally genuinely happy that someone is interested enough to ask.

If you are relaxed, honest and interested, well, that is when friendships form and the conversation about money flows.

I conducted an experiment to test my theory

To test my theory about the willingness of others to talk about money, I put my dog on a lead and we went for a walk. Before long I met another dog walker.

I smiled, greeted them in a friendly way and stopped to strike up a conversation. I had never seen them before, but our chat lasted 20 minutes. In that brief time I learned a lot about them (and them about me), and it naturally included some financial chat.

Two weeks later our paths crossed again, and we picked up right where we left off!

Your turn! Start a conversation about money today.

I encourage you to start a conversation today with someone. Anyone!

Be bold and slide some positive money korero in there and just see where the conversation takes you. If you see a flicker of interest, keep talking – if not, keep walking.

You may have just met the person with whom you can chat about money! They’re out there – you just have to find them.

Ruth Henderson hosts both a blog and a podcast called The Happy Saver, where she fully embraces money talk. She shares both her own journey with money and those that other Kiwis share with her. Sorted is one of the key trusted sources that she regularly recommends her audience checks out for unbiased, thorough information.

Comments (3)

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1:05pm | 2 Oct 2021

It's nice to read your blog, I myself is not as fortunate to meet a lot of interesting people due to the fact where I work they are nice people but money is not a subject which is not shared and their depth of knowledge of experience is bound within their culture and religion. I myself is open minded and like talking about money and I spent more time on Sharesies just reading their blogs even my family and extended family are not so keen their interest lies somewhere else. So therefore I will try walking and see if that helps. Thanks for the Advice.

Gravatar for Grace


11:25am | 24 Sep 2021

Great advice on talking or walking

Gravatar for Anonymous


5:44pm | 20 Sep 2021

Why is it that I can invest $4800 into my KiwiSaver account over 6 months and still the only gain I can see is my own contribution,juno balanced fund keep telling me that it’s COVID related market fluctuations,I’m not so sure that’s accurate.I’m also charged a fee of $90 per month management fee,l think that’s outrageous considering I’m the only one managing to save money for myself and I’m entrusting juno to grow my balance for my retirement,I’m 62 and have over a hundred thousand saved so far